Social First!

How to get better connected to the social buzz – and to your stakeholders and customers.

The Covid pandemic has given social media yet another boost. Nearly half the world's population is now using social media. On average, each of the 3.8 billion users spends 2.5 hours a day on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others.

    The focus is not only on exchanges among connections; social media has also become a central source of news. According to the Reuters Digital News Report, the share of news from social increased to 37 percent last year. Social media has come of age as a primary medium, just as with the previous generation of digital natives.

    For communicators and marketers, the digital world is changing the way campaigns and measures are effectively targeted and delivered. ‘Social First’ is becoming the new credo for many.

    • For communicators, the focus is on corporate reputation and targeted positioning on strategic topics - with the goal of increasing the license to operate.
    • For marketers, it's about the customer experience. Social media is optimal as a platform for short-term performance marketing campaigns that pay off in ROI. And for branded digital experiences to the same audiences, which strengthens long-term customer loyalty.

    Maximizing the benefits of investments in communication and marketing

    To use social media more professionally, you need more than the common metrics of own posts and follower growth.

    Consumers measure companies by their product and brand promises and their stance on major social debates. These opinions and experiences are shared with friends, colleagues and the general public. And that affects buying decisions.

    A precise understanding of what’s being discussed on social networks, which stakeholder groups are expressing themselves, and on which topics should be the basis for social media strategy and its successful implementation. It all starts with the right channel mix. On which channels are the relevant target groups engaged? And who beyond them? The next step is the development of messages, topics and content. How do I reach my target groups? Which messages get through? Who is also communicating about it? And who are key influencers? Data-driven insights can provide an outside-in perspective that enables content to be created more precisely and played out effectively.


    Social listening and social analytics are becoming core capabilities that no communications or marketing department can do without. The sheer volume of content published in the digital space is otherwise impossible to keep track of: for example, 50,000 pieces of content from over 460 million sources are processed by social intelligence company Ubermetrics – every minute.

    Example: Starbucks

    If you’re not listening to the digital buzz or you misinterpret and misclassify insights, you can quickly fall into a reputation trap. Like Starbucks. As massive protests against racism erupted in the United States following the violent death of George Floyd, the topic "Black Lives Matter" surpassed even the Corona pandemic, the all-dominant issue of 2020, in media attention.

    According to an analysis by UNICEPTA, Starbucks achieved by far the most attention on social and online media. The coffee chain had banned its store employees from showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement through their clothing. Under the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks, the issue went viral. Starbucks management did correct its decision a few days later, but by then it was too late. 55 percent of the published media content had a negative tonality. The example shows how quickly political and social issues can also hit the corporate and brand world. And how important it is to keep an eye on the social buzz.

    The U.S. food company Mars Inc., whose Uncle Ben's brand was also subject to accusations of racism, reacted better at a later stage. The company smartly re-branded to Ben's Original to quickly change its image and strengthen its reputation.

    AI-powered intelligence in real time

    Social listening and social analytics can help you quickly assess and interpret the meaning and evolution of current debates. AI-powered sentiment analysis can be used to capture the mood on a topic in an automated way and in real time. These capabilities are also essentials for long-term strategic development and positioning of brands, companies and products.

    Similarly, opinions and experiences of customers or service problems can be captured. For upcoming campaigns, product launches or events, social analytics offers an opportunity to participate in realtime user experiences to gain insights for controlling and optimizing communication and marketing activities.

    In addition to a professionally set up analysis along the specific questions, the preparation of data and insights is becoming increasingly important. For example, operational units require different reporting than the C-suite.

    With our OpenMIND platform and Brandspaces, UNICEPTA offers specially configured visual dashboards in addition to traditional reports. All data, KPIs and insights can be presented here in an engaging, informative way across channels and topics. Even without special expertise in analysis, broader communication and marketing teams can apply information and insights in their daily work.

    Use cases for social listening and analytics

    • Performance measurement in owned and earned media: How well do you penetrate with your own content? How high is your degree of effectiveness - across regions or with peers? How strongly do social media activities contribute to the company's goals?
    • Trend identification: What trends matter most in terms of topics, brands and products?
    • Competitor analysis: How are other market players positioning themselves? Which topics do they score with?
    • Stakeholder analysis: Which stakeholder groups are active on which social media channels? What are their conversations and positions? What impact do they have on relevant topics?
    • Customer loyalty: How is customer demand developing? What are the expectations?
    • Brand management: How is your brand perceived? With which topics and voices is it associated?
    • Product development: How can new products and services be developed? What reputation do certain products and services have among consumers?
    • Topic analysis: How are topics discussed and received?
    • Event and sponsoring analysis: Which event and which sponsoring partners are best suited to your marketing objectives?
    • Channel analysis: Which measures in which channels are particularly effective? How are they used by competitors?

    Would you like to learn more about our social listening and social analytics solutions?

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    Further readings

    The catalyst to break siloes

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    Pharma: prove your purpose NOW

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