By now we already understand, through incessant reminders from marketing gurus and trial-and-error reruns, that the customer is and has always been in control, whether it be a brand’s image, its message, or other related aspects.
In fact, there are so many opinions and social conversations occurring online that it can be difficult deciphering what exactly consumers are trying to say about a particular product, service, and/or brand. These conversations are shaping consumer perceptions, and even influencing revenue and investments with brands (whether they’re being naughty or nice about it).
In this consumer-engaged world, especially with the help of social media, the original business model of traditional advertising effecting one-to-one relationships has now transformed into a new social business model: socially-enhanced individuals are now influencing many-to-many relationships. But this is all just a review… right?
The goal is to sift through the information overload. Advertisers and marketers need to use social media in order to identify patterns, trends and themes across this open social graph. Some of you might be asking, “But how on Earth can I measure content? Who will manage? How can you make sense out of chaos?” Well, we can already nail one question down about management: that is, Social Customer Relationship Management, which should consist of a team that can respond to customers comments, questions and complaints around the clock. Responses should be genuine and not seem automated or standardized – trust is a big player in this game here people!
As advertisers, our goal is to analyze and interpret the content of social conversations occurring online, including blog posts, video, music, photographs and other media you can think of. The idea is to collect a series of conversations and examine the content as a whole to understand the big picture. It is about analyzing the sentiment (whether comments have a positive or negative connotation) behind the meanings from the data we are investigating.
So, how can we sift through this information overload and come out on top with a couple of key insights that have the ability to part the seas? With the help of Social CRM, the sequence of responding and delivering to customers is through the following:
1. Listening and understanding their feedback.
2. Acting upon their insight and constructing a response.
3. Developing a game plan.
4. Allowing customers to experience new developments.
5. Listen and understand feedback from their experience.
You see the cyclic pattern here?
A more computational method of analyzing collaborative social media conversations and user-generated content is through Content Management Systems like Radian6, HootSuite and Spredfast. Not only can you see how customers are acting and conversing online, but you also have the ability to respond to their comments and/or demands through a controlled system.
And why not shoot for the stars? You can actually manually create your own quantitative content analysis (if you really, really wanted to). One way is to create a table of two columns that list both positive and negative words. As each word is added to a column, you can add both columns up and come up with a number for each and determine the tone of a customer’s message.
These methods of turning chaos into some sort of organized mess are made easier if you seek the ambitions of an Account Planner. My Customer Insights professor at Texas (props to Dr. Gerri Henderson!) told us that advertisers seeking a position in Account Planning should have the following qualities: inductiveness, ambiguity, sense-making skills, understanding of pattern recognition and social web “listening” skills.
Moreover, they should have an intuitive ability to prove and understand consumer motivations, blend results of secondary research for telling a good story, a knack for understanding why people tick, provide great explanations to make points relevant, and are fuelled by an innate curiosity that inspires them to blaze new trails (I personally like the last one).
Once you’ve mastered these skills and traits (which I’m sure all you brilliant people have), AND if you’re one of those over-acheivers (I’m also to blame…), you might even want to do a test run on this very post – that is, if you’re really feeling your inner nerd today. And if you have any comments, questions, or complaints, I’d be happy to get back to you promptly with the appropriate response to cater to all of your needs and more… (yeah, that sounded about right).
Photo credit: http://elife.com.br/
Further reading on Account Planning:
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