Social media can inform business decisions

Read time 2min 10sec

Intelligence gleaned from what people say in social media can help companies develop their business strategies, and resolve problems before they spiral out of hand.

Mariska du Preez, product manager at BrandsEye, says the world is on the cusp of an analytical revolution, and data will be the core of a business' operations in the future, if this is not already the case. She says most conversations happening online are by consumers, and these generally happen on social media.

Du Preez adds some people think social media is fluffy and sentiment-based, and therefore of no value. However, she explains accurate data can pull a signal out of the noise.

Business intelligence is inaccurate without accurate social data, says Du Preez, adding this is a huge area on which companies can capitalise. "You can use social data to understand what the answers are to questions people want to know."

Du Preez explains social media can be used to pick up trends, which identifies what questions companies need to be asking of the data they have at hand. This helps detect patterns that can be used to develop insights. "The true magic happens when you combine the insights."

Mining deeper

Using accurate social media information can provide companies with advanced research capabilities, at a lower cost than traditional research, says Du Preez.

Addressing delegates at the ITWeb Social Media Summit 2014 today, she cited the example of a fast food company that had unsuccessfully moved into an African country, but redefined its brand based on social media intelligence to turn the situation around.

Accurate social media data can also allow companies to better quantify how big an issue could be if there is negative sentiment on social media, and to intervene to rectify the problem, says Du Preez.

Du Preez says, as an example, negative sentiment can be measured in terms of the damage done to the brand's reputation, and the root of the issue can be rectified by the company. She notes this intelligence can also be tied into product development.

In addition, social media can be used as a superior risk mitigation tool. "Social media has a wealth of opportunities; data waiting to be translated into business success."

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