I was fortunate to be able to spend some time with the IBM Digital team this week. One of the most interesting topics we explored was the opportunity to gain business insight from social media.
Historically when we have analysed business performance, we have drilled down and across into successive layers of detail to find the underlying causes of performance anomalies. But we have been doing that on the basis of financial and numerical information that we have captured. And that can only take you so far – for example if sales of a product in your stores are down, is that because of stock availability or is it simply that customers do not like it, or find it too expensive? It is the latter questions that are more likely to have answers in social media.
It doesn’t matter what line of business you are in, people will have something to say about you, your products and your services. They may let loose on Twitter, share it with their friends on Facebook, comment on videos on YouTube, or post to online forums, blogs and bulletin boards. You may also be in the news.
Ultimately, consumers dictate the reputation of your brands. And that means that they have a direct impact on your financial performance.
With the IBM Digital team, we looked at how Watson Analytics for Social Media can enable you to understand how much people are talking about you, whether they are saying good things or bad things, and how you compare to your competitors.
We can summarise this in two key areas:
- Share of voice: are people talking about you, and whether that is positive sentiment or negative by analysing the words and the context - even in languages that you do not understand
- Competitor benchmarking: understand how you rate in your market – for example on price, quality, customer service, the online experience, your mobile app’s usability, and so on
If you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to do something about it.
Idle chatter or valuable insight? I think we all know the answer to that.