Social Media Statistics and Your Midsize Business

By | Nov 15, 2012

Collecting social media statistics is an important aspect of today's business environment. Recent research by the Pew Research Center shows that approximately 60 percent of Americans use a social networking site. Other research from Pew shows that 45 percent of adults own smartphones and almost one-third of those use those phones to access social networking sites. Customers are increasingly moving online, using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn to share their feelings about the businesses they interact with. Yet research from IBM shows that many midsize businesses do not have access to the insight they can gain from rich social data.

What Customers Are Doing

One reason is that the volume of social media interactions is potentially overwhelming. In addition to the study from the Pew Research Center, an infographic published by Mashable shows that every minute Twitter users send 100,000 tweets and Facebook users share 684,478 pieces of content. Your customers may:

  • Like your business page on Facebook.
  • Check in at a particular location.
  • Review your company, products, or services.
  • Share content that you make available.
  • Respond to other people's social media updates about your company, products, or services.
  • Promote your company, products, or services.

Business Benefits

The challenge for midsize businesses and their IT administrators is to collect, store, integrate, and analyze this rich but unstructured data and turn it into actionable business intelligence to improve customer service and revenue. There are clear business benefits to collecting social media statistics. These include:

  • Communicating with your customers in the places where they hang out online
  • Discovering what people are saying about your business and responding to it
  • Building on positive customer reviews
  • Addressing negative customer sentiment
  • Managing your reputation
  • Finding customers and prospects whose problems you can solve
  • Responding in real time to customer needs
  • Building trust and engagement with your client base
  • Gaining a competitive advantage over less socially aware businesses

Collecting and Analyzing Social Media Data

While the sites themselves make some broad analytics available (Facebook Page Insights is one example), the information that midsize businesses need goes beyond the number of tweets, likes, and shares. Decision-makers need the ability to translate the wealth of data on demographics, locations, preferences, and feelings into insight that can help them make decisions.

Since the amount of data quickly reaches petabytes, it is important for IT administrators to have servers that can handle this amount of data and, at the same time, get this data to the people who need it. For it to make sense, it is important to have business analytics tools that help with reputation management, sentiment analysis and general business intelligence. This will enable midsize business leaders to harness social media statistics for budgeting and financial planning, forecasting, and strategic decision-making.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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