Companies are recognizing the value of social media as a marketing and brand management tool, as well as customer service and support channel. Social media is also becoming a core consumer and business-user forum. Consequently, social media analytics emerged as a popular tool to measure social-site traffic, but more importantly, to obtain meaningful, actionable and timely insights.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan's Analyzing Customers' Social Voices research finds the most important trend in social media analytics is cross-channel integration. Organizations are beginning to integrate social media analytics with speech, text and Web analytics to cover all customer touch points.
Social media analytics is also used by businesses to shape other corporate functions that impact marketing and customer services, such as network security. For instance, banking and insurance firms are listening for signs of fraud and hacking, such as when individuals brag on social media about duping a particular company or cracking their network security.
However, certain issues may prevent companies from employing social media analytics solutions. The most critical matters are whether and to what degree social media sentiment accurately reflects the broader customer base. Moreover, customers' stated sentiments can be swayed by the desire for explicit rewards and by competitors who want to negatively impact other brands.
In addition, social media budgets remain small as enterprises do not fully understand the value of social analytics. Some social analytics tools are too expensive, which deters uptake. Frost & Sullivan expects this to change as more firms realize the importance of using social media in marketing initiatives.
Another challenge is the small size and lack of training of the social media teams in companies. While social media managers are skilled in the art of social communication, few of them have the analysis skills to understand the vast amounts of social data generated or to connect that data to other channels.