However, most companies would say they now feel comfortable that they both ‘get’ and ‘do’ social media. In many cases, this is half true – they ‘do’ social media. The problem is that there is a big difference between having an active and engaging Twitter feed and actually using social media to its full potential – the ‘get’ part.
Social media is much more than a mechanism to manage a company’s reputation or relay offers and news to clients and customers. Used properly, social media can become a rich vein of information which a company can leverage to dictate its strategy and improve its offering.
Here is the kicker – it isn’t even that hard to do. You don’t have to employ a management consultant to restructure your business or throw millions at new recruits or infrastructure. All that is required is some minor changes to mentality and organisation.
Capture the information
Companies are getting better at tracking customer comments on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, however, the problem is that this information is not always linked with other data sets such as customer service, or used tactically to monitor specifically for the impact of initiatives such as product launches. By drawing up a strategy for capturing and analysing information, social media stats can reveal deeper customer insights.
Share the information
Too often social media is the preserve of social media managers sitting in the marketing or customer service teams. Consequently, any information that is gleaned remains in these departments. Creating a mechanism where the results of social media analysis are readily accessible to the whole company can ensure that full value is earned from the data.
Get C-level buy-in
The CEO and other senior executives of a company usually only pay attention to the company Twitter feed when something goes wrong. To make sure the insights, both positive and negative, from social media can inform company strategy, analytics reports should be reviewed regularly at senior management level.
Action the insights
It all very well collecting and disseminating information within a company, however, it is of little use unless the data is trusted and used to make tangible changes to company strategy.
Using social media to disseminate news and handle customer complaints is now the very least a brand should do online. The most savvy companies analyse social media and then integrate these findings into their overarching business strategy. By realising the potential of social media, and leveraging the data to its full potential, any business can use it to become smarter and better.
Catriona Oldershaw is managing director at Synthesio UK
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