This blog post will introduce the fundamentals to understanding the importance of Social Media and Networking. With the rise of social media use in society and in organisations, a significant change in the abundance of data in these platforms has increased exponentially. As a result, social media has also changed the way customers and employees communicate with businesses.

With this new channel of communication between customers and employees, you may be wondering how are organisations keeping up with all the hashtags and Facebook posts? In this post we will be introducing Social Media Analytics (SMA) and setting the landscape of this tool by highlighting the drivers behind the importance of SMA, why your organisation needs it, and how  SMA will affect an organisation’s operational model.

What is Social Media Analytics (SMA)?

With the growth of the digital and increasingly crowded marketplace, it is now the norm for every individual to be using social media. As of January 2016, solely in Australia, Facebook has reached 15 million users, Twitter has reached 2.8 million active users, and LinkedIn has reached 3.7 million… and this is only to name a few. On top of that, each platform has their own uses for different customer segments, outlining the various ways individuals can connect with each other and businesses.

The data and posts from different customers on each platform provides a source for valuable insight and information for future market trends, as well as feedback on current products, brands and customer opinions. With all this abundance of data on social media, how could we transform this into actionable insights? SMA is the answer.

“SMA is the application of advanced technology, algorithms, machine learning methods to work on data sets for information retrieval to analyse patterns and trends in human social behaviour on these platforms” – IBM (2016)

What are different social media zones?

Below is an outline of different types of social media uses and examples of these uses. This set of classification allows businesses to identify different platforms for different purposes, enabling firms to identify the most effective platform to achieve their social media strategy. 

Use of Social Media Examples
Creating Blogs, YouTube
Connecting Social Networks – Facebook, LinkedIn
Collaborating Wikis, Crowdsourced Projects
Reacting Forums, product reviews, YouTube
Organising Content Tags – Digg, Delicious, Twitter, Tumblr
Accelerating Consumption RSS Feeds


How has Social Media Changed the Way Customers Connect with Businesses?

New Ways of Communication

All of this has changed the traditional landscape of how customers interact with businesses due to key drivers of social media adoption such as technology availability and price improvements. Previously in Web 1.0, businesses would interact with customers through simple one-way communication by displaying information to customers. Now with the introduction of different social media platforms, a multi-channel dynamic relationship exists between customers and businesses. Consumers can now tweet to companies, blog about companies, write comments on Facebook posts, or even converse and interact with other consumers, and businesses can do the same back.

A Shift in Power

This has ultimately provided consumers with much more user empowerment, being able to have transparent reviews about a brand or product through social media and even giving more power to disgruntled consumers to share their experiences with the world online.

In the next post, we’ll be discussing how companies utilise social media (with a focus on marketing) to connect with customers and monitor their brand with a focus on social media marketing and monitoring.

Let us know what you think of our post in the comments below! Do you think social media has had a large effect on our society?