With companies embracing digital to improve and differentiate their business, the power of social media in brand building and reputation management is increasingly being accepted, giving credence to emergence of a new job role: the social media managers. And now, thanks to South African ingenuity, social media managers have a powerful new tool to boost their performance and ensure they never miss a Tweet or Facebook update. That tool is Socialytics by Avanade and it delivers real-time sentiment analysis in the cloud. Avanade is a global business technology solutions and managed services provider.
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. But the problem, says Rudi Greyling, Chief Technology Officer and Innovation Lead at Avanade South Africa, is 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,” he points out.
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,” Greyling adds.
Socialytics by Avanade can be implemented in as little as 30 minutes. “The solution 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 very quickly focus their attention 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.
But Socialytics by Avanade goes a step further. Greyling says the theme of ‘never miss a thing’ means Socialytics 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 auctioned, it is put escalated to the supervisor,” says Greyling.
The origin of the Socialytics solution is in itself interesting as it is the result of Avanade’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 Avanade is a multinational company the software is being marketed around the world – and it even 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, Socialytics provides the intelligence to filter through the social media information storm and find valuable nuggets of information, he adds.
From a technical perspective, Greyling says Socialytics is perfectly positioned within the so-called ‘Nexus of Forces’ to which research group Gartner has drawn attention. “Mobility, analytics, cloud and social: Socialytics 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,” he says.
The solution is available to enterprise customers, which Greyling says can achieve a distinct competitive advantage from their social media activities. “If you want to do social media well, there is absolutely no better way to do it than Socialytics by Avanade,” he concludes.
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