What are Social Analytics Applications & How Can They Help Your Business?

Reddit4th Aug, 2022

Understanding Key Differences between the Top Social Analytics Platforms

These days, social and traditional media platforms are more pervasive in our lives than ever before. There are over 4.7 billion social media users (58.4% global market penetration), and that number is only expected to grow. Whether keeping up with the latest global events, discovering new trends, sharing personal updates with friends, or engaging with companies, our personal interactions are taking place across a landscape of digital platforms. As they continue to expand within our lives, these platforms, in turn, offer businesses unprecedented access to their customers, competitors, prospects, and partners.

But - which ones should you choose and how should a business best leverage this access? How do you manage your reputation and extract insights across hundreds of social platforms and thousands of news sources?

That's where social analytics platforms come in. Social analytics platforms provide a single point of integrated access across many social and traditional media platforms. There are a variety of these social aggregator solutions, and their purposes range from managing outbound social marketing, to customer relationship management, to social insights gathering and more. Each tool has its strengths and weaknesses and associated use cases. This article aims to provide more information on these social analytics platforms, to help you understand and choose the best tool for your business.

What is Social Media Management?

Tweets, Reels, Videos, Blog posts, Stories, Press Releases, Paid Ads, PPC - any brand or company looking to drive engagement across platforms will need a publishing strategy and schedule for their posts and campaigns. However, dealing with each platform individually across multiple product lines and marketing teams can be time-intensive and laborious: logging in using multiple credentials, creating posts, publishing, managing responses and follow-ups, all can get challenging, especially if you need to synchronize efforts across multiple teams and platforms.

Social Media Management platforms help you to manage your brand's presence across multiple social platforms from one single point of access. Core functions include scheduling posts, extracting response metrics, collaboration, and campaign reporting. They can help your team organize and manage your brand’s social presence across providers from one central portal. They also typically include user management and access control functions to ensure only approved content gets published.

What is Social CRM?

For companies with a large social presence, it can become easy to be inundated by customer feedback. Whether in the form of public mentions, private messages, reviews, complaints, requests, admiration, or product questions, customer communication through social and web channels has, in many ways, become the new call center. As is the case in social marketing management, using the social platforms individually to manage these conversations can be overwhelming and messy. Managing multiple threads of inquiry, ensuring responses are timely, unifying your brand’s voice and policies, managing users, escalating and routing important conversations can be difficult using the typical account and inbox features.

Where social media marketing management platforms strengths lie in the outbound marketing management, social CRM platforms focus primarily on inbound response and direct engagement. Customers seeking help or advice on products or features may turn to direct private messages or public forums to voice their questions. Social CRM platforms help you track and respond to these inquiries in a rapid (often semi-automated) manner. Rather than leaving customers and prospects stranded on the web, these platforms can ensure you are alerted, routed, and can respond appropriately in a timely fashion. This can also be important in the case of negative events or reviews; customer response teams can quickly address the concerned parties with assistance before the issue goes viral.

What is Social Listening?

Any social analytics platform requires social data connections to extract the necessary information for a specific use case. One such social analytics application is social listening. Social listening is the act of monitoring media platforms for relevant accounts, posts, and keywords in near-real time. To most vendors, this means tracking brand and product mentions over time as well as reporting on anomalies or trends. However, specialized social analytics providers can offer much more. When reviewing social analytics vendors, it is important to keep in mind that there are key differentiators amongst providers that may be important to you and your business needs.

Basic Social Listening vs. Advanced Social Listening

If you are primarily interested in monitoring your brand accounts and mentions, then a basic social listening application should suffice. However, if you wish to explore more broadly or dig deeper, you may find these providers to be lacking. Many basic social listening providers will limit your searches and monitoring to only your company social accounts or a finite set of accounts and/or hashtags. If a new trend is unfolding or you wish to run reports on a competitor’s offerings, you may be out of luck with a basic provider. Additionally, most basic social listening applications will provide simple insights on the customers engaging with your company accounts. However, if you are interested in identifying new prospects or running reports on new markets and demographics, you are going to need a vendor with advanced social listening capabilities.

Also, consider your sources of interest. While connections to big name social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) are considered table stakes, some vendors offer a more expansive set of unique data sources, more advanced features related to existing sources, or even the ability to add new sources based upon customer request.

Finally, consider advanced features including AI-enhancements, computer vision, photo/video analysis, geographic analysis or other niche services which may be relevant to your needs, but which are not offered by more generalized social listening providers. For instance, perhaps you need to explore your target audience in specific geographic regions to forecast on-the-ground campaign results. You will need a solution that combines both advanced georeferencing and audience analysis. Or perhaps simple keyword/hashtag analysis is leading to a lot of irrelevant results (e.g., Subway the fast-food restaurant versus posts about the NYC subway). You may need advanced natural language processing and/or custom AI models to help auto-filter relevant results.

Final Thoughts

As the social and traditional media networks evolve and grow, so will our interactions with these sources. For many companies, developing sound strategy for leveraging these platforms will mean the difference between surviving and thriving. There are a lot of social analytics solutions out there and yet there is no perfect solution for every company. Some may need interested in Social Management solutions with simple listening features, while others may need a combination of Social CRM platforms and Advanced Social Listening solutions. Some companies may be fine with out-of-box solutions, while others may be interested in custom integrations. If you are confused or would like to explore your options in detail, Brand Intel experts are happy to help share detailed industry knowledge. Contact us today for a free social insights report.

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