Social Sigma Rising

Social Sigma is the use of social networks to improve products and services. I first talked about it here. I counseled CEOs to pay attention -- social will represent an important new font of data and feedback for product development and refinement.
Forrester's data reveals the growth of social critiques -- the front end of Social Sigma. 6% of online Americans post ratings and reviews of products at least monthly, up from 5% last year. 25% of online adults read these ratings and reviews at least monthly. The trend is more pronounced for young consumers aged 25-34, 32% of whom use reviews every month to make purchase decisions.
As shown in Forrester's graphic on the left, consumers are using diverse channels, led by Facebook, to voice their opinions online. 
What does all of this mean about Social Sigma for large companies?
1) Tune in. This may sound obvious. But Forrester estimates that one in five companies do not participate in the social realm, and another one in three have no coordinated social strategy. This means that more than half of you are unprepared to handle Social Sigma. Companies work in three dimensions -- social needs to become the fourth.
2) Tune in lots of stations. As shown above, social feedback isn't restricted to one or two sources -- you're going to have to listen to a wide variety of sites to create a full picture.
3) Translate data into action. Many companies monitor social channels and then fail to act on the feedback. Don't ignore the "Sigma" in Social Sigma; feed all of that data and criticism into your product research and development efforts -- don't leave it on the cutting room floor.
Do you have examples of companies using social to improve their products? I'd love to hear about them. . . .


Interesting. I saw a preso on

Interesting. I saw a preso on SPSS the other day, taking a live feed from Twitter and analysing sentiment re two Telcos. Amazing to see how that can be automatically analysed and presented. Now throw in advertising analysis, political sentiment, defect reporting etc and you've got incredible real time market analysis.

Real time feedback

What's interesting is that very few companies (1 in 100?) have the capability to receive and collate real-time feedback. I would hazard that only 1 in a 1,000 have the capability to act quickly based on that feedback. True Social Sigma is only acheived when a company can do both -- e.g., Domino's Pizza.

Yeah. You're right. It is

Yeah. You're right.

It is almost analgous to the feedback loop used in Performance Management. You plan what you're going to do, then do it, then report and analyse what the result is and then review your plans.

Here you get the immediate feedback and the challenge is to then feed it through your Business Intelligence environment so the right people get the information in a timely manner to then take action. Some of the new collaboration tools embedded within BI could then greatly assist with that decision making. Then the action can be reviewed in the social media feeds that prompted the action in the first place, thus completing the feedback loop.