Through South African ingenuity, social media managers now have a powerful new tool to boost their performance and ensure they never miss a Tweet or Facebook update.
Socialytics by Avanade, a global business technology solutions and managed services provider, delivers real-time sentiment analysis in the cloud.
Social media managers monitor various platforms for any mentions of the company name (or other triggers, such as the names of competitors), engaging with netizens to manage reputation and make sure that when there are complaints or concerns, they are addressed quickly and decisively.
Responding straight away
Rudi Greyling, chief technology officer and innovation lead at Avanade South Africa, says that human eyes are fallible and to date, the technology solutions to help them have been retroactive. "Social media is all about now. It is no good to respond to a tweet sent last week panning your brand, because by then the damage is done."
The nature of social media means companies have much to lose when consumers 'vent' online. "When those customers have influence, the backlash can be severe. A post-mortem is too late."
The solution can be implemented in as little as 30 minutes. "It monitors social media platforms and picks up any mention of user-defined keywords. It applies sentiment analysis in real-time to identify whether the mention is negative or positive and also measures the influence of the person who made the comment."
This allows social media managers to focus their attention quickly on the Tweets and Facebook updates that matter, intercepting potentially damaging messages and taking action to impress an unhappy customer with an instant response, which can lead to a meaningful intervention.
It goes one step further, as the theme of 'never miss a thing' means it can be integrated into most major CRM or customer care systems. "This automatically generates a case for the customer agent and if it isn't actioned, it is escalated to the supervisor."South African ingenuity
The solution is the result of the company's internal, international innovation competition. It is the brainchild of Charl Cilliers, a senior systems analyst in the company's Johannesburg office and won second prize in the contest. As this is a multinational company, the software is being marketed around the world and it does automatic language translations.
Cilliers says he realised the necessity for a better way of managing social media after attending an event at Melrose Arch. "A well-known socialite tweeted displeasure at not being able to get cash from her bank; another bank noticed the tweet and made a plan. The immediacy of the reaction bought the second bank enormous 'cred' and that got me thinking, 'what if organisations could consistently spot tweets or updates that they can action to their advantage'."
With timing of the essence, the solution provides the intelligence to filter through the social media information storm and find valuable nuggets of information.
From a technical perspective, Greyling says it is perfectly positioned within the so-called 'nexus of forces' to which research group Gartner has drawn attention. "Mobility, analytics, cloud and social: it spans these concepts. It is a hosted solution, it can be set up and demonstrated in minutes and it works right in front of your eyes."
The solution is available to enterprise customers, which he says can achieve a distinct competitive advantage from their social media activities.