In the decade since social networking was born, we have seen the power of platforms that unite humanity. Across our professional and personal lives, social platforms have truly changed the world. Social media has been the tool to ignite revolutions and elections, deliver real-time news, connect people and interests, and of course, drive commerce. Social media plays a significant role in today‘s networked society. It has affected the online interaction between users, whom shares a lot of personal details and information online. Dynamic nature of social media data is a significant challenge for continuously and speedily evolving social media sites. Social media is growing rapidly and it offers something for everyone.
Overview of Social Media Analytics
Social Media Analytics is an on-demand offering that integrates, archives, analyzes and reports on the effects of online conversations occurring across professional, consumer-generated and social network media sites. As a result of the intelligence gleaned from this process, organizations can understand the effects online conversations are having on specific aspects of their business operations.
Social media analytics (SMA) refers to the approach of collecting data from social media sites and blogs and evaluating that data to make business decisions. This process goes beyond the usual monitoring or a basic analysis of retweets or “likes” to develop an in-depth idea of the social consumer. This is considered the basic foundation for enabling an enterprises to:
- Execute focused engagements like one-to-one and one-to-many
- Enhance social collaboration over a variety of business functions, such as customer service, marketing, support, etc.
- Maximize the customer experience
With the growth of mobile technologies, the impact of social media is instant. It is useful in understanding customers in 3 important ways.
Customer sentiments are often useful in understanding customer opinion about the brand and its products and services. Social media marketing is more about influence marketing. Social media trends are temporary. These trends are largely influenced by economic, social, or political happenings. Hence, the customers’’ approach towards these trends will also be periodical. In such a scenario, marketers can use these trends to form a strategy to increase awareness about their products or services. However, without the data the analysis of real customer behavior is impossible. This is where social media analytics come into the picture. The process of social media analytics begins by aligning the available data with the business goals. Marketers need to use the data appropriately to make smarter business decisions.
Types of Social Media
As can be seen in Figure 2, there are many types of social media. They include the following:
SNSs: Social networking sites are networks enable and help people to connect and interact with each other through a website and to expand their personal networks (e.g., Facebook, MySpace).
Blogs: These are websites function as online personal journals. They enable writers to post their opinions online and allow readers to comment (e.g., Blogger, WordPress).
Micro-blogs: These are similar to blogs. They offer views of various updates in the world and the happening in people‘s lives (e.g., Twitter).
Virtual worlds: These are online communities in the form of computer-based simulated environments where users can interact with each other (e.g., Second Life, Zwinky).
Really simple syndication (RSS): These are sites which enable frequently feed and used to publish full or summarized text, updated, news headlines, audio, and video. The RSS feed includes metadata such as publishing dates and authorship (e.g., Bahrain Gate Forum, iLounge Forum).
Wikis: Wikis are web pages with informational content that visitors can edit (e.g., Wikipedia).
Multimedia-sharing sites: These sites allow individuals to upload and share various types of multimedia contents, such as photos and videos. There are three types of media contents which can be shared: video-sharing (e.g., YouTube), photo sharing (e.g., Flickr), and audio-sharing (e.g., Podcasts).
Key benefit of Social Media Analytics
Analyze conversation data: Social Media Analytics enhances current market research efforts by continuously monitoring online and social conversation data to identify important topics and content categories and how those topics and categories are relevant to customers in the context of their online community.
Identify advocates of, and threats to, reputation and brand: By analyzing professionally generated media (e.g., news articles) and consumer generated media (e.g., blogs), the solution serves as an early-warning system to identify influencers (good or bad) on your corporate reputation, organization and brand.
Quantify interaction among traditional media and campaigns, and social media activity: By analyzing online and social media sources, marketers can understand how to reach consumers through improved behavioral targeting, media buying and planning.
Establish a platform for social CRM strategy: By merging market data (from blogs and other social media sources) and customer data (surveys or Web forms), market research professionals can validate then act upon a consumer need or sentiment shared across a customer base or market.
 Yogeswari Suppiah, Raja Mohd Tariqi Raja and Mohd Fahmi Mohamad Amran, “A Study on Social Data Analytics and Privacy Concern among Social Media Users”, International Journal of Computer Applications (IJCA) Volume 149 – No.5, September 2016.
 “Social Media Analytics: Driving Better Marketing Decisions: Insights into Customer Behavior”, White paper, Cybage.
 “Social Media Analytics (SMA)”, available online at: https://www.techopedia.com/definition/13853/social-media-analytics-sma
 “Social Media Analytics: Integrate, archive, analyze and act on online conversations”, available online at: https://www.sas.com/content/dam/SAS/pl_pl/doc/factsheet/sas-social-media-analytics.pdf