How to Leverage Social Insights for Agility? Respect It as a Data Source



Social data is essential to cultivating agility at your company. Social insights pros from three UK companies detailed their strategies in London.


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“You’re not just playing on Facebook all day!”

This was an unexpected refrain from the panelists who gathered for “How to Use Real-Time Social Media Insights to Improve Your Marketing Agility,” but it drove home a larger point. When done well, and measured meticulously, social insight doesn’t just make marketing departments agile. It can make entire companies agile. That makes the work these teams do more powerful than most realize.

Moderated by Netbase’s MJ Paradiso, this group of professionals from Huawei, L’Oréal, and Lloyds Banking Group detailed what they do with their data, whose work it has illuminated, and how they prioritize agility in their work. Through their conversation, a few key points surfaced for how to use their talent and insights to drive meaningful and responsive change.

Dive Deeper than Just “Engagements”

L’Oréal’s Rema Gouyez Benallal joked that she was learning while at the conference to not just go on page and post likes, before expressing her awe at the richness of data that came from comments and conversations. “There’s so much space to understand what is shared [there],” and mentioned appreciating the nuance that could come from a closer look. This data, paired with historical data, is helping them see where the brand is growing.

Huawei’s Thomas Curwen echoed her thoughts, also sharing that the deeper insights delivered in real-time had helped them track the success of launches. But in a market where they have ground to makeup, it had also helped them to understand where they outpace their competition. And they’ve weaponized that knowledge in really interesting ways.

Use the Data in Meaningful and Surprising Ways

Consumers often talk about the importance of battery life to their mobile devices. Armed with that data, Thomas and Huawei were able to set up charging stations in places where people would stop to power up their phones. After they did this, they executed a fun reveal: their phones had been charged by the batteries of Huawei devices. This clear display of power (pun intended) made a difference in overall sales and surprised their target audience in a measurable way. Paul sees why this works: in her role, she gets to “look at social data with a wide number of lenses, it [offers] new ways of analyzing data.

L’Oréal’s considerable network of vocal users helps them use data not only meaningfully and surprisingly, but quickly. She learned that when a palette was released that seemed to be confusing brand devotees. Reading the sentiments that arose upon its release, her team was able to quickly mobilize to create educational content to clear up the confusion.

Delight By Showing Your Work

To the point of clearing up the confusion, this seems to be where Marples and Paul have found traction for their work. “A big part is respecting it as a data source,” as Marples learned once he started looking at social data as a way to predict risk. In a traditionally risk-averse industry, that sort of insight matters. He contextualizes the data he finds within the larger frameworks of information to get the best results. “It’s not this new thing to blow tradition out of the water and nothing else matters; they can be used in unison.” Paul agreed: “it’s not just about risk management, but [about] how we can track it before something goes wrong.” Having valuable information to prevent dreaded risk has helped Marples’ coworkers recognize, “you’re not just playing on Facebook all day!”

Finding what data is needed to guide action, and being able to provide it through social insight, has been crucial for buy-in at L’Oréal. As Benallal put it, when you surprise people with new information, something they never could have guessed, that’s when they want to know more.” And when they know more, they can do more. In that regard, the data that comes from social—the data these professionals pull from social—is essential to any company’s agility.

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