Just five years ago, social media was used for recreation – most brands ignored it, and many companies banned it as part of various “online use” policies and procedures. The activities were generally regarded as disruptive to productivity and better left outside of work.
However, times are changing. It’s now clear that social media is useful for following trends, finding the latest happenings around the world and monitoring public opinion. If it’s not part of your branding strategy, you could be lacking.
Social Media in the News
The issue of social media and trend tracking has been made public by the recent elections in India. As shared last evening by the Washington Post, a lot is on the line in India, even more amazing, a lot of it can be tracked using social networks.
This year, 815 million individuals are eligible to vote in the country, 100 million of that demographic are planning to vote for the first time, ever. Because this market is generally comprised of young voters, they’re likely to be using social networks like Facebook and Twitter – they’re connecting with each other, and the world, online. The trend is so prominent that CNN has taken to calling the election a “social media election.”
With this in mind, an Indian social media analytics company – Simplify360 – put together a report that condensed the last 100 days of social media election statuses in India that shared critical findings with the world. These findings shared information relating to election issues, most popular politicians and likely outcomes – all determined by online information.
Social Media and Your Company
The final election results have yet to be determined in India, but this information is critical for anyone looking to make a splash online. The point here is that anyone looking to discover how their brand is performing, what their customers are interested in or what could be popular in the future, needs to look no further than those very networks that many companies and corporations considered to be detrimental just five years ago. While the above story relates to elections, it also has an impact on every day brands, from those looking to spread information on property preservation to corporate giants hoping to launch a new product line.
Users are connecting and communicating online, and most of it is done in a public manner. By following online trends and monitoring public opinion, brands can do many things, including:
- Create a content strategy that focuses on creating content that will be of interest to a target demographic
- Follow public opinion of a specific product or company in general and adjust a marketing strategy accordingly
- Monitor the competition
- Find potential problem spots before they become major issues and address them right away
If you’re wondering how your brand is performing or what the likely outcome of a campaign will be, pollsters and other services may not longer be required. It just takes a little time and some perseverance.
For best results, consider making online trend following a part of your daily activities, or the activities of someone in your social media department. Ask for or track information that can be stored in a report format to track what changes and what is likely to be a concern in the future.
Just like any other piece of marketing data, social media data has become a staple of successful campaigns; if it’s not a large part of your own strategy, you could be missing out.
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