Social media has a powerful impact on business planning

Head of insights, Asia, presents at AmCham in Beijing.

Head of Insights, Asia, Eden Lau, represented iSentia at the AmCham Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations Forum in Beijing earlier this year. AmCham is the American Chamber of Commerce in China and hosts various business events at regular intervals.  April’s forum covered the topical issue of Better ``Intelligence’’ in China Marketing – What you need to know in 2014.

Eden joined an expert panel of AmCham members to discuss topics such the power of social media. An example Eden used to highlight the power of social reach was the “selfie” of Ellen DeGeneres with a host of stars, taken at the Oscars. The famed selfie attracted over 32.8M views.

The Chinese social media landscape is growing fast and one example, according to Eden, is the Korean TV drama You which came from the Star. It was so popular that it accounted for one third of the social media mentions when the show aired earlier this year.

Eden said social discussion on privacy came at the right time. On March 15th there was a watershed with the US having three times more social discussion than in China (after normalisation) in the first two weeks of March. In the second half of March, China reversed this, with 1.7 times the discussion of the US (after normalisation). “This was caused by a national TV report about Tojan mobile software. This discussion developed further with a story about how credit card information was compromised by one e-travel card site,’’ said Eden.

He also said AmCham members were impressed by the “power of social listening’’. Eden explains social listening as developing intelligence on what people are saying about a business, product or industry. He calls avid net users ``netizens’’ and says businesses need to be involved in ``netcasting’’. ``Netcasting is learning what else people are talking about on the internet’’

Eden says that there is a huge impact of offline and online information on consumer decisions.  He says people in China are more likely to rely on online information than some Asian regions, and therefore the value of a Chinese consumer’s online voice should not be ignored especially when it came to marketing and business planning.

Some tips on social listening include:

1. Know who you want to listen to – focus on a specific target audience based on who they are, which products they use and their behaviour.

2. Understand your social listening goals – measure the impact of your marketing campaigns and know how you expect to use it.

3.  Be ready to respond and engage – Have a social media team ready to engage and react as required.

4. Invest in the right technology – Make sure you put the right social listening tools in place to listen to your audience.

5. Decide how to use the data – plan how you will use the data. Listening is only a small part of the equation.

Social listening is about harnessing what people are saying in social media platforms about your brand or industry, and these insights could add significant value to your business planning.

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