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Taking Social Media From Talk To Action

by Jim Davis, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, http://www.sas.comThursday, December 09, 2010

Did you know that:

  • A recent study by The Nielsen Company shows that Americans are spending more than a third (36 percent) of their online time “communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal email and instant messaging.” This is a 43 percent increase over 2009.1
  • Morgan Stanley predicts that there will be more than 100 million iPhone subscribers by the end of 2011?2
  • Facebook’s CEO reports that the site will have more than 1 billion users in 2011?3

Just a few years ago, we were all talking about the information revolution — today, we are witnessing a social media revolution. For business, it’s a double-edged sword. On one hand, one influencer can drive thousands of potential customers (or more) to a website or store. On the other hand, that same influencer can spread his or her dissatisfaction and erode both your brand equity and profitability.

Fortunately, as social media has evolved, so too has the technology to understand these complex relationships. We’ve been working with customers around the world to sift through social media to do everything from improving product quality to assessing customer sentiment to uncovering fraud.

With analytics, you can:

  • Integrate social media with traditional data sources. Successful organizations will not view social media as an island of information, but rather as another primary data source that is constantly monitored, captured, managed, and analyzed alongside other traditional data sources.
  • Do more than just listen to conversations. By applying data mining and text analytics, you can understand more than the simple frequency of words or phrases, or whether your company is viewed negatively or positively.
  • Learn from conversations over time. Businesses seeking long-term value and continual learning will benefit by capturing new conversation data, comparing it against an historical archive of customer feedback, and performing ongoing analysis.
  • Take a multilingual approach. Your ability to analyze comments, whether in Spanish, French, Chinese, Arabic, or other languages, will be critical for a complete understand­ing of customer sentiment.
  • Provide easy access to measurements and results. Decision makers need easy-to-understand reports that demonstrate performance across a variety of areas — brand and market tracking, reputation threat tracking, online media analysis, and customer feedback.

Social media is still in its infancy, and there are exciting times ahead. I look forward to continuing the conversation.

About the author

As Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Jim Davis provides worldwide marketing direction for SAS solutions and services. Davis co-authored the book Information Revolution: Using the Information Evolution Model to Grow Your Business. Since joining SAS in 1994, he has pioneered many key initiatives, including global projects that incorporate customer feedback in the development process. In Davis' blog, In Other Words, he writes about the larger issues that affect a global business, and what it takes to be competitive in the 21st century.

1 NielsenWire. “What Americans Do Online: Social Media And Games Dominate Activity.” Aug. 2, 2010.
2 AppleInside. “Apple expected to have 100M iPhone subscribers by end of 2011.” June 17, 2010.
3 Sweney, Mark. “Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook ‘almost guaranteed’ to reach 1 billion users.” Guardian, June 23, 2010.

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