After a year of change, companies are going all-in on social media – 90% of executives see social media as the primary communication channel for connecting with customers. This is based on the latest results of the Harris survey on behalf of Sprout Social.
Company managers see social media not only as a communication tool, but also as a valuable source of business intelligence. In fact, 85% say that social media will be a primary source of data for business decisions in the future.
The unbiased insights of consumers, industry and competitors gained from the social arena can be influential well beyond the marketing department. Social is the first place consumers turn to when they need information, entertainment, or a way to express their thoughts and opinions. It’s a place where they get in touch with their favorite brands on a daily basis, give feedback and find out about new products and services.
The social environment moves quickly, which is one of its strengths as a marketing channel. However, this also means that customer sentiment, brand perception and cultural trends can change within minutes. To get the most benefit from social business intelligence, you need to be able to access and act on it quickly.
Speed up time for social insights
In the past, executives may have only checked social data retrospectively to measure performance and progress toward goals. Now we have ushered in a new era of social media management where this data can and should be used to make proactive decisions.
For example, you may find that social content focused on an older product still drives engagement, link clicks, and website traffic. Your product team can use this data to update the product in question or to inspire a new product for the delight of your fans.
Strawberry Pretzel Pie is a throwback to the triple-decker potluck classic of our youth. Layers of salty pretzel gravel, cream cheese ice cream and red strawberry sauce with lipstick. As smiling as @DollyParton itself.
Coming in stores and online 4/8. pic.twitter.com/oWd2q5dfNo
– Jenis wonderful ice cream (@jenisicecreams) March 29, 2021
Or maybe a wave of customers suddenly starts seeking support through your social channels when there is a concern about a service outage, product defect, or website bug. Based on these messages, your communications team can post a statement while product or IT teams investigate. At the same time, customer service reps can coordinate a support plan, monitor the situation, and update customers while your company works towards a solution.
For those of you trying to order Strawberry Pretzel Pie online, we are so sorry. That sucks. The taste is NOT sold out. Our website issues were taking longer than expected, but we are working on them and will notify you via email and social media when we are back up and running.
– Jenis wonderful ice cream (@jenisicecreams) April 8, 2021
In both scenarios, the resulting qualitative and quantitative social data can also help your company reflect on the situation, assess the impact and apply insights in the future.
With Sprout Socials Analytics, companies can easily leverage real-time and retrospective social business intelligence.
Our Analytics Reports home page gives Sprout users access to cross-channel social media performance, from a network-level perspective to individual post performance. The intuitive user interface makes it easy to navigate to the key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics that are most important to your company.
Sprout eliminates time-consuming tasks from the reporting process so you can process, apply, and share data faster. No cleansing data, manual calculations, clunky spreadsheets, or busy dashboards required. Within minutes, Sprout users can customize, annotate, export and share presentation reports with everyone involved.
Democratization of social hearing
As more companies use social data as a source of business intelligence, social professionals need to be trusted and empowered to share their insights. But in the future everyone in a company should be able to do something to extract value from the social. To really make social media a part of business transformation, brands need to democratize social data.
Marketing departments are already facing a lack of technology adoption, often because their tools are cumbersome or unaffordable for users who are not experts in in-depth analytics. According to Gartner research, marketers are using only 58% of their existing technology skills. To increase this percentage, most organizations would need to spend more time and resources on team training.
Sprout Social is intuitive enough for anyone without the need to invest heavily in technical training.
Social listening, in particular, allows anyone to zoom out beyond their own data and have larger social conversations that are rich in insights from industry, competitors, and audiences. Sprout’s Social Listening Tool connects brands to this power source and instantly displays data that can charge your business. Create highly customizable themes that will reduce noise and help your business:
- Measure consumer perception and sentiment about your brand
- Identify gaps in your industry that your brand is prepared for
- Discover ways to differentiate your brand from the competition
- Discover inspiration for product innovations
- Collect Voice of the Customer (VoC) data to improve the overall customer experience
The easy-to-use experience and digestible format enables a wide variety of stakeholders – marketers, customer service reps, product developers, executives, and more – to gain actionable insights from social listening data without a background in data science.
Sprout allows employees outside of the marketing team to use hearing data. Our salespeople often make audio reports on current events and use the takeaways in their sales process. Listening also helped Sprout’s cross-functional Tiger team re-evaluate our business plan and figure out what our customers needed most during the pandemic.
Use social listening to drive business growth
Sprout customers have used listening to answer questions like: what day is leg day? What should the next season of our podcast focus on? Who was the artist of the summer? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Sprout’s social listening tool made it clear to Trek Bicycle that 2020 was the year of the bicycle boom. And with the bicycle boom, the brand’s audience rose sharply. New cyclists and riders who hadn’t shown interest in cycling suddenly became enthusiastic vocal riders.
I’ve quickly started loving cycling since moving to Ottawa. I upgraded my motorcycle last week and rode my first 50km yesterday. Excited for many more kilometers to explore + commute through this beautiful city! pic.twitter.com/U8kd81J1FO
– micah (@ mton09) July 19, 2020
To better understand these “bike boom riders” and what they expect from cycling, the bike brand used Sprout’s Advanced Listening solution. Not only did the hearing data help shape their social strategy, they also influenced the brand’s overall business strategy. This helped the brand predict how long this bike boom will last and how they could benefit from it.
Unlock social business intelligence for everyone
Between insights from direct communication with your customers, content performance analysis, and social listening data that give your brand a clearer view of culture in general, it’s not difficult to understand why companies are all-in on social media put. The intelligence you can get from social media not only makes up a brand, it grows into a business too.
Don’t risk your company being left behind in the next wave of digital transformation – take advantage of social business intelligence with Sprout Social. Request a free demo to try out our social listening tool.