Monitoring, Interpreting, and Integrating the Complexities of Social Media
New social media platforms seem to be emerging constantly, and they continue to evolve and develop at a mind boggling rate. With all of these changes taking place, businesses find it difficult to know how they should capitalize on the opportunities social media provides. Advertising spending in social media by American companies is increasing dramatically. In the next five years will reach 34%, more than twice as much as search advertising. But is it worth it? Are you reaching the intended target market? What is the actual return on both effort and financial investment? Many companies struggle to measure and understand the real impact their involvement with digital media platforms has on their organization’s performance.
Social media actions can be complex and difficult to interpret. Outside of placing paid advertising on social media platforms, here are three forms a business’ social media activity can take:
Type 1: This form is not paid for by brand owners, but is provoked and pushed for by them.
Type 2: This form is the result of a campaign paid for by the brand owner that requests consumers to create and share content for the brand.
Type 3: This form is not paid for by brand users, and is created and shared by individuals that are not paid or encouraged to do so by brand owners.
With all of these different formats, monitoring what people are saying about a brand online is continuous and it is a constantly ongoing process; always changing. Despite its complexity, social media activity has the potential give businesses access invaluable intelligence that can help guide decision making. This is type of broad social media monitoring should be the most fundamental involvement for any brand.
PepsiCo tackled this problem head on when monitoring the brand of sports drink it manufactures, Gatorade. It has set a goal to become “the largest participatory brand in the world”. To accomplish this feat, a real-time monitoring station exhibits customizable dashboards and data visualizations for all social media platforms. Marketing team members are able to use this space it calls its “war room” to analyze consumer sentiment regarding new products or campaigns and pinpoint conversations in order to give direct feedback. The feedback PepsiCo has collected is shared and incorporated into the brand by guiding the company’s decision making. Since implementing the program, the amount of web traffic, length of online interactions with visitors, and viral sharing, have all more than doubled.