The story of your business is being written and rewritten every day. You may have little to no control of how the plot is being spun, what sea-changes occur Chapter to Chapter or you may be commanding the narrative by the decisions you take with your carefully crafted business strategy and steering a confident course.

Tracking the Social Story

How you track the unfolding story and course correct, if needed, can be critical to your business. There are any number of streams of data that you can draw on to tell the story but let us focus on the social data surrounding your business as an area of attention where the pace can be frightening, the plot most intricate and the ‘Happy ever after’ to be secured.

When launching a product to market, notably in the FMCG arena, (and after you’ve done the listening piece that formed the backbone of your R&D, obviously) are you measuring consumer reaction? How is the product being received and which pockets of the online World are creating the ripples of mentions?

Let us take a real World product launch and the story told from the data behind its first 6 weeks in the market. A year or so ago, Kraft acquired Cadbury and it was inevitable that two staple products would collide into an almighty single product of Philadelphia Chocolate spread.

There were, on average, 23 mentions a day in the UK and Ireland. 54 per cent of these came from females and 64 per cent of the chatter around this most intriguing product took place on Twitter.

The top platforms for conversation around the product were Twitter, Forums and Mainstream Media. We can identify the Top authors on Twitter by volume and we can look further into the metadata of Twitter to identify that there were 35 ‘influential’ Twitter users that got so excited about the product that they told their many followers about it and on more than one occasion. Spotting an opportunity yet?

The conversation on Forums was driven predominantly by Males (despite overall conversation being driven by Females) and they placed their content about the chocolate cheese spread in Social, College Life and Health type categories on Message boards. They were poised finely in terms of whether they ‘Like’ the product or ‘Hate’ it, ‘Like’ winning out by +1.8%.

Using that Tracked Story Data

Write your own next chapter by working with the data your customers are generating:

  • Target your offers with the Forums where your advocates are doing great things for you
  • Look at the comments relating to “fat”, “health” “exercise” and tailor messaging in target publications where dietary content needs to be considered
  • Run Campus or Instore tasting sessions to marry up online and offline
  • Establish a User Forum where recipes are created and uploaded with photo content
  • Host product development session with influencers to design new offshoot products

If social media could tell you a story, would you listen?

Editor's Note: Social media monitoring is an interesting topic from many perspectives, including this one from Norman Marks: Monitoring Social Media for Risk, Control Issues, Opportunities.