Tracing the chronological evolution of the Internet puts us in a spot that is characterized by an abundance of social-media sites. Social Media boasts of truckloads of underlying information and trends that are difficult to capture superficially. A branch of data-analytics that is dedicated to studying the approach of collecting data from social media sites and blogs and evaluating that data to make business decisions, is called Social Media analytics. Social Media Analytics uses the sites and apps as a medium to understand real-time consumer choices, intentions and sentiments. Thus, it helps businesses develop an in-depth portfolio of the social consumer.
Defining the scope of Social Media Analytics
In his book ‘Seven Layers of Social Media’, author Gohfar F. Khan defines Social Media analytics as, “the art and science of extracting valuable hidden insights from vast amounts of semi-structured and unstructured social media data to enable informed and insightful decision making”. The approach is used for various use-cases including:
- Early warning – crisis management
- Audience interest and demographic understanding
- Campaign planning and measurement
- Competitive research
- Performance benchmarking
- Industry and product trend discovery
- Brand positioning assessment
Having stated the definition and application of Social Media Analytics, it is necessary for everyone to understand the difference between several other processes like Social Media Intelligence and Social Media Listening. Social Media Listening or Monitoring uses various social media channels to track the content being generated by the Internet consumers. The content is often recognized and marked by various identifiers – hashtags, keywords or terms about competitors, products or markets. Social Media Intelligence, on the other hand, is the process of utilizing both, social media monitoring and analytics to derive strategic solutions to business-problems. It includes all process from collecting data and analyzing the same to derive useful information to design a business strategy. Thus, Social Media Analytics (SMA) as a process, gains unlimited understanding or knowledge about a certain topic without participating or controlling ongoing social conversations.
Game-changing trends in Social Media Analytics
The tech-industry is pacing towards a stage where Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are not mere buzzwords. They are being incorporated within every aspect of our lives. Virtual Reality is intertwined with Social Media as brands like GoPro, Facebook, and vTime are investing on the technology. VR-powered social network is on the rise with good quality video content and competitive hardware to go along with it. Live video is another trend that confirms that Internet users relate better to videos than any other form of content on the Internet. Facebook announced its Live Video feature in 2016 which became increasingly popular among its users. Instagram and Twitter joined the band by launching live video streaming features in the last quarter of 2016. This feature can be used by brands to interact in a better manner with their clients and customers. Live tutorials or FAQ sessions can help engage the customer better thus, improving his experience.
Chatbots are interesting features that aim to improve the interaction between the social network and the human-user. These chatting-robots are nothing more than tools used to address customer queries on various forums. Chatbots have a growing positive-reputation because consumers prefer a stable service-medium. It also makes it easier to tackle several hundred queries on a daily basis. Facebook had launched its chatbot for Messenger in April, 2016. Social Advertising is a hot-topic in the current scenario. A 2014 report on Social Advertising shows that the total social media advertising has increased year after year in the United States of America. Moreover, this is expected to cross $11 billion in 2017. With personalized content and ability to scale it up to various devices, Operating Systems and formats, advertising on the social-network is only about to increase hereafter.
There are various other trends associated with Social Media Anlaytics, each of which promise to contribute to growth of this phenomenon, in their own respective capacities. While the industry is growing, it is advisable to learn all the associated technologies and adapt to the changes before it is too late.