Every marketer must have real-time social insights they can trust to inform strategic decision-making for their businesses. But how does this look? At Social Media Week, NetBase was joined by industry leaders from L’Oréal UKI, McCann and Huawei to answer just that! They explored ways they are using social media insights to boost their marketing strategy.
Let’s check out a recap!
Savvy, Complicated Consumers
Consumers are savvier, more mobile and more demanding than ever before. They want:
- To be in control, but they also want personalized experiences that require giving up some of that control – so it’s a fine line to walk.
- Their expectations to be managed, without the “management” being apparent.
- To be known, but on their own terms.
- Experiences that engage their emotions, so understanding those emotions is paramount.
Quite a mountain for marketers to climb! But many are up for the challenge thanks to social analytics. And the four folks on stage at Social Media Week London for this presentation are certainly among them. We had:
- Mariam Asmar, Planning Partner, Digital and Innovation Lead, McCann London
- Thomas Curwen, Global Analytics Manager, Huawei
- Jane Fieldsend, Social Insights Manager, L’Oréal
- John Tyrrell, Senior Vice President, EMEA Managing Director, NetBase
Each brought a unique perspective to the discussion, as we’ll see below. But one thing they all agreed on – advanced artificial intelligence (AI) powering your social analytics is table stakes.
Go Big with AI Analytics or Go Home
As Mariam shared, there’s really no way to manage the volume of consumer data out there without AI. But not just any AI – brands need next generation AI to make sense of it all, as merely capturing the massive quantities of structured and unstructured data available is not enough.
Jane added that AI is at the core of social listening at L’Oréal UKI – and automatic theme discovery is a huge timesaver.
What is that? The first of many AI Studio offerings that automatically surfaces related themes for brands around the topics they create:
It allows brands, like L’Oréal UKI, to focus on insight without having to do the backend work and sort out what is/isn’t important. Having related themes to inspire creative efforts is a boost for any brand.
So when we’re talking about AI, be sure to understand that NetBase’s AI is not limited to machine learning, which is the backbone (and entirety) of many analytics tools’ AI. There are also deep learning and expert systems functionalities powering the automatic theme discovery process. And to say it’s a time saver is really an understatement.
As Thomas mentioned, no one has time to read through all the stories about themselves, and they definitely don’t have time to read all the stories about their competitors. AI Studio helps brands spend less time on things, acting as a helpful assistant that lets brand managers and analysts focus on the insight they can do something about, rather than finding that insight to begin with. It brings brands leaps and bounds ahead of competitors to inform strategy.
And it’s evolving.
As you can imagine, its evolution is being watched closely by brands keen to stay ahead of said competitors. As competitive intelligence is a particular bit of expertise that next generation AI offers.
Social Listening Evolution
There was a time when knowing how many followers you gained week over week was enough to inform your efforts. Everyone was caught up in that numbers game. And then the target changed and “reach” was the metric of choice.
Today, although vanity metrics still matter and reach is entirely relevant, brands are much more focused on engagement and consumer sentiment, and more specifically consumer passion and the sentiment drivers behind it. What does a trend or a post mean and what actions do you take from it?
Brands require the ability to dig in and have immediate snapshots around consumer emotions, behaviors and attributes. And also the related hashtags, people and brands that are mentioned as well. It all has to be categorized and organized in real-time and in easily navigable and understandable dashboards:
Brands take this insight and look at it for relative passion as well, as competitor love/hate informs strategy too.
If brands notice a change in share of voice, for example, and realize it’s due to things they have no control over – that’s crucial data. For example, a competitor came out with a new product that’s doing exceptionally well. It’s something you can monitor to see how it shakes out, and potentially emulate or one-up with your own brand offering, but monitoring it either way is key.
And monitoring insight via converged media can mean the difference between jumping in to a trend with both feet or dipping a toe till the temperature heats up.
Understanding what is being said in the general social landscape – and why – offers deeper analytics around the ever-important “why.” But Owned and Earned mentions can completely change a picture and the way brands should/shouldn’t react to overall trends that are happening.
If a conversation is contained to a brand’s owned channels, that’s one thing – but if they’re capturing Earned mentions around a topic, that’s something to pay attention to and potentially consider moving forward.
Having the ability to track public Owned and Earned insight is a differentiator for social analytics tools. And it’s one that’s 1000% required when it comes to campaign management. If a brand hopes to properly monitor share of voice without it, good luck!
And the specific use cases for social analytics go well beyond competitive intelligence and tracking campaigns via converged media, of course.
Social Analytics Offers Endless Use Cases
Social analytics insight should inform every business need, taking the data well beyond marketing to include public relations, customer care, brand management, sales, research and development and so much more:
It allows marketers to develop relationships with consumers and have stronger, meaningful long-term engagement. It helps brands meet demanding consumers where they are and offer precisely what they want, how they want it.
It’s customer experience that is not contained in a silo, but as part of a larger marketing framework. A crucial accompaniment to the larger customer journey that offers a roster of touchpoints a brand can see, understand and implement. Yes, it’s everything. But it doesn’t stand alone.
Social insight is a crucial piece of any brand’s business model (or it should be) and it needs to seamlessly integrate with other customer experience solutions to form a cohesive whole. It needs to capture and integrate data that will be relevant and used by a brand’s supply chain team, development team, commercial teams – teams that wouldn’t traditionally think of using social analytics in their day-to-day, but they must be. Today, they must.
Global Sentiment Matters
Because most importantly overall – as Thomas pointed out, solid social analytics prevents costly (and sometimes dangerous) assumptions. And that can impact language used in marketing materials or even global positioning statements. It’s that informative and that category-defining.
It’s not just about the most loved widget option on a customer wishlist, but how your brand is presenting itself to a global audience. And whether or not they approve and potentially like a competitor better because of something you’d never have considered otherwise. It all matters an equal amount – and who has time to sort it all out?
Brands with next generation AI-powered social analytics do, but others? Not so much.
And what about influencers and working with global teams, marketing to millennials and breaking down the consumer journey? All of that is super important too, isn’t it? Yes! Each of those topics and more were touched on during the panel, but we wouldn’t want to detail every bit of the conversation as even the parts touched on above really don’t do it justice in print.
Be sure to listen to the full conversation here – it was packed full of insight well beyond what we’ve shared here. And then reach out for a NetBase demo to see all of this awesome insight-gathering in action!