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Online customers are talking about you. Measure the impact with social media analytics.
Online product reviews, user-generated websites devoted to specific brands, discussion forums – customers are expressing their opinions online. One video going viral, like “United Breaks Guitars,” can result in untold damage to a company’s brand – and bottom line.
Social media has given consumers a powerful new voice and marketers are struggling to make sense of the flood of feedback. SAS has responded with SAS Social Media Analytics. With this new solution, companies can see exactly what customers are saying about them and tie results to business impact so they can take action.
We sat down with Mark Chaves and Chris Brogan to find out why the SAS solution is such an important step forward. Chaves is the Director of Media Intelligence Solutions for SAS, and Brogan, who is considered a social media pioneer, is the President of New Marketing Labs. Companies such as Molson Coors, Sony and Microsoft have relied on Brogan’s expertise to build and execute successful social media strategies.
What's the market for social media analytics now, and how do you see it growing in the next five years?
@chrisbrogan: The opportunity for social media analytics is huge. As someone who's been in the trenches for the last several years, this is the area where we all look down at our shoes and mumble that we have other ways of tracking our success. Putting real solutions to work on this problem will help companies understand in very hard data terms what they're getting for their efforts.
@MarkAChaves: Social media marketing spending is currently estimated at $700 million, according to Forrester Research, and is expected to grow to $3 billion in the next five years. As companies become more engaged in social media channels, they need to move from just listening to conversations to tying them to marketing metrics and seeing the impact on the business so that they can take action.
What sets the SAS solution apart from other social media measurement solutions?
@chrisbrogan: SAS has a huge framework already in place, so the amount of quality already baked into this product comes from a rich history of quality. Adding in the social components is a lot easier when you look at what they've already delivered. This makes it a faster-to-market but still quality-minded execution.
@MarkAChaves: As Chris said, we have the framework in place, which allows us to bring an enterprise approach to the problem. We can collect and analyze large quantities of data, both structured and unstructured, from internal and external sources. And we can capture and analyze online conversations going back years. Looking at trends over time, we help companies not just explain what happened, but to also predict what’s going to happen, or create “what-if” scenarios. Another feature that really sets us apart is our multi-language support. SAS Social Media Analytics can understand and classify conversations in 13 different languages and dialects to derive sentiment and identify topics across borders.
Chris, what are your customers looking for in terms of social media measurement? Is SAS a good fit for your clients? If so, why?
@chrisbrogan: I work with a lot of FORTUNE 100 and FORTUNE 500® brands. They don't yet feel comfortable with the kinds of metrics that are being offered by social media marketing companies (including mine). Customers want a better sense of where leads come from via the social Web. They want to better understand the sentiment of the plethora of blogs out there. They want to know the impact of whoever made a statement, positive or negative, about them. And I think it's time we give them a solution. SAS is a good fit for most of my clients, because a lot of them are already using SAS in other areas of the business.
What are the unique challenges of monitoring and measuring social media for an enterprise? How do you think this solution meets those needs?
@chrisbrogan: Enterprises need to stay fast and yet deeply wired. This means that one person needs a decent view of the various social media elements, but that the information has to flow, scale, be shareable, and have other business value besides being a standalone gauge. SAS Social Media Analytics gives a lot of workflow consideration and provides many ways to interact with the information. I believe that by offering two ways to consume the information (one a bit more technical, the other a bit more reports-level), this solution gives the C-suite their view into the social Web while letting the field workers get their hands on everything so they can be operationally effective.
@MarkAChaves: The first challenge is keeping up with all the emerging social channels and sources. Part of that is determining which of those are growing in terms of impact and which you should engage as influencers. The second
challenge is tying all those conversations to your unique business attributes. For example, if I’m a hotel, telling me that 50 percent of TripAdviser reviews were negative doesn’t help me, but telling me that 75 percent were negative regarding price is helpful. I want to understand what consumers are saying about specific attributes, and I’m going to want to drill down into that data – does sentiment change from one resort to another? That’s taking the listening and making it actionable.
What's the importance of measuring sentiment at a feature level? Give me an example of how that might influence business decisions.
@MarkAChaves: Well, if you're a bank and sentiment analysis reveals that one region of your business has below-average customer service related to loan processing, then you have identified an issue that you can fix – the bank can be alerted to this trend, examine it at a very granular level, then put an action plan into place. For example, they could look to streamline their loan handling process or provide more training for loan officers.
With SAS, you have real data that you can drill down into and see exactly what the customers are saying about specific aspects of your business. Then you can make changes and measure again to see what you might need to tweak. That’s the beauty of social media analysis: It’s like having the World Wide Web as your 24/7 focus group.