The Business of being Social

Authored by Shiva Agarwal, Research Director, Ipsos Innovation, India & Ashwini Sirsikar, Country Service Line leader, Ipsos UU (Qualitative Research), India

I had out of personal choice logged out of FB for past 2+ years. Not that I had attained nirvana from social media though -  I had simply started being more present on Instagram.

However, I logged back onto FB this month - not a lockdown effect - on the advice of my toddler’s doctor. Yes, no less, and a friend saying that is a very good advice coming from a doc!

Well, she said it’s going to be essential that you be connected to a neighborhood mother’s group for your son’s sake. It comes in extremely handy.

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That was a personal reason, but with 3.5 billion people in the world logging in to their social media accounts daily, businesses cannot afford to stay away from this necessary evil nor let go of analyzing this mostly free, organic data.

Old arguments that we used to hear up until a couple of years back seem extremely backward looking and blinkered now -  that social media is too short-term, just for the ‘here and now’ reactions, too flimsy and unquantifiable.

While most big originations have gotten on to the social bandwagon in the last decade, it’s still surprising to note that beyond CRM, very few of them are harnessing this data to reveal the real consumer asks/needs and wants.

The fact that this consumer-speak is the most raw, uninhibited and genuine response to categories/brands, makes it so much richer, credible and actionable.

73% of marketers agree that social media is somewhat or very effective in their business strategy and about 54% of customers use social to research products*

Analyzing this data can help global firms transcend the physical boundaries of geography and build an understanding of the ‘global consumer’ without setting TG guardrails.

This is the only form of data which allows for the luxury of ‘going back in time’ à so what is posted 5/6 months or even a couple of years back is still available, and we can look at all of it to draw conclusions, prove/disprove what is working NOW.

Some key ways in which this data needs to be used more is to inform businesses –

  • About their brand’s current footprint & image - What your customers genuinely /without being asked speak about your brand(s) and how they view it, what associations they form and what are the key stand-outs. What is it you can leverage and what are the weak spots that need to be addressed.
  • Category Trends – What is new in the category? Could be new ways that people have begun to use an old category or a category innovation. Are there new emergent needs which are not getting fulfilled?
  • Eco-friendly, biodegradable natural san-naps – Carmesi and so many more emergent new brands which are slowly but steadily shaking the category status -quo and the sleeping giants. The recent Menstrual hygiene day on 28th May generated quite some buzz all over social media with new and upcoming brands making good use to bring forth their support and generating awareness
  • Competition Activity – What is the response to innovations or campaigns by competition? What is the kind of eyeballs it is getting in social media? Is that impacting their overall image and associations?
  • Feedback on marketing mix elements- Reviews and ratings are a huge source of influence for customers. Social media gives an unfiltered view of users experience of brands- from product, pricing, specific features to even service related aspects. There is significant data on categories like mobile phones, beauty products, durables which when mined can help in product development.
  • The Right content strategy – What kind of content works best for my brand(s)? What platforms are giving me more visibility and positive chatter. What are my loyal customers likely to share and endorse more? In the wake of the Covid crisis with the alcohol sector facing a complete shutdown, global brands focused a lot on stay at home messaging, new content – like cocktail recipes, emoji quizzes and even live- streamed tastings – leading to much higher engagement levels with their patrons compared to 2019

While there have emerged enough and more tools to auto- analyze your social data, automated tools can only do so much. A lot of these business questions still need a skilled human eye to sieve through the data, understand what it truly means so that the brand can draw effective and intuitive insights.

At Ipsos we have more than 300 Social Media Intelligence Experts who can help you to structure social media data to arrive at actionable insights.
Social Intelligence Analysis:

Delivering actionable insights from social intelligence and other unstructured data sources. We help brands dive deep into specific business questions using social listening data and have strategies informed by this rich, organic and dynamic source of data. 



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