The Emotion found in Social Data



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Let’s be clear.  Most people who write on social media outlets don’t do so just for the sake of doing it.  Some might, but the vast majority of people who share content, post comments, or offer sentiments and opinions online do so because they are in what Andrew Jeavons of Survey Analytics calls “the point of emotion.”  In other words, they are emotionally invested in the product, service or experience about which they are opining.

As Jeavons points out, most feedback is conducted via traditional methods that suffer from huge structural deficits.

  1. Surveys – break-down for four reasons:  they are episodic, have limited sample-sizes, the answers are effected by the way the questions are posed, and because they rely on the concept of “recall.”  And recall is imperfect because it asks a person to offer information on a past event outside of the context and situation in which he or she experienced it.
  2. Focus Groups – are skewed in three ways:  small sample sizes, self-selection population, and the dreaded “decibel rule’ – the loudest person in the room wins.  They are not real-time or data driven and they don’t parse their findings with the objective use of technology.

It appears to us that companies that make million-dollar decisions on this kind of “static” data are doing themselves a disservice.  We believe they should be using more authentic and real-time data in order to make data-driven decisions.

That is exactly why Social Media is so special, so different.  Because with Social Media, people become “micro-authors” when and where it matters.  Instead of a laborious production process, Social Media reduces the distance between the production and consumption of opinions; in fact, it even obliterates it.

In some contexts emotions are considered bad.  But if you truly want to know what consumers really think and want to be able to predict how they might behave, find them at the point of emotion.  Very likely that means you’ll find them on Social Media.

The opportunity is yours for the taking!  What you really need is real-time data, gathered and interpreted by smart technology and then put into practice by a team who now understands your customers’ REAL attitudes and interests.

Paul Dunay is the Chief Marketing Officer of Networked Insights, a leader in social media analytics, and author of four “Dummies” books: Facebook Marketing for Dummies, Social Media and the Contact Center for Dummies, Facebook Advertising for Dummies and Facebook Marketing for Dummies 2nd Edition. You can learn more here.

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