Social media has power to such an extent that it can cause revolutions or uprisings in countries, eventually leading to changes in government. Less dramatically, in the business world, social media has become the go-to tool for finding the real sentiment of consumers and end users.
Despite this, companies big and small often consider social media promotion as a separate entity and fail to integrate social media campaigns into their main marketing strategy. Smart companies have realised the important role played by social media and have sensibly added it to their marketing strategy.
Marketing Mix Models
Marketing mix models have become the gold standard for companies looking to promote their products and services. They typically use regression modelling and historical performance data to determine the optimal use of different marketing channels, popularly called a marketing mix. Using a marketing mix model provides the template for mixing all marketing channels in proper proportion in order to effectively realise marketing objectives.
Including Social Media in the Marketing Mix with Sentiment Analysis
In order to integrate social media into an existing marketing mix, businesses should seriously consider sentiment analysis - collecting feedback from Facebook and Twitter users who are using the company’s products or services. This data can be used to predict how consumers will act and among other things can help lead your marketing in new directions. In order to perform sentiment analysis, a number of social media monitoring tools are available for marketers looking to get a handle on end user sentiment.
Using Monitoring Tools for Sentiment Analysis
Hootsuite and Topsy are a couple of monitoring tools that not only track the number of ‘mentions’ and ‘likes’ but also gauge how social media users feel about a particular product or service offering.
These tools assign emotional values to the words mentioned in social media posts. If the end users use the word ‘good’ in their Facebook or LinkedIn posts, this indicates a positive sentiment. Similarly the word ‘awesome’ would be a strong positive sentiment. This sentiment value acts as one input variable in classic marketing mix modelling. In addition to sentiment, other parameters act as inputs to the model mix to offer us the best view on the situation and how to proceed.
Including Sentiment in the Marketing Mix
By including the sentiment variable in the marketing mix, businesses are better able to evaluate the impact of social media conversations on sales and the overall company performance. Through the help of a social media consultant, companies can measure the relationship between the sentiment value and the actual outcome in terms of sales and revenues.
Case Study: Addressing Product Issues Quickly by Kraft Foods
By using these social media listening tools, companies can not only correlate the overall sales numbers with the sentiment index, but also quickly get a feel for underlying product issues.
One example of integrating a social media sentiment index with business marketing strategy is the strategy adopted by Kraft Foods. Their marketing departments started to encounter words such as ‘blood’ and ‘cut’ in social media posts in relation to their salad dressing bottle. When they started analysing the reasons, they found users could hurt themselves with their current bottle design. The core team quickly started re-designing the bottle, and avoided further damage to their brand name.
Case Study: Real Time Benefits for Proctor & Gamble
Social media isn’t just about Twitter and Facebook. Proctor & Gamble used to spend hefty amounts of advertising revenue on television commercials. In 2013, they wanted to try something new, and launched a social initiative in the form of a social website called BeingGirl.com. The social marketing efforts carried out through this portal were sponsored mainly through Tampax and Always brand sales. Proctor & Gamble saw a significant increase in their Tampax and Always sales within six months of launching the project. When Proctor & Gamble did a Return on Investment analysis, the company found that by investing the same amount they would for a TV ad, their sales numbers were six to seven times higher.
These benefits clearly indicate the importance of including social media into the marketing mix model. Through social media marketing it is easier for companies to reach existing marketing objectives and even attempt to significantly raise the bar.