New Businesses Need To Wise Up And Learn To Understand What Online Communities Are Telling Them

Over 80% of fledgling businesses fail to grasp the significance of social media analytics and don’t understand how the monitoring of online social media data can have an effect upon their brands. So claims a recent report by marketing technology company, Alterian. The company surveyed almost 1,500 marketing professionals and sought their opinions on the effect of social media on their respective brands and whether they felt at risk by not personalising their online conversations to engage with their customers. The result of the analysis clearly showed that 4 out of every 5 new businesses  haven’t the foggiest idea about how to analyse and interpret social media data.

It’s widely considered to be a fact carved in stone that spending on social and digital marketing will continue to increase exponentially regardless of the economic downturn, yet 80% of the companies who are set to invest ever-increasing funds fail to understand how online conversations can affect their brands. In other words they are not checking what their customers are saying about their products and services online. According to the survey 6% of the companies polled had absolutely no experience of digital media analytics: 29% were only prepared to pay cursory attention to what their customers were saying, and 28% didn’t understand that analytical monitoring was needed to judge whether their campaign strategies were convincing the audiences they had targeted.

According to Alterian senior vice president for Asia Pacific, Chris Tew, the research is a damning indictment that many new companies and some established businesses are completely confused about what the social media is meant to be used for. These businesses hadn’t grasped that you need to listen to the opinions of customers and competitors, engage with them and address any issues they might raise:

“The majority of brands lack direction on what exactly to measure and analyse, how to go about it, and how to utilise that information to continually improve on their marketing efforts,” he argued, claiming that the respondents were fairly divided in their level of understanding about relevant social media conversations about their brand. Seven in 10 have very little or no understanding, while 39% use “a few ad-hoc tools”.

Marisa Peacock, of web magazine CMSWire, said in the report that social media engagement should be considered a priority across an entire business, and wasn’t just the responsibility of those who organise and institute the marketing message.

“Engaging users across social media platforms has become a full-time job. Not only do you need to participate, you need to be able to monitor and analyse the chatter,” she said.

“It is no longer enough to simply be active on social media. [Business owners] must consider social media  in the same way they would the traditional aspects of their marketing mix, analysing what’s on the social web, understanding and applying their findings accordingly.”

According to the Alterian report, most of the respondents had identified the issues affecting their business and were taking clear steps to correct them.

“Marketers could use guidance, the right tools and a clear, strategic plan – driven by consumer intelligence – to move toward fully engaging customers at an individual level,” the report says.

“Marketers now must not only engage with their customers but they must continue to analyse and measure their engagements across multichannel disciplines, taking their findings and applying them across all customer interactions in a very precise and operational way.”

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