Big data can boost social media conversations, says Sundeep Dawale, marketing head of KonnectSocial.
Social media’s meteoric popularity has made it as synonymous as the internet. So much so that it’s not uncommon for avid users to create social media accounts for their newborns and pets. This new form of communication is now so deeply entrenched in our lives that it’s difficult to imagine a life without social networking.
Brands big and small have embraced social media for all the good things it has to offer – cost savings, customer engagement and innovative brand communications. That being said there is a lot more brands can derive from their audience’s activity on social networks. The key to uncovering this aspect of social media lies in going big with big data analytics.
Why big data analytics? Big data which is characterized by volume, variety and velocity. Here’s how social media conversations conform to big data –
Volume – Brand conversations are any user generated content in which the brand has been mentioned. These conversations are not necessarily directed towards the brand, but are mentioned either for advocating, criticizing or simply for the sake of referencing. Since popular B2C brands actively market themselves online and offline, they tend to attract a large number of conversations on social media. The difficulty in analyzing these conversations increases when the volume ranges from couple of sentence to hundreds of words. From an analytics point of view, dealing with vertical RDBMS systems can be tricky for storage of such data. This is because the volume of social conversations can grow exponentially within a very short period of time. Hence this calls for adoption of big data which accommodates data in a horizontal architecture.
Velocity – Brand conversations flow thick and fast on social media often triggered by current events, advertisements, contests and social media promotions. For instance, conversations surrounding a popular sporting event like the cricket or football world cup can number in the thousands for every hour. Such fast consumption of data can be taken of only by a robust big data architecture.
Variety – Of the three Vs of Big Data ‘Variety’ is the one which loosely relates to it as all conversations occur in textual form. However Volume and Velocity of social media conversations tends to be high enough to necessitate big data architecture.
Brand marketers need to get a holistic view of everything happening around their brand on social media. Often they need to go beyond analytics provided by each of the social media platforms on which they maintain their presence. This is possible through big data tools which facilitate brands to do the following –
Efficiently manage conversations
It’s critical for brands to respond to social media conversations, especially when they are negative. Because if they don’t, it’s their reputation which is at stake. They need to be able to discover and manage conversations from variety of social networks, news sites, forums and review sites. More importantly they need to discover the people behind the conversations. Big data applications can help brands to stay on top of all this by fetching and neatly arranging conversations. These tools aid response management through Social CRM workflows and benchmarking turn-around-time.
Consumers are quick to highlight the issues they face through social media. The good news for brands is that they can categorize such conversations as per the issues highlighted by them. They can discover issues discussed most often by their audience and judge efficacy of their improvement initiatives by the drop in such conversations over time. This is something no social media platform allows a brand to do. It’s also something which can be excruciatingly slow and painful if done manually by maintaining conversation logs in excel sheets.
With big data technologies it is possible to see the various discussions happening around your competition. Analysis of these discussions uncovers brand sentiment which is critical for gauging brand perception at any given point of time. The volume of conversations around various topics gives insights on the positive and negative perceptions of each competitor. Not only can brands figure out the weaknesses of their competition through customer reviews but also discover the influencers of those brands. Such intelligence can be used to optimize brand communications and energize new product development.
Sundeep Dawale, marketing head, KonnectSocial