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If you visit any middle school playground or lemonade stand in the Spring, you will most likely find a few things: kids being kids, a lot of smiles, and maybe even the lingering smell of sunscreen. For both the kids on the swings and those by the side of the road selling a cool drink, knowing what the other kids are saying is important.

Are kids making fun of your new haircut? If you played Johnny Smith in a game of tetherball, who do kids say will win? Is your lemonade sweeter than little Timmy Johnson’s?

The Playground: Learn from Your Customers

Social Media has become an integral part of business as we know it—both for B2Bs and B2Cs—because it functions like a playground. According to the data, approximately 175 million people log into Facebook every day. From business owners to teenagers, many (many!) different kinds of people use it daily.

Social media has created a place for users to talk about what they love and what they do. Traditionally, convincing customers to provide feedback was as difficult as pulling teeth, and, twenty years ago, “Liking” large corporation might have been unheard of. Now, social media users love to inform their friends about the products and services they use.

With this new, breathtakingly important information, it would be foolish to waste it. Fortunately, there is a way not to.

Like finding out what the other kids on the playground are saying about your new haircut, Social Media Analysis (SMA) is an important tool for both small and big businesses. Social Media Analysis is very different than traditional Social Media Marketing (for example, convincing the company’s executive to create a Facebook page), for SMA is reactive, not proactive. It exists to gather information from an already proactive market.

What do potential and existing customers think about your new product? What is the overall appearance of your company? Is your customer service adequately addressing any problems that may arise? According to an article published by the Huffington Post, “This information is missing — or is only hinted at — in most business intelligence portfolios.”

lemonade_standThe Lemonade Stand: Gain a Competitive Advantage
Social Media Analysis can also help your company get ahead of your competition because users do not only talk about your products and services. ” In addition to tracking an organization’s own portfolio, SMA helps organizations track competitor activity and how their customers are using their products and services, problems with products and services, how that organization is viewed, etc.” By using Social Media Analysis, a company can improve its standing in the market.

The Post’s article continues, “There exist millions of blogs, tweets, comments, etc. containing consumer sentiment about products and services, more often negative than positive (an understatement).”

Using SMA to find comments about products and services similar to yours can help your company improve. “It’s helpful to know what the competition is doing even if they are doing it poorly, which we hope they are,” writes the Huffington Post.

In the end, I would stress that it is important to spend time on the playground. It will help your company understand its market better and gain an edge over its competition.

Written by: Daniel Griffith on May 21, 2012

Daniel is an Author, Designer, and Entrepreneur. With over 10 years of industry experience, Daniel utilizes his unique blend of mathematics and poetry, engineering and creative thinking to solve both technical and business challenges.

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