Social Intelligence for Enterprise
Social Intelligence for Enterprise: Enterprises understand their customers and followers better today through Social integration. Increased spend observed to invite social intelligence and create platforms for analysis. Historically research and analysis of information from social domain is steered by business leaders with a limited participation from Information technology leaders.
As the topic is getting into the new normal of enterprises, it is critical for everyone to first appreciate and relate with the business relevant analysis possible from collecting information from public domain. Also for technologists be conversant of the challenges to enable the same due to volume of information possible, variety to deal with and speed at which information landscape in the public domain changes.
It is a new normal to see “Like our official page on Facebook” or “Follow us on Twitter” or “Subscribe to our youTube channel” and other similar links on every commercial or non-commercial website. What these organizations are planning to accomplish? A one sentence answer could be creating a sphere of trusted network of brand loyalists. While business loyalty is the hidden agenda in case of commercial organizations, non-commercial pursuits are striving emotional attachment with its followers.
Skeptics on one side feel if such a strategy of marketing helps improve the brand position. But it is clear on the other side that brand conscious companies are spending over 15% to 20% of their media-spend on social media. Why? Our quick analysis of all the profiles couple of years ago say on Facebook showed greater than 41% of population across the world mention a preference to at least 2 or more brands. Social networks are offering a unique panel to conduct secondary market research. In contrast to the panel based research social media is proving to clearly help unearth the impartial views of the consumers or followers.
This strategy of inviting social activity into the realm of an enterprise appears to help expand the “ego boundaries” of the enterprise. Employees of such organizations with followership and social activity carry a pride of association with something unique.
While it is an easy guess for developed countries, it is more interesting to note that the activity on social networks and public domain has exploded in the recent years across different emerging nations as wells. This can be attributed to the communication channels created through ease of mobile and geographic localization technology adoption.
It is easy to estimate that the volume of public domain activity that is related to any enterprise is going to surpass or already surpassed the volume of activity registered with in the systems of the enterprise. This is causing enterprises to think if they are acting accordingly to reap the benefits of analyzing such information to become competitive. So there is a need for a strategy at enterprise level. Be it information from social networks or other public domain datasets, it could mean enterprises need to embrace new technologies or new way of working or new competencies.
Rest of this paper highlights only a few use cases of such social information integration into enterprise’s new normal and some foundational thoughts around how a social information strategy has to be established.
Branding: Leveraging social networks
How enterprises are improving the brand performance through social networking
Enterprises as a first step define a brand page or channel or follow us page on the social networking sites. They even display the amount of followership on each of these sites to emotionally assist followers feel the attachment and invite more participation.
As a second step, enterprises establish a way to seek and analyze the followership profile. At a minimum such an analysis would help identify a casual follower versus an influencer versus a loyalist. While a casual follower helps in the overall popularity measure, an influencer who is actively communicating and influencing for or against the brand is critical to analyze. Such an influencer can one day transform into a loyalist. Loyalists demonstrate different attachment that could be very useful for enterprises to proliferate viral messages.
Once these two steps are figured out it is all about a creative set of actions targeted towards increasing followership and improving the effectiveness of the followership profile.
Brand reputation: Ranked followership profile
A collective metric which considers casual follower base, influencer and loyalist segments is a best indication to rank brand reputation. Such an analysis shows that a followership profile of different brands change rather frequently across geographies, across demographics and lifestyle segments.
When we started doing such an analysis in the past, we assumed that clearly the brands that are already popular on the planet before the advent of social networks would be ranked high on the reputation. Reality turned out to be different. Leaving aside the popular brands not socially active, brands which were ranked well in the start lost their ranks to other brands having sizeable current activity. So a time series analysis is critical across various brands as prototyped below:
A word for technologists: We know that this kind of visualization and analysis appears easy from a business intelligence system standpoint. But as the underlying need to run such a process across a union of 600+ Million Facebook profiles, 400+Million Myspace profiles and similar data from other networks put together, to slice aggregates across population by demographics, geographies, lifestyle etc., in a very rapid manner is not an easy puzzle. And that is exactly what we have solved in the past to provide advanced visualizations on such information in a rapid manner. Such queries can run for days some times.
