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Breaking Bad News to Clients, Backed Up by Social Insight

Social media has changed the world we operate in across the board.  No clearer is this than when something goes ‘viral’ for the wrong reasons.  Social analytics can help keep tabs on your client’s online reputation and if something does go ‘off rails’, breaking bad news to clients can be softened, when it’s backed up by social insight.  The data is there and you can develop solutions to get back on track.

Monitoring Mentions for Mayhem

As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and social media acts as an extreme amplification of what can happen when brands do not heed this advice. On the bright side, online avenues, such as social analytics can offer a lot of warning.

Monitoring brand health is necessary and priceless when it comes to heading off a crisis. Social insight can alert brands to so much, and they can help understanding not only what is happening, but also why it is happening as well.

It does this by capturing customer experience data from all kinds of structured and unstructured sources, including social sites, news, reviews, blogs, forums and internal CRM or whatever other proprietary intel a brand has – then aggregating and analyzing it. All in real-time.

capturing customer experience intel from structured and unstructured data

These monitoring processes typically involve triggered alerts and other indicators . . .

Brand Health Indicators

With an analyst at the helm, a brand can monitor its health by setting alerts and exploring the tool daily to watch for a number of indicators, including:

  • Trending conversations. These can reveal unmet needs and/or trouble spots that are taking center stage in conversations happening in your category and/or specifically about your brand.
  • Sudden spike in brand mentions. This could be good or bad, depending on what’s driving it. Being able to hop into a tool and sort that out – and quickly, matters.
  • Precipitous dive in sentiment. Same goes for sentiment – when wondering why a brand is losing consumer love, sorting out why very quickly is paramount.

That said, “fast” is irrelevant if the insight isn’t accurate, so be sure to watch for that.

Understanding how consumers talk about your brand, and your category, on a consistent basis is critical to any brand health strategy. Because even when things are good, you want them to stay that way. So, beyond trends, spikes and dives, it’s equally important to:

  • Monitor brand perception across all customer feedback channels in real-time
  • Capture conversational context behind each scenario, to fully understand what is shaping consumer opinion
  • Track brand sentiment and conversation volume over time to see if things are getting better or worse

All of this intel informs a brand baseline to compare things against. It also offers the factual data you’ll need to support any delicate conversations required.

Benchmarking Social Insight

In NetBase, having the ability to see up to 51 months of your brand’s online activity offers brands and agencies a huge advantage.   Having a factual account of what is happening and the ability to track it back to WHY makes all the difference.  It is essential to have facts to flesh out your narrative and have them form the foundation of your presentation.

Data points can help you clearly pinpoint the problem. They also offer insight around what a brand is doing well.

Showing a precipitous or steadily ongoing sentiment drop that corresponds with influencing events of decisions in question is a great starting point:

Showing a precipitous or steadily ongoing sentiment drop that corresponds with influencing events of decisions in question is a great starting point

And digging deeper into the social insight to view fluctuation summaries on specific days, reveals which pieces of content are driving the sentiment:

Showing a precipitous or steadily ongoing sentiment drop that corresponds with influencing events of decisions in question is a great starting point

Top sentiments and emotions offer equally valuable social insight, that is also clickable and searchable down to a granular level.

Top sentiments and emotions offer equally valuable social insight for breaking bad news

Take, for example, this bit of social insight around the general topic of influence. We see “gross” emerging as a top emotion and want to explore that:

top emotion emerging from social insight to support breaking bad news to clients

And we learn that there’s an influencer on Tumblr who has been reblogged 128k times on this topic and counting. If this was about our brand or category, it would be important to understand who this person is and if s/he is open to a conversation.

an influencer on Tumblr who has been reblogged 128k times on this topic

Similarly, a brand may have decision makers that don’t understand the downstream consequences of some of their actions/decisions. Keeping the pulse of conversations happening in real-time enhances that understanding:

Keeping the pulse of conversations happening in real-time enhances the social insight understanding

Tracking trending terms from week to week can be an important indicator as well. Was something just a blip in the radar, or does it have staying power? Brands won’t know unless they’re consistently monitoring their social analytics:

Dashboards & Widgets to the Rescue

Suffice to say – dashboards and widgets can be your help when you need to ‘break the bad news’, as they’re great for fleshing out the narrative. Full of factual intel, these visualizations often get the story across better than any long explanation you’ve prepared, although you will want to develop the narrative and help lead your client through the social sentiment missteps with supporting context.

As always, a good rule of thumb is to start with the positive social insight.  So, don’t forget to capture things they’re doing well to soften the blow.  After all, it’s rarely all bad news all the time.

Have an internal awareness issue to master at your organization? Reach out and let’s talk!

Lynn Duffy, DACLynn Duffy has 20 years of experience working with both non-profit and for-profit companies including United Way, Urban League, Family service agencies, Xerox, General Electric, AAMCO, Trane, Saucony, Viactiv, Vera Bradley and many others. Through her work at DAC, she enjoys challenging conventional thought and developing research-based, data-driven solutions that uncover strategic insights to business challenges.

Her experience includes developing metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) for local lead generation across integrated media platforms as well as digital strategic platforms, personas, audience segmentation and custom research studies addressing a vast majority of business challenges. These challenges include copy and creative content, consumer messaging, digital transformation, and purchasing habits to name a few.

Lynn lives in New York with her husband. Outside of the office she enjoys traveling, photography, yoga, and most recently has taken up archery.  She holds a Masters from Boston College.

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