Businesses across the world are realizing that they need to figure out how to sift through the megatons of information that is being shared about them via social media amongst customers, ex-customers, prospective customers and more.
It’s extremely important to pay attention to the information being posted online about the impressions that people have of your products and your company. This information can complement the work you may already be doing to collect customer feedback via customer satisfaction questionnaires or any other research you do to understand how to better meet your customers’ needs.
There are many social media monitoring tools available to collect information from public areas of the Internet. Most of them automatically classify each comment using natural language processing technology (NLP) to help assess whether they are positive or negative. This approach can help take a broad sweep at assessing what the sentiment is out there about your company and your products. Monitoring these metrics over time and seeing what variations occur in conjunction with new product launches or organizational changes is very important, however this just tells you ‘what’ people are saying and doesn’t tell you ‘why’ people feel that way about your company/your products.
In order to get the biggest benefit from monitoring social media, it’s important to look at the actual comments that are collected and analyze what is behind them. For people that are frustrated with your company or products, is it the purchasing process, installation of your product, or actual daily use of your products that is the core of the problem? This information can be very helpful in making decisions about where to invest improvement efforts, product enhancements, etc.
Likewise, it’s very helpful to understand what it is that customers like most about your products. This information can help you ensure that you don’t mess with the elements of your product that customers like most.
Getting full understanding of the social media noise requires in-depth analysis of a sampling of the actual comments. Some organizations have the bandwidth and expertise to do this in-house, however, sometimes it is necessary to bring in external resources. Researchers who do qualitative research such as interviewing, focus groups, etc. have the expertise to know how many comments to review in order to have a valid sample that represents all of the comments that are out there. A good researcher can glean the details behind the comments and look for trends to help you get clearer about what to do to improve the perception of your company and products.
Net net: be sure that you are not only looking at social media metrics, but also investing the time to analyze what those metrics mean via thorough analysis.