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Social media marketing is the intelligence which is powering present day marketing. All social networks are dominated by marketers keen on the promotional power of these networks. Social media sites have opened a new world of chit-chat and sharing, which is now the obsession of everyone in the marketing profession. Social media marketing analytics is the recent buzz among marketers.
Measuring social media can mean different things to different people. Social media is not as simple as traditional marketing programmes such as advertising, direct mail or e-marketing. In social media marketing messages are dispersed from one individual to another. Distribution of social media messages follow a non-linear path. Such a complicated distribution pattern has led to differing opinion among experts about what social media is and what it can do.
Social media analytics can be generally defined as “the process that companies use to measure, analyse and explain the performance of their social media marketing initiatives relative to their business objectives.” Analytics should focus on B2C and B2B marketing and how consumers are discussing brands among themselves. The purpose of social media analytics is to allow marketers make informed decisions regarding their social media marketing initiatives. Analytics should offer a standard measurement which will allow businesses to assess their efforts and derive important data to help their management decisions.
Many businesses are using sophisticated business intelligence systems to manage complex data from their marketing processes. Marketers need to be adaptive while modelling and implementing these systems. Social media data sources present a new challenge for traditional business intelligence systems. While the business intelligence systems are structured; social media data comes in semi-structured form. Currently used systems are having problems analysing semi-structured and unstructured social media data. It is because data does not fit into the traditional data warehouse solution.
There are some issues in implementation of social media marketing analytics. First of all, the way data is stored or the structure of content does not match with traditional models. Much content is put into social media is unstructured and this needs to be analysed. Such content may include PDFs, notes from phone conversations, letters, images, pictures, videos, etc. Analysing such content using a content management or knowledge management systems can pose a challenge. A large proportion of semi structured data is also put into social media. Documents, web pages, wikis and information presented in XML, etc. are examples of such semi structured data. If such unstructured customer data is neglected brands will be unable to realise vital customer insights.
Thus, the future of social media marketing analytics will depend upon business intelligence and social media intelligence. These approaches should be flexible and timely enough to meet the changing business requirements.