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March 14, 2013

Why Analytics and Social Media Go Together

By Heather Clancy

It’s pretty safe to say most C-suite executives are convinced of the need to interact with customers using social channels, and some new research from BRANDfog underscores that theme.

In fact, 87.5 percent of the 800 U.K. and U.S. executives participating in the consulting firm’s 2013 CEO, Social Media Leadership Survey saw them as instrumental for raising the profile of the corporate brand.

“While social media is new, the nexus between communication and leadership is not,” says BRANDfog CEO and Founder Ann Charles, commenting about the results. “Many of the world’s greatest leaders – from Winston Churchill to Martin Luther King, Jr., to Steve Jobs – have all been highly skilled communicators. Social media, in all its forms, empowers CEOs to improve their communications skills, deepen their connections with people inside and outside the company, and emerge as effective leaders.”

But true social media leadership involves far more than counting up how many fans have liked your company’s Facebook page or the number of people that follow its Twitter feed. Those metrics sort of miss the point of what’s possible.

To move beyond those table stakes, the smartest companies are considering social media interactions as another valuable source of actionable business insight and not just a listening tool.

In a November 2012 report about this topic (“Ten Steps to Successful Social Intelligence Measurement”), Forrester Research offers the example of an airline that wanted to gauge the impact of social media on its inbound call center.

The airline began collecting social interaction data to understand how many customers were looking to online forums for help or to handle simple problems or tasks associated with their trips. Comparing the trends demonstrated that traditional metrics used to track its call center operation – such as number of calls and agent response time – allowed the airline to demonstrate that almost 10 percent of its support load was shifting online, which helped it prioritize development resources and investments in customer service functions.

The big question for your company is whether it’s ready to take that next step?

Over the next several months here on the Eye on IBM blog, we’ll explore how you can construct a framework that will help your company drive more business insights from its social media data and how it can better use the data it collects from social channels to drive strategy and decision-making.

Watch for coverage of how to link social activities with key performance indicators, how to prioritize initiatives and how to go beyond listening to get closer to your customers. Also watch for a series of Webcasts from IBM, focused on how to integrate meaningful business analytics with your social media efforts – a key step toward improving customer loyalty and increasing profitability.

Our first session, “Driving relevant business insights from social media,” centers on how you can develop a Social Media Analytics framework. Join us on March 27, 2013, at 1 pm Eastern Time for this interactive event. And visit this blog twice weekly for updates about this theme.

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