MBPT Spotlight: Report Urges Brands To Transform Social Media From Insight To Action

Some brands are starting to question the value of social media tools because they can’t transform social media insight into an actionable strategy that drives consumer engagement, according to a recent report by market research company Gleanster.

The report found that 84% of marketers believe their organization is effective at social engagement, but only 45% say their social media monitoring data was properly utilized. And 87% of brands indicate social media plays some role in customer engagement—although they struggle to optimize it.

Part of the problem is that 72% of executives at mid- to large-size brands say their social media is “primarily owned” by marketing or corporate communications within their companies, when it should be openly available for anyone in the company who can influence the customer experience via social insights and engagement.

And 9 out of 10 marketers in the report say the most challenging aspect of social media is integration.

The report, titled the “Gleanster Social Engagement Survey,” lists four “significant issues” that impede progress and optimization of social media for mid- to large-size brand organizations.

• Social media efforts are supported by separate technologies and the tools that monitor and engage are disconnected.

• Social media is difficult to control. Companies can establish brand-specific guidelines for employees to engage on social media at work, but those employees also have their own personal social media accounts and they can share personal thoughts about a brand.

• Social media must be monitored. One single customer can do damage to a brand if they are not engaged with it properly.

• Social media is not confined to a single business function within a company but is often controlled by the marketing department, and that can lead to disconnect in the availability of relevant insights across different departments.

So, how does a brand organization put together the framework for successful social management integration?

Collaboration and stakeholder management. The report says, “In order to embrace social media engagement across the customer lifecycle, enterprises must provide any relevant stakeholder with access to tools to execute customer engagement via social and monitor social media. The challenge is different departments have dramatically different needs with respect to social media.” So a platform for sharing ideas, operationalizing brand compliant campaigns and measuring sharing successes and failures needs to be created.

Governance & Compliance. “Having a policy is one thing; enforcing and policing that policy is an entirely different challenge,” the report says. “This demands a unified approach to standardization, where brand-consistent templates, customizable workflows, audit trails, role-based access to content and analytics, regulatory support and security can be customized and managed.”

Content Management. The report says, “Not all content is created equal, so the ability to isolate effective content and learn from that success is at the heart of creating great customer experiences.” All content must enforce the brand no matter what department or individual is representing the brand. “This presents a very strong case for making processes repeatable and templatized when executing campaigns.”

Social Engagement & Social Monitoring. “There’s no world where separating engagement and listening makes sense,” the report says. “Together these two capabilities represent the most critical questions about the brand. What does our social engagement look like: How effective are we on social media? Only integration between social media management and back-office operational tools can answer the question few organizations can resolve: How effective is social for our different departments?”

Analytics & Measurement. The best reporting capabilities will always be constrained by the quality of available data, i.e., garbage in, garbage out. “In order for reporting and ongoing monitoring to translate to actionable results, it needs to reach the individuals who have the context to act appropriately. Integration should include some level of business rules to help route alerts and notifications straight to the right stakeholders—and give them the tools to resolve the issue right inside social media properties if appropriate.”

Open Integration. The report says the biggest problem facing organizations is that social data lacks context. “Social media is about more than customer engagement. In the right hands it can also provide valuable insights on customer needs and desires. While integration can’t solve all problems, such as hiring and retaining analytical talent, the data inside of CRM and other operations systems could unlock a whole new level of insight about existing customers.”

The good news, the report says, is that the average consumer is willing to give companies two or three chances to make up for bad experiences. But the question that logically leads to is, how far has a company already pushed things with its current customers?

“Social media is not just a marketing channel, it’s a communication platform that can be used by customers at all stages of a customer lifecycle,” the report says. “So [companies] have to think beyond just marketing.”