It goes without saying today that social media is critical to the success of any business. If you want to gain attention, connect with trends, and give your business a human persona, social media is a free outlet that allows your business to achieve all of these goals. Companies with an effective social media presence are 26% more profitable and earn 9% greater revenue than their competitors. But for all the posts, tweets, shares, retweets, and likes, what is your company really gaining? What kind of information can you pull from your social media presence and the actions of your followers to help your business realize the profitability figures mentioned above?
Establish (or Repair) Credibility
Every business owner wants to believe their company is viewed positively by the public, but how can you know for sure? Social media offers the perfect barometer of your company's image and credibility. You can rate your brand for creditability against the competition in your industry, and other brands as whole. Analyze the social mentions of your company. Do customers view your business positively? Do a lot of posts hint that the business lives up to its marketing claims? You may spot some problems your brand faces, or even discover praise for ethical initiatives you didn't realize your company met.
Are You Keeping Your Promises?
Marketers like to believe they are driving the social narrative surrounding a brand, but the consumer has the final say on social media. Does your brand really stand for something with consumers, or is it just a logo? Analyzing mentions, shares, tweets, likes, and other social media activity allows your marketing department to compare the message it wants to send to consumers, with the consumer narrative/opinion of a brand. If the two don't line up, you can use that social data to build a new plan to nurture your brand in the eyes of consumers.
For small business in particular, local data matters the most. Your brand lives and dies with the opinion of local consumers. There are countless tools available to help your business transform local social media data (Streetfightmag.com has a full list here). For example, Earshot collects and synthesizes location-based insights from consumers on social media networks. The program gauges the mood, sentiment, and intent of individual posts from specific location, providing your business insight into the image of your brand and effectiveness of your marketing tactics in localized areas.
There are many ways that social media can help your business improve. While posts, likes, and tweets might seem like random data, it is possible to gain greater insight into the consumer mindset by taking the time to analyze this information and use it to improve marketing and branding efforts.