For over five years now, I have been actively working on, reading about, and following the growth of social media in general, and social media listening in particular. For some, social media listening, or rather social listening, includes everything a customer writes on social media. For others, it’s all about deep insights and analytics. This has become an ongoing problem, where clients who are not able to clearly articulate their requirements end up with a setup that doesn’t deliver.
Basically, there’s no standard template or offering that can be compared off the shelf – neither with respect to tools nor with respect to service providers. So there’s overlap. And there are companies claiming to do things they are not designed for, but “can do.” Imagine ORM tools claiming to manage social listening, social media listening tools helping with a bit of page analytics, and so forth.
Let’s break down the entire social media stack into five main buckets, based on the associated activities – publishing, monitoring, responding, analyzing, and listening.
To begin with, let’s go through the general brand requirements:
As brand custodians, most of us want a single point of contact, which often translates into one single tool that can do it all. Of course, there are some tools in the market which, by virtue of mergers and acquisitions, have built up capabilities that can deliver on almost all of the above.
Similarly, on the services side, brand managers expect their digital agencies to improve customer service or manage command centers and handle social media listening. Some companies even expect their analytics partners to respond or handle customer service.
While both the scenarios might look like they will make life easier for brands (at least operationally), this approach actually impacts delivery and undermines the very reason for investing in command centers and listening.
Brands that are in it for the long run need to take a step back and understand the importance of social in particular and digital at large. When they have a long-term vision in place, they shouldn’t mind dealing with the initial challenges of breaking things up into stacks and then stitching together a highly customized solution of different tools and vendors, which is neither off the shelf, nor replicates any industry leader, but rather fits the brand requirement.
Another challenge in adopting social media analytics and listening is change management. Brands cannot expect their core teams to wake up one day and start taking data-driven decisions, based on the analysis and insights provided from social chatter. It has to be a gradual move where the social data is first leveraged for the advertising and marketing teams, then for improving customer service and eventually working with products or R&D teams.
At Capgemini Invent, we can benchmark different options available in the market, assist you in choosing the right set of tools through detailed business analysis and help you implement the solution, along with end-to-end program management. Every tool in the market will have its own set of pros and cons. But with our bespoke social media stack, you can be rest assured that these challenges are taken care of, by using a set of tools that complement each other, and come together to provide a highly relevant solution.
Farhan Shaikh is social media listening and digital customer experience consultant based out of Mumbai (India). You can contact him at email@example.com or +91 9619-22-5954.