You have a data warehouse up and running, and your analysts are building reports and dashboards, containing actionable data about your business and customers. But are you missing a large piece of the puzzle?
We all know that listening to what customers are saying on social media is a critical component to a company’s marketing plan, not to mention its overall business strategy. This level of customer engagement goes beyond monitoring customer loyalty programs, surveys, and tracking customer lifetime value metrics. Leading organizations need the ability to leverage social media analytics to raise brand awareness and enhance customer service.
However, collecting and analyzing the right social media metrics across social channels like Facebook and Twitter is no easy task. According to Kiss Metrics, more than 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month and over 500 million Tweets are sent per day on Twitter. Luckily, there are social monitoring platforms and sentiment analysis tools like those offered by the Nielsen-owned Buzz Metrics that can help manage this process.
To help prevent teams from spending hours, if not days, performing data cleansing, consider integrating with a Master Data & Governance project. This approach will empower analysts to move beyond simply capturing social media metrics (likes, views, tweets, etc.).
Moving beyond capture
Many believe this level of insight is critical. Dan Neely, CEO of Networked Insights, explains the difference between monitoring social media activity vs. the concept of “social listening”:
“Monitoring sees trees; listening sees the forest.”
His point is that when organizations can listen to customers’ comments on a higher plane, they have a much better understanding of their needs and concerns. With supporting context about social media comments, they can infer meaning based on when and where online conversations take place.
The power of integration
To elevate to “social listening”, one of the most significant challenges is integrating these social media monitoring platforms into an existing data infrastructure. Adding the kind of storage and processing power required to comb through all the tweets, likes, photos, and “unboxing videos” is a next-generation challenge that requires a next-generation solution. This is where a hybrid integration infrastructure can come into play. For these purposes, we define hybrid integration as follows:
A way of blending cloud-based service with current data and/or Business Intelligence (BI) solutions, including social media analytics and applications, to provide a more complete picture of the customer.
Leveraging the Cloud
Services such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Redshift, and Microsoft Azure are making hybrid integration around current BI analytics platforms and social media analytics possible. By leveraging the cloud to manage this influx of data, organizations can provide business teams with the analysis they need to make smarter decisions about campaign performance and overall customer sentiments. By integrating this data with the current BI platform, companies can also leverage existing BI tools and reduce training and new hire requirements to set up the platform.
If you are considering one of these cloud providers, look at those that can best integrate into your current tool sets. Many organizations have several point-to-point interfaces in their data infrastructure, which can be difficult to manage and change without proper planning.
With this type of hybrid integration, data cleansing and groupings are also extremely important. You need the ability to correct errors and provide groups that clearly capture related brand data, including all variations, alternative spellings, and abbreviations of your company name to capture relevant tweets or posts.
Map Out a Social Dashboard
Before integrating social data and metrics into your data warehouse and implementing a hybrid solution, begin with a mockup of a social dashboard and strategy for the project. Map out what an actionable social dashboard might look like for your organization. Integrate with your current data and business intelligence for the full picture.
Keep in mind that initially, traditional social media metrics may deceptively point to a successful campaign. Recently, we heard of a non-profit whose YouTube video received 1.2 million views. Generating that amount views is a feat; however, after a closer look we noticed a disconnect. In this example, the goal of the campaign was to drive donations for the nonprofit. Despite having over 1 million views, the organization only had 25 people sign up to donate, and zero people actually followed through and donated money. The non-profit needed to look at the full picture, not just the number of YouTube views. They needed the ability to tie their social media platforms and customer engagement with traditional BI metrics like donations. However, this can be done through a cloud and hybrid integration.
Ask yourself this. Does your organization have the ability to analyze and review how a recent video has impacted product sales? With a hybrid solution, you’ll not only be able to analyze the impact of your “unboxing video,” but analysts have the ability to tie data directly to product messaging posts, chat logs, or direct purchases. In short, your organization may be sharing great content and engaging with your audience across all related social channels, but it also needs the ability to measure the business impact of your social media efforts. Hybrid integration done right can help make this a reality.
While this article focuses on social data using hybrid cloud data integration, hybrid is much bigger than cloud alone. Look for future articles on hybrid and Big Data, hybrid and EAI, and more.
Do you have questions?
If you have a particular area of interest, we would be glad to discuss. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to chat!
By: Tony Capobianco, Business Analyst