Listening: Moving beyond Customer Anvil Mentions

Businesses can take engagement to new heights by discovering how customer interests align with their organization. It could be as simple as horse shoes.

By: Doug Anderson (@dwa917)

Social media has been a hit at Acme Co.

After the boss said “Do it,” you charged ahead with gusto. Not only are you participating in conversations with customers and other stakeholders, you’re also also tracking what people are saying about Acme Co. across the Web. You have gobs of data. If you were the sort to print it all—which you aren’t—you’d have reams of spreadsheets full of graphs and charts to show off.

So when the boss calls you into her office and says “Show me what you got,” you display trend-line data that shows how mentions of Acme Co. have gone by six percent in the last quarter. You bring up the fact that Acme Co. has a two-to-one ratio edge in “mention share” versus its competitor XYZ Corp. You explain the Net Sentiment score is favorable as evidenced by user comments like “Best #anvil ever—bar-none! @acmeco” and “Coyote isn’t stupid. @acmeco anvils just rock.”

“This is all great,” your boss says. “What else do these people care about?” You start to give some sort of empty response until your realize you really don’t know.

Companies all over the world have joined the Ground Swell only to find they’re still not sure what to do with the mountains of data they collect. There has to be a better way to listen to what customers are really saying.

Enter the Interest Graph.

Counting mentions and tracking users who regularly speak about a company is a great start to monitoring the social media universe, but to truly understand what makes customers tick, you have to see what they talk about when they aren’t just talking about your brand. These are the common interests and events that link people to each other and to our organizations, says Brian Solis, author of Engage.

Solis said by tracking and categorizing the words and phrases that often appear in the conversations of those who regularly talk about our companies, we begin to gain insight—or gather collective intelligence—that can trickle down to other parts of the business.

“The words associated with the brands demonstrate the emotional and personal connections … ,” Solis said. “Campaigns are a direct beneficiary of such data. As we submerge ourselves one level deeper into the study, we find that this information becomes paramount when we link it to individuals through demographics and psychographics.”

Back to Acme Co: Armed with the Interest Graph approach, you find a significant number of customers are horse racing enthusiasts. (The connection makes sense in hindsight. You need anvils after all to shape horse shoes, right?) As a result, Acme Co. finds sponsorship opportunities for and mobilizes social media around the Kentucky Derby. Product developers also find ways to further innovate the anvil for improved horse-shoe-smithing performance. Giddy up.

2 thoughts on “Listening: Moving beyond Customer Anvil Mentions

  1. This was a very well written blog post, nice job! It is completely true that in order to truly reach the customer, companies need to discover what makes them tick. Once you understand everything about the customer, finding ways to connect with them become much easier.

  2. I agree with your post– in social media, is not all about the mention share or net sentiment scores but rather connecting with your audience based on their interests, location, profession, values, and so forth. This allows for a more tailored and intimate experience with the product, company, etc. The interest graph is a very useful tool and it aids in illustrating the ways in which companies can use the vast amounts data to deepen their connection with their users. I liked the distinction between the social and interest graphs and it makes sense how the internet is providing a forum for interest groups to flourish easier than in the past.
    Thanks for a great post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Additional comments powered by BackType