You Really ‘Like’ the Benefits of Social Analytics
By Larry Walsh
“Like.” It’s a simple word full of tremendous and varied meaning. It can mean that a person “likes” something. I could be a substitute for “love.” Sometimes it’s an acknowledgement that something has happened. Or it could simply act as a sentiment of approval.
In fact, the “Like” button on Facebook is all those things and more. Perhaps its most significant use is a means for gauging member sentiment toward products and services promoted through the social network by companies or individuals.
The “Like” button was a bit of a revolutionary idea when it was first introduced nearly two years ago. With one simple feature, Facebook was able to create a single touch point through which it could compare the preferences of groups and begin the process of creating actionable analytics for its sponsors and advertisers.
Social analytics is hardly new and hardly unique to Facebook. Many enterprises are now employing sophisticated analytical software to gather data, correlate trends and produce predictive analyses. This sophisticated reporting is part of a trend in which enterprises are using all of the information tools at their disposal to determine market needs, develop products and make strategic decisions with greater agility and substantially less risk.
The power of social intelligence is so great that many retailers are already using predictive data analysis on user buying patterns and future purchases. They’re using this information to influence purchases and increase average sale prices. Recently, the New York Times published an expose on how a department store knew more about a man’s teenage daughter than he did. It gained this insight not just through the girl’s purchases, but the purchases of women her age and demographic group.
Getting to this analytical nirvana isn’t easy. It requires engagement in the social fabric, the gathering of discreet but voluminous data sets, the merging with baseline intelligence and crunching huge numbers to get to a final outcome. Getting there is worth the effort, as enterprise that engage in social analytics are enjoying better sales, customer relationships and profitability.
Eye on IBM will be exploring the topic of social analytics this Thursday, March 22, in a special webcast with Mark Heid, director of social analytics at IBM. We’ll discuss in depth what social analytics is, the benefits of deep social data analysis and the systems required for social analytics.