Thursday, June 12, 2014

Big Data and Social: The Key to Sentiment Analysis?

In today’s world where social media plays such a central role for so many people, it’s only natural that companies would want to get in on the action. With big data in the cloud and analytics tools such as Hadoop Hive, it’s easier for companies to use social media to their immediate advantage.

There are many different reasons for wanting to use social media to enhance your business, but one especially important reason is to monitor and analyze customer sentiment.
Additionally, when you consider the sheer size of social media users, you get an idea of the enormous potential this has for businesses. Generally our minds gravitate toward Facebook and Twitter and then Instagram and Pinterest. These, however, are just a part of the overall social media picture. There are places like Tumblr and Google+, but there are also sites in different countries that are enormously popular too. Truly, social media is a gold mine for businesses.
There is, perhaps, no other medium where people are more straightforward and honest (especially when they’re frustrated) than social media. For some reason people put things on there that they wouldn’t put anywhere else. While this doesn’t always bode well for the individual, it’s great for companies because individuals are honest about what they like and dislike with products and services. By monitoring these sentiments, companies can quickly and accurately make changes and improvements to their services.
And that’s the most important reason for using big data to monitor customer sentiment via social media — to find out where you are succeeding and where you are failing. Companies never really know if a product is going to be successful or not until it gets out in public. They may think it’s the best idea in the world, but if the public doesn’t think so, then they’re going to fail. Social media monitoring solves a problem that has puzzled executives for years — how to quickly pinpoint failings and fix them without losing substantial dollars. Or, put another way, how to get quick, insightful feedback.
The possibilities are truly endless, especially in a global e-commerce society. Because companies are often trying to cater to individuals across the entire country or sometimes across the globe, there are numerous factors that have to be considered including: price, names, build, materials, etc. It’s hard to get everything right the first time for everyone. Social media gives companies the capabilities to pinpoint problem areas across the country or across the globe. Maybe the price for a product in in one part of the country receives positive responses while that same price brings outrage in another area. Maybe, an app designed in English and then translated into other languages is working fine in one language but has bugs in another. That’s easy to pinpoint when you have people from similar geographic regions making those same complaints through social media.
On the flip side social media is a great tool for finding out what’s really working for your company. An open dialog through social media is important, but using big data to monitor millions and billions of posts, tweets and likes gives extreme clarity to the situation. Too many times companies have implemented new products that are void of the features that customers enjoyed the most in past products. Monitoring social media can help your company avoid that same mistake.
Another important reason to use social media is to size up the competition. Companies are at their best when they are listening intentively to what consumers have to say and then using that input to improve products. It doesn’t mean they do everything the consumers say they should, but they’re at least listening. By monitoring social media, companies can get a great idea of what consumers are saying about competitors. This is crucial information for companies going forward.
There are no drawbacks to using big data and social media to gather and analyze consumer sentiment. It gives your company a clearer picture of what it’s doing right and what it’s doing wrong and it allows you to get an insight into what your competitors are doing. Successful businesses change and evolve and this type of monitoring allows you to do that. Now, more than ever, it’s accessible to the public through big data in the cloud.

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