In this post I tried to attempt at defining Social analytics and its usefulness to businesses in accomplishing their goals.
Businesses have been collecting and analyzing web traffic data for the past twenty years, however it is only recently that businesses started focusing on tracking data from social media blogs and sites like Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pintrest, etc. The process of collecting data on the number of mentions, referring domains, likes, retweets and key terms associated with the businesses in the social media and analyzing it to develop key performance indicators (KPI) to determine the return on advertising (ROA) for the business is called social analytics or social media analytics.
Social analytics can be broken down into two steps . Step 1 is collection of data. In this step, data from social media is used to develop metrics. According to Avinash Kaushik the following four metrics conversion rate, amplification rate, applause rate and economic value can be used to adequately predict the KPI of the business growth in social media. Avinash in his Occam’s Razor blog describes the relevance of these metrics and their importance in understanding a business success in social media. In addition, it is also important to understand that not all social media sites are created equal. For example, the key difference between Twitter and Facebook is that in Twitter information is broadcasted to the public and is content based, while on Facebook the information is relayed through sharing between the people (friends). Given the differences between the social media sites, business need to be wary on where they post their ads to target the right audience . The second step in social media analytics is to find patterns in the behaviors of the users. Patterns help in understanding the mood and sentiments of the users in social media. This will help businesses to proactively performing predictive analysis to tailor the content. According to social media data and predictive analysis article published in Customer Relationship Management, Nov issue, MