Over the last few weeks I've been busy talking to clients about my recent research on Social Intelligence - the strategy of using social media data to drive actionable marketing and business insight. It seems that this topic sparked a lot of interest with most marketers and Customer Intelligence professionals out there because, and I'll put this relatively lightly, managing the rapidly expanding vastness of social media data is an overwhelming challenge.
Many marketers I've talked to share the similar pain of trying to "keep up" with so much online conversation, but there's also a crowd that's starting to use all of this conversation to generate rich insights around their customers and brands. But how? Social media can generate a lot of action, both reactive and proactive - it's all in how you look at it and the goals and strategy you create.
This morning at 11am Eastern, I'm leading a teleconference on this subject titled "Driving Customer Insight With Social Media Data" during which I'll talk about the challenges, risks, and (more importantly) opportunities found within social media data. I'll highlight the many different potential uses for social media data and talk about some of the vendors that make this all possible. The teleconference is for Forrester clients only, but after it's finished I'd like to use the comments section here to keep the discussion going and open it up to the public. I hope you can join me for the call, but if not - please join the discussion back here afterwards.
Social media has forced companies into reactive mode. Brands want to know "who's saying something bad about me and how do I track the negative fall-out". But the real power of social media is that your customers voluntarily share a wealth of data that can drive improvements to your business strategy. Right now, your customers, without any prompting, openly share information that would have taken months of surveys - and lots of money - to collect. As social data continues to pile up, it's time to start taking these online conversations seriously and use them to inform your customer intelligence.
The concept of monitoring social media might sound obvious, because most data-hungry marketers understand the value of their customers' social data. But based on my research, even though most marketers may collect this data, far fewer actually use it to inform an enterprise-view of their customers. As any analytical mind knows: collecting data is only the first step.
Over the last few months I've talked to dozens of marketers about how they manage data generated from online discussion - the best practices they use, the pitfalls they've encountered, and the very cool applications they have for using social media data. In my latest research, Defining Social Intelligence (client access), I outline the process and use cases for harnessing social media data to inform your business strategy - a process we call "Social Intelligence".
Last month we published our research on Influence Measurement – a dive into consumers' influence over brands and the benefits it provides marketers who can identify a customer's relative influence. This research outlines a framework by which to measure an individual's influence and get the most out of the metrics you collect.
Now we've published our follow up, "Overcoming The Challenges Of Measuring Influence”. This research addresses some of the difficulties that influence measurement faces, such as the lack of accessible data and the amount of manual work required to compile the metrics. We've found that there are a number of problems, but it's still worth the effort. Sure ideal influence measurement requires access to things like number of Facebook friends, trust between connections, relevance of shared content, and offline sharing behavior – but there’s plenty of data readily available that Customer Intelligence professionals can use.
Right now most influence measurement will benefit from outside help, either from a listening platform or agency, but even these options face data restrictions and remain far from perfect. Check out the report for a full dive into influence measurement – and tips to help navigate around the challenges.
Less than a year ago we published the Listening Platform Landscape report, laying out the evolution of social media monitoring. That research continues to drive many client inquiries today, but in the months since it published a very unsurprising thing happened: the landscape continued to grow up.
Since the last report published a lot has happened. There are dozens of new players in the space – from simple brand monitoring dashboards to large listening platforms - new startups to technology behemoths. We've seen consolidation, acquisition, and expansion. The vendors we covered a year ago now offer more advanced tools and features and as a result marketers too have evolved, finding new ways to use the social media data these platforms collect. Further, we're watching new tools emerge – collecting and analyzing social data and pushing the boundaries of what we’d call a listening platform.