04 July 2017

Take Your Social Analytics To The Next Level

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Do you want a CMO’s advice on how to navigate social media? Start by talking to the 25-year-old in the room.

Paige Leidig, CMO of social analytics company Netbase, says the best way to understand social media’s potential when it comes to driving business value is to think like a digital native. If you’re a CMO, perhaps it’s time to think like one of the more junior members of your team.

Recognizing the power of social media, especially when it comes to leveraging social analytics to make marketing decisions, must start with setting the right mindset and forgetting what you thought you knew about consumer insights. Combine this mindset with your strategic marketing expertise and you’ll be on your way to unlocking the full potential of social for your brand.

If you’re a senior marketing leader scratching your head when it comes to what to do with deluge of social media data coming your way, follow these best practices.

Capture data that you can act on 

Social media conversations are happening all day, everyday, with or without your brand pushing messaging out. These organic conversations can reveal a great deal about your brand and can even inform the way your company behaves on social media. The question mark for brands: how do you capture this data, and once you have it, how do you act on it?

To illustrate this point, Leidig referenced an example in which somebody leaked a major announcement from Crayola ahead of “National Crayon Day,” threatening to undermine a big PR moment. Through ongoing social listening, the brand was able to get ahead of the crisis and use it as an opportunity to engage the community at a deeper level. Crayola even released a YouTube video to proactively address the leak.

Fish where the fish are

Beyond helping you understand important metrics like share of voice against competitors and identify prospective influencer-partners, social listening can also reveal the platforms where your band can make the most impact.

Leidig cited Pocky here, a quirky Japanese cookie brand that used social analytics to discover that most organic conversations for their products were occurring on Tumblr, a niche platform with a relatively small, yet passionate user base. In response, Pocky began to proactively create content there and saw a 70 percent increase in mentions as a result.

Avoid the Ozzy vs. Charles mistake

Social analytics can also be used to overcome some of the limitations of traditional demographic personas. To demonstrate, Leidig asked the crowd to imagine two men of British descent, both born in 1948, both wealthy. He explained that while demographic data would indicate these two men would be interested in the same products, he implored that there were key behavioral aspects missing from the equation. 

The future

Social media is still quite new, and the analytic tools for exploiting it are still evolving.  Let’s be honest with ourselves – how many true social media experts can there really be?  What would be the risk of suddenly discarding methods that have served us well for so long, in favour of an alternative that has not yet stood the test of time?  Why not concentrate instead on using social media qualitatively to assist in questionnaire development, or as one component in marketing mix modelling. Should social media be used to put a human face on data mining and predictive analytics?  Why not focus on utilizing it in tandem with other qualitative methods?  Social media analytics has already proven itself in these roles.

Is social media an asteroid streaking towards traditional marketing research or a valuable complement, rather than a complete substitute?  We lean towards the second conclusion and feel social media adds to, but will never fully replace traditional marketing research.  We see it as an important new and increasingly indispensable source of insights, but not the catastrophe some have feared nor the research nirvana others have sought. 




Nicolas was born in Belgium and became an expert in consuming excellent beers, chocolate and waffles. During the winter period you can find him on a hockey pitch and in summer he loves to go for a swim or a surf. In 2013 Nicolas was wondering what the beers, chocolate and waffles would taste like in Australia and never came back. One reason… the weather. Nicolas obtained a masters in International Politics and tries to use this background to produce excellent conferences at Akolade.

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