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The practice of Social Media Analytics is a constantly evolving one. What initially served as a means of measuring popularity – counting likes and retweets – or marketing endeavors, is now an indispensable tool that serves every aspect of your business.

The insights Social Media Analysis unlocks inform everything from marketing, to customer service, to product innovation, and everything in between. But knowing you need Social Analytics Tools, and knowing how to put them to work, are two very different things.

All brands know Social Media Analysis is valuable – but far from all are using it to its fullest potential. That leaves room for competitors to sidle up to your audience and steal precious share of voice that could be yours.

Enter: Our new series, The Complete How-To Guide: Social Media Analytics. A companion to our Complete Guide to Social Media Analytics, the How-To Guide takes the concepts behind Social Media Analytics, and explains how to apply them, and why you must.

Here’s a look at what’s covered (experts, click to skip to the area that interests you most):

  1. How to Analyze Social Media Analytics
  2. How to Use Social Sentiment to Perform a Competitor Analysis Reporting
  3. How to Retain Customers & Manage Community with Social Analytics
  4. How to Manage & Respond to Crises Using Social Analytics
  5. How to Use Social Sentiment to Anticipate Trends in Your Vertical
  6. How to Measure Social Analytics ROI
  7. How to Train Smart Social Ambassadors for Your Business

And here’s a brief preview of each section:

1. How to Analyze Social Media Analytics

Social Analytics is the combined data from all online sources – mined through a variety of techniques and tools.

Our How-To Guide breaks these down in greater detail, but here’s a quick overview.

You start with Social Listening to learn about your audience. It’s about them, after all. Instead of crafting strategy based on assumptions or broad demographic insights, you let social audiences lead you.

Using psychographic information – the attitudes, interests and behaviors of consumers – you create audience segments of feel-alike consumers. Only then can you decide how to approach next steps. Whether it’s a marketing campaign, new product, or anything else, you need to know about the audience you wish to serve in order to reach them.

Agency Ici Barbès uses Social Listening to find “nuggets” of information to refine their messaging and decide what content they will create.

2. How to Use Social Sentiment to Perform Competitor Analysis Reporting

Social sentiment is your context – it tells you everything worth focusing on. Topics, channels, content types. But it’s not just about identifying positive or negative posts at face value. The depth of emotion must be analyzed using Natural Language Processing (NLP) across text, emojis, and images for the most thorough understanding of social users’ passions.

Sentiment is what makes your analytics useful to other areas of your business beyond marketing. Particularly, competitor analysis.

Knowing what consumers love, obsess over, and can’t get enough of – as well as the negative equivalents – is crucial intel when applied to competing brands.

For example, knowing competitors like Gatorade (owned by Pepsi) are often criticized for being high in sugar and low in other nutrients inspired Coca-Cola to seek a relationship with challenger brand BODYARMOR. And sentiment for the new partnership is through the roof.

kobe bryant tweet

Without specific competitor insights you’re just guessing at which actions to take. And the stakes are way too high for guesswork.

3. How to Retain Customers & Manage Community with Social Analytics

Sentiment Analysis and other Social Analytics Tools also help you win and retain customers, as well as manage digital communities like those who follow you on social, those using your app, or those signed up for your rewards program if you have one.

How? We’ll talk more about it in this specific section of the How-to Guide, but it’s all about understanding what your audience wants, and then delivering it to them.

Like learning the best loyalty perk young business travelers could ask for is an upgrade to first class.

first class upgrade instagram post

4. How to Manage & Respond to Crises Using Social Analytics

Social Analytics aren’t just useful when everything is rosy. They’re your best defense when things go south. Regular Social Monitoring is crucial to being on top of sudden changes in sentiment. The best time to manage a viral crisis is before it goes viral.

However, even if you aren’t able to stop a crisis from happening, you can mitigate damage to your reputation by following social sentiment in the moment, and responding to the most urgent needs or questions of your audience.

Build-a-Bear Workshop did this when their recent Pay Your Age promotion overwhelmed some of their locations. By staying on top of the situation throughout, and even addressing it on The Today Show, they were able to survive the crisis.

build a bear facebook post

The only way to do that is by analyzing the data as it comes in. That means you need the right tools for the job. We’ll talk about what those are in this section of the Guide.

5. How to Use Social Sentiment to Anticipate Trends in Your Vertical

On a more positive note, Social Listening and Sentiment Analysis clue you in to emerging trends so you don’t miss the opportunity to be in the know.

Whether it’s a phenomenon like Pokémon GO, a hot show like Sharp Objects, or a new way to enjoy dinner at home, you can be part of the earliest conversations and lead the pack.

And that counts for whatever your competitors are planning and responding to as well.

As an example, Cuisinart smartly leveraged both content and holiday trends when they created new recipe videos for the Labor Day barbecue segment.

cuisinart video still

6. How to Measure Social Analytics ROI

One of Social Analytics’ biggest challenges is proof it’s working. Marketers and those who’ve been close to the action since the beginning know the value of social data, but departments and executives farther removed may not be on board.

That is, until they see ROI laid out for them. Understanding Social Analytics’ merits isn’t as mysterious as it seems. We’ll show you how and what to track from single campaigns to long-tail operational strategies. If you’ve never heard of or performed a social media audit before, it’s time.

7. How to Train Smart Social Ambassadors for Your Business

There’s safety – and success – in numbers, and that’s what brand advocates and influencers are for. But how do you find the right people to amplify your voice across the social realm? That’s what we’ll talk about in this section of the How-to Guide.

We’ll cover how to connect with your followers authentically, and how to identify the people who are already singing your praises and would do more if wooed a bit. If they have a following of their own and love your brand, that’s a great start. Now make sure they feel like they’re being taken care of by you. We’ll teach you how.

It starts with understanding their stakes in the game. That’s how iHeartRadio gets music fans to compete for the title of Best Fan Army – while driving engagement about their artists at the same time.

bts tweet

Don’t Be Left Behind

Social Analytics isn’t new, but it’s far from being as widely adopted as innovations like “the website” ultimately became. Those who know its benefits are in a position to soar past those still wondering – or dabbling with lesser tools.

We want to level the playing field by removing the mystique, and showing you why you don’t want to wait another minute to put Social Analytics to work for your brand.

So check out The Complete How-to Guide: Social Media Analytics, and let us know when you’re ready to dive in.

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