Social Media Analytic Tools and Platforms Offer Promise

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The ability to know and understand the customer experience is paramount in the new millennium as organizations strive to improve customer service, keep customers loyal, and gain greater insights into customer purchasing patterns. This has become even more important as a result of social media and social media networks that are now the new “word-of-mouth platforms.” In-memory promises to provide real-time data not only from transactional systems but also to allow organizations to harvest and manage unstructured data from the social media sphere.

Graph Databases Enhance Predictive Analytics

Graph databases are sometimes faster than SQL and greatly enhance and extend the capabilities of predictive analytic by incorporating multiple data points and interconnections across multiple sources in real time. Predictive analytics and graph databases are a perfect fit for the social media landscape where various data points are interconnected.

Social media analytic tools enable business and organizations to enhance:

  • Brand and sentiment analysis
  • Identification and ranking of key influencers
  • Campaign tracking and measurement
  • Product launches
  • Product innovation through crowdsourcing
  • Digital channel influence
  • Purchase intent analysis
  • Customer care
  • Risk management
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Partner monitoring
  • Category analysis

The Social Media Listening Centers

Many organizations are just starting to use social data, few are at the forefront, and most are using off-the-shelf vendor products to create social media listening/monitoring ?centers. These platforms operate in real time and visually display sentiment and brand analysis for products and services. The majority of organizations today are at this stage of social analytics, and again, few appear to be collecting, staging, and archiving data for further analysis and predictive analytics.orate communications).

Monitoring and performing predictive analytics on social media datasets are the most obvious and common uses of analytic solutions today. Many solutions use natural language processing in the indexing and staging of social media data. Predictive analytics enable a wide array of business functions including marketing, sales, product development, competitive intelligence, customer service, and human resources to identify common and unusual patterns and opportunities in the unstructured world of social media data.

Social Media Analytical Tools

Social media analytical tools identify and analyze text strings that contain targeted search terms, which are then loaded into databases or data staging platforms such as Hadoop. This can enable database queries, for example, by data, region, keyword, sentiment. This can then enable insights and analysis into customer attitudes toward brand, product, ?services, employees, and partners. The majority of products work at multiple levels and drill down into conversations with results depicted in customizable charts and dashboards.

Often analytic results are provided in customizable charts and dashboards that are easy to visualize and interpret and can be shared on enterprise collaborative platforms for decision makers. Some social media analytic platforms integrate easily with existing analytic platforms and business processes to help you act on social media insights, which can lead to improved customer satisfaction, enhanced brand reputation, and can even enable your organization to anticipate new opportunities or resolve problems.

On the bleeding edge of social media analytics is a new wave of tools and highly integrated platforms that have emerged to provide not only social media listening tools but also enable organizations to understand content preferences (or content intelligence) by affinity groups and brands they are following or trending. Some of the innovators taking social media data to a new level include Attensity, InfiniGraph, Brandwatch, Bamboo, Kapow, Crimson Hexagon, Sysomos, Simply Measured, NetBase, and Gnip.

Current Use of Social Media BI Tools

In 2012, the SHARE users group and Guide SHARE Europe conducted a Social Media and Business Intelligence Survey, produced by Unisphere Research, a division of Information Today, Inc., and sponsored by IBM and Marist College. The survey, which examined the current state of social media data monitoring and collection and use of business intelligence tools in more than 500 organizations, found that IBM, SAS, Oracle, and SAP were the entrenched BI platform market leaders. The majority of the sample base indicated that they were not using third-party BI tools for social media analytics.

What’s Ahead in Social Media Analytics

The 2012 social media and BI survey data still provide a relevant picture of the state of social media analytics. A majority of organizations will leverage legacy business intelligence vendors with familiar semantic layers to perform rudimentary social media data analysis. The big issue is that line-of-business managers will not wait for nonagile IT departments to collect, harvest, stage/build, and perform analytics on new social media data marts or data warehouses.

New bleeding-edge social media analytical platforms are addressing the needs of line-of-business professionals in real time. They are also leveraging the economics of utility computing and the cloud to bring cost-?effective analytical platforms to nearly all organizations. These highly integrated platforms include simple social media listening tools, along with embedded analytics and predictive analytics that incorporate content and sometimes advertising abilities to meet the needs of modern digital marketers. There are also other new vendors that specialize in collecting and delivering raw social media for those organizations which are building their own in-house social media analytics platforms.

Traditionally, marketing has always had four P’s. Today, marketing has five P’s: product, place, position, price, and people—because in this millennium, the social media network is the new platform for “word-of-mouth marketing.”

About the author

Peter J. Auditore is currently the principal researcher at Asterias Research, a boutique consultancy focused on information manage-?ment, traditional and social analytics, and big data ( Auditore was a member of SAP’s Global Communications team for 7 years and most recently head of the SAP Business Influencer Group. He is a veteran of four technology startups: Zona Research (co-founder); ?Hummingbird (VP, marketing, Americas); ? (president); and Exigen Group (VP, corporate communications).

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