Your Secret Weapon: Data-Driven Insights From Online News & Social Media

Your Secret Weapon: Data-Driven Insights From Online News & Social Media

David Hickey is the area director for Australia and New Zealand at Meltwater and in this opinion piece he says proven data is better than ‘gut’ for marketers and PRs…

David Hickey
Posted by David Hickey

As technology continues to transform the modern business landscape, senior marketing and PR professionals can take advantage of an ever-expanding sea of real-time online data that holds the keys to developing intelligent, holistic and measurable strategies.

These data-driven “outside insights” can help validate (or negate) the ‘gut feel’ approach to a brand’s strategy. Your instincts matter, but data is invaluable.

The most innovative marketers and PR practitioners are jumping on this opportunity to help cement their place in the boardroom. C-Level execs have long relied on their own internal data (such as CRM data), but insights from beyond their own internal walls, from online news and in particular social media, provide a unique, holistic perspective of a company’s true position. Whether it’s securing the right budget, proving ROI on an ongoing campaign, or backing up a case for a new strategy, data driven insights are the secret weapon.

The key to mastering the online-driven media landscape is finding the right conversation to have with the right person in the right place – in that order. A modern marketing and PR campaign is data-driven, social, and understands that engagement is the key to success.

A powerful communications search engine is instrumental to analysing millions of online content sources in the communications ecosystem at once –it enables businesses to answer the critical questions that used to be both difficult and time-consuming to obtain, such as:

▪       What are our customers saying?

▪       What are the general industry trends?

▪       Which influencers should we engage with?

▪       How are competitors positioning themselves per geographical region?

The key is to make sense of all the online chatter. A tally of Twitter or Facebook conversations mentioning your brand doesn’t mean much unless that information can be used to provide meaningful insights. Those insights should help us make better decisions before we start our campaigns, understand what’s currently working and what isn’t and in which departments, and who the influencers are behind the media coverage or social media conversations.

The beauty of today’s digital world enables businesses to better react to real-time opportunities and threats through online news and social media data, such as where and how to respond to audiences.

For example, according to a recent social media report from Forrester, Lenovo Early Detection combines its customers’ social conversations with data from other digital sources to specifically address product quality and customer experience months before they would be discovered through support calls. This has helped the brand save several million dollars in warranty claims.

Understanding what’s happening around your industry and your competitors creates an opportunity to differentiate your products and services. By turning evidence-based knowledge into action, you can take hold of opportunities that create a competitive advantage – and win over influencers with thoughtful, engaging conversations that engage them.

A good media intelligence tool will enable a variety of searches complete with threshold alerts that can highlight who’s saying what and where in real-time. In this way, it’s possible to track whether the language and positioning introduced into the market are being adopted. If it’s not, start by listening in order to identify competitor messaging and where a fresh reactive strategy could be inserted in order to claim market leadership.

Developing a higher level of business intelligence can also reinforce the bottom line. The ability to narrowly target the most influential members of your audience can greatly amplify the return on investment. Being able to identify risks and issues early on, rather than simply reporting on them when it’s too late is essential for protecting brand reputation in a 24 hour news cycle– especially around product quality and customer experience.

These ‘outside insights’ can be leveraged to refine and drive strategy, enabling businesses to be nimble, responsive to market needs and stay ahead of the competition. Businesses that are slow to take advantage of the data available to them and who aren’t listening and engaging with customers in real time, will be the ones who fall behind.