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  • Writer's pictureEyram Adjaku

Wise Men Listen

The Arab Spring provides a telling illustration of the power of social media. A study based on analysing more than 3 million tweets, gigabytes of YouTube content and thousands of blog posts concluded that social media played a central role in shaping political debate during the Arab Spring. In the week preceding Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, tweets about political change in Egypt increased one hundred fold from 2 300 to 230 000 daily. 

First impressions count

For many customers, a company's social media page shapes their first impression of the company. It is critical for companies to take control of their brand on these platforms because customer complaints can go viral in a heartbeat. This can be very damaging and particularly if social media analytics are not in place to detect and to respond to complaints in real-time.

Hasan Syed, a disgruntled British Airways passenger, not only ranted on Twitter about his lost luggage, but spent £1000 to buy Twitter promoted tweets to make sure the entire world heard his complaint.

Ford South Africa’s recent debacle over the Ford Kuga SUV, which apparently burst into flames without warning, is another example. South Africa’s National Consumer Commission is on record for saying that it first learned about customer complaints about the Ford Kuga through social media. The Commission is now considering taking legal action against Ford. 

Building strong relationships

One of the most important roles that social media can play is to help companies build strong relationships with their customers. In order to do so, they need to respond to customer queries or complaints promptly and they must also be intimately aware of what customers like about their offering. Satisfied customers can be incredibly loyal. Walmart for example, has over 34 million Facebook fans, 

Fortunately, monitoring social media need not be onerous. Algorithms can monitor social media channels such as blogs, forums, and image sharing sites, alerting companies to both positive and negative customer feedback, This in turn enables them to respond appropriately. But it goes further than that. Social media analytics can be more than a set of reactive responses to key word counts. It can also be the starting point of a company’s strategy as for the first time, a company receives realtime, unfiltered insight into how its offering is actually perceived in the market. Companies such as Nike, Apple, Starbucks and Xbox use social media analytics, often referred to as social media listening, to inform business decisions in marketing, customer service, reputation management and sales. 

Be a good listener

John Jantsch, in his book “Duct Tape Selling” teaches sales professionals how to apply the tactics of traditional marketing to their daily work. “Listening,” he says, “is the new prospecting.” With global social network penetration increasing daily, he could have said: “Social media listening is the new prospecting.”

Upcoming conferences Ixio Analytics Data Scientist, Glenn Moncrieff, will be presenting at satRday in Cape Town, South Africa  on 18 February 2017 See

Ixio Analytics Chief Scientist, Megan Yates, will be speaking at the 4th International Conference on Big Data Analysis and Data Mining. September 07-08, 2017 in Paris, France  See

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