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#SocialMedia Content Overload - The Challenge for Companies Monitoring Social Media

In this information-heavy age, there are new applications, new initiatives, and new platforms that spring up every day. You don't monitor your brand for a day and you're behind; you miss monitoring an hour and you just missed a large number of blog posts and tweets that referenced your brand. Companies aren't just overwhelmed with new content, but also with new applications and choices to manage that content. Finding ways to handle this deluge and how to deal with influx of data arriving at the company's doorstep via social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and others is a tough challenge.

The issue stems from having to locate and sift through too much relevant information - and for larger, publicly visible brands, the challenge or filtering out relevant data from the noise is very large.

How Much Of Social Media Data Is Really Actionable?

To understand this better, the Brand Monitor™ team at Position² analyzed a large sample of social media data from the top 5 internet retailers viz. Amazon, Best Buy, Dell, eBay, and Walmart. The data was gathered from various social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs, and news websites. Position² discovered that:

  • Approximately 980,000 conversations per month need to be monitored by these companies. (That's nearly 12 million conversations a year!)
  • Out of the 980,000 conversations every month, approximately 9% i.e. 88,000 conversations are actionable and need to be responded to every month.

Percentage of Actionable Posts Per Month

From the thousands of tweets, Facebook discussions, blogs, and forum discussions, the Position² team classified the conversations into actionable and non-actionable posts; the actionable posts were important conversations that affected the brand and had to be responded to on an urgent basis. The non-actionable conversations were the neutral conversations around the brand that did not need attention.

Furthermore, the team categorized all posts according to organizational functions in that need to respond to them. Hence,

  • All complaints regarding shipping, product defects, damages, repair etc. were bucketed under customer service;
  • All suggestions or complaints regarding promotions, logos, web-site, store changes, pricing, deals etc. were categorized under Sales and Marketing and finally,
  • All feedback and suggestions regarding a new product range or new features to be introduced etc. were bucketed under Product Development and Innovation.

Here's What We Found:

  • 90% of Dell's actionable posts were Customer Care issues and the remaining 10% were feedback for the Sales and marketing team to act upon.
  • Similarly, 50% of actionable conversations around Walmart were customer service complaints, 38% were feedback for Sales and Marketing, and a small percentage (12%) of the posts were suggestions for Product Development.
  • Companies like Amazon, eBay, and Dell have to analyze and respond to more than 110,000 actionable posts on average, each month.

Customer Care, Sales & Marketing and Product Development - Actionable Posts

How Can Companies Respond?

This research proves that managing the flow of user-generated content (UGC)-as well as finding practical ways to participate as a brand marketer in those customer conversations-is challenging because the sheer volume of data can be overwhelming. Sifting through the noise manually to find actionable posts can be very time-consuming. Some elements of automatic selection of posts by Brand Monitor™ helps tremendously, but the categorization of actionable posts and assigning them to relevant teams can still be a time-consuming process.

The good news is that Social Media Command Centers have emerged as effective ways to manage this challenge efficiently. They provide social media marketing, customer service, research, and analytics services to enterprises by allowing them to listen, discover, and engage with customers and other stakeholders via multi-channel conversations.

In an upcoming article, the Position² team will dig deeper into why every enterprise needs a Social Media Command Center. Stay Tuned!

December 06, 2010
By Team Position²