Brand popularity: Comparative segmentation of followership
Brand popularity is a matter of relativity and a point in time snapshot if we have to look at it from a tactical angle. Products are launched, recalled or retired from time to time. A comprehensive followership profile once built for brands that can compare, several questions that have an emotional relevance of the followership can be analyzed. Clearly the population segments and associated lifestyle interests become evident to help in establishing popularity.
One very popular use case of the social networks has been proved by automotive companies for new product introduction. This is proven applicable for different specialty products as well. Nodal loyalists of specific product categories can help establish themselves as opinion leaders. Messaging through such leaders is proven to have an increased impact than branding for the new products through advertisement and other media.
Brand affinity: Cross entity followership
Another very useful analysis from the followership profiles across brands, products and cross related entities is “cross affinity”. This analysis of followers of a brand versus other related entities ex: songs or TV shows or Celebrities or other products are helping:
- Retail merchandisers for product bundling strategies for specific geographies and demographics
- Brand marketers of media and non-media enterprises to design promotions through co-branding
- Manufacturing brand managers conduct regional and seasonal analysis and correlate for trade promotional effectiveness
- Ecommerce sites to include related products and offers based on the geography from where the user has logged into the sites
Following illustrates a case of product bundling in China. People have a strong desire to take a shower after tea. Courtesy Jonathan Lau’s marketing blog.
Listening: Power of sentimental analysis
Followers are actively commenting on social networks and blogs. Technology today is offering a limited but valuable set of analysis possible by automatically comprehending the underlying sentiments. At the core of such a technology comprehensive taxonomy definition helps the text search tools to decide different relevance and weight the sentiments as positive, negative, alert, innovative, influencing, loyal etc.,
1.General activity around “a search term” or “a topic” on the social media – helps in a dipstick assessment of the followers emotional trends
2. Food and drug administration (FDA) in United States is increasingly getting vigilant around drug safety. FDA themselves are turning slowly towards social data to quickly sense drug safety concerns from the patients. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have been for long ignoring to invite drug safety information from social networks. Very soon they will see themselves increasingly researching on social information to of course unearth what is a right alert and what is not
3. Real estate and other customer centric service organizations are mining customer experience to improve their customer touch points thereby improving overall customer satisfaction. They realize just surveys are not really helping them get close to the emotional levels of their followers
4. Several manufacturing companies are learning from their consumers, different creative aspects of usage of the products they sell. Example a manufacturer of plastic film might not have a comprehensive understanding of the usage patterns of their products, which could be very creative some times. So learning the innovative application of their products, they are able to either create more suitable bundling of their products or prepare the product more usable for specific purposes
5. And employees are the critical assets for any organization. Employee dissatisfaction causes a negative recall in the society for an employer. Global employers are more curious to understand the sentiments of their employees in far off lands away from their corporate office. Listening is helping them to improve their processes, policies etc.,
Social data: Helping strategic analysis
So far the discussion centered on intelligence possibilities from social networks, blogs etc., On the other hand, mining and integrating information shared on the public domain is also proving very critical for creating enterprise strategies. Few examples from our experience worth a note here:
- Google has taken a lead in creating a retail shopping / price comparator tables across websites and offer at shopping.google.com. But the prices crawled by Google may or may not be accurate as the websites keep changing the prices when the visitor actually goes to the last page to pay for the item in the shopping cart, after navigating through Google. We have solved problems of comparing wholesaler site price to retail competitor price for rapid price decisions
- Another application of social data is leveraging information from economic forums to help in pricing strategies for emerging markets where not much of information is available to forecast through qualitative studies. This is more common in Pharmaceutical companies.
- Comparing a product specification with that of competitive products for improved market intelligence to be launch in the new markets
Social information strategy: A CIO concern?
Social information is becoming more critical for enterprises but at the same time is very creative. In several organisations different business leaders champion the strategies with case to case partnership with CIO organizations. Social Intelligence for Enterprise is very critical for an organisation. The need for Social Intelligence for Enterprise has grown multi fold.It’s imperative for an organisation to spend more time on strategically plan Social Intelligence for Enterprise.
Social intelligence for Enterprise is becoming very pervasive and organizations are finding it difficult to ignore. Quite a few proven use cases and emerging technologies are helping organizations integrate Social intelligence into their new normal. Several organizations have already invested into their partners to create a conduit of social intelligence to help their business focused teams. Clearly it going to be CIO’s concern to establish governance for social intelligence. Good news is there are very frugal ways to outsource such an analysis to prove the value to the business before any significant budgetary commitment.