Competition for social media customers is more intense than ever, with brands across the globe using sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote their products and services. As inventive as marketers have become in the ways they stand out in busy newsfeeds, data analytics have become the great equalizer. With the right tools in place, businesses can monitor their efforts and adjust their campaigns accordingly.
As those tools have become more sophisticated, however, some brands have the advantage of speed. Instead of waiting for aggregate data, businesses now can monitor visitor engagement in real time. Knowing what visitors do as soon as they do it gives businesses the ability to know right away if a new campaign is ineffective, avoiding months of wasted time.
Real-Time Analytics and Social Media
When many businesses think of real-time analytics, they immediately consider their websites. Your business’s social media platforms can be an even more powerful force, driving customers directly to your online and brick-and-mortar stores to make purchases. Real-time social media monitoring can help your business to monitor and adjust its strategy to get better results.
Therefore, businesses should adopt and use a dashboard that brings multiple social media, analytics, marketing and infrastructure data into one reporting tool. This type of dashboard will let you monitor and analyze your website and social media accounts in one area, making it easier to monitor trends and data that apply across all platforms. It’s also wise to monitor conversations in real time across multiple social media sites. When you know what the current buzz is, you’ll be able to create status updates of your own that are more likely to get a response.
Watch Your Competitors
As important as your own activities on social media are, your competitors’ efforts are equally important. If competing businesses are luring your potential customers away, your hard work may not matter at all. However, following each account individually can be time consuming and time is often limited in a busy professional’s schedule. Instead, you can use tools that let you monitor what your competitors are doing on a daily basis and retarget your approach accordingly. In addition to monitoring what they’re doing, you’ll also be alerted when your competitor is mentioned online, either positively or negatively, which could make a big difference if for some reason they find themselves in a public relations crisis.
Real-time alerts give businesses the opportunity to interact with their customers through social media. When customers are engaged, they’re more likely to become loyal buyers. In fact, research has shown that every interaction a brand has with a customer on social media establishes and re-establishes loyalty. Unfortunately, too many businesses are slow to respond to their brand mentions on social media, often letting them linger for hours without a response. When your business replies right away to an online post about your products or services, customers take note. This is especially important if something negative has been posted about your brand, since you can reply and invite the customer to resolve the issue offline. This can quickly defuse a situation that might have escalated otherwise.
The most important part of using any analytics tool is putting the information to work for your business. Real-time analytics gives you an opportunity to take swift action, posting updates that relate to what people are talking about now. You can also use the information to immediately change the direction of your posts in response to the results you see. A post with a quiz may get multiple views but no comments, for instance, letting you know that the app you used to post the quiz may not be working correctly. By taking prompt action, your brand can get ahead of the competition and prevent a problem that might have cost your business money over the course of days, weeks, or months.
Real-time analytics are important for everything a business does, from the efficiency of its manufacturing process to its online marketing activities. With the right tools in place, brands can remain competitive and connect with customers in a way that turns them into long-term loyalists.
About the Author: Dan Steiner is a technology entrepreneur, author, and marketing consultant. He is currently serves as CEO of security firm Online Virus Repair Inc., while also running Avila Web Firm, a web design and internet marketing agency based out of San Luis Obispo, California. Additionally, he is as an active mentor and volunteer at startup events throughout region. Get more from Dan on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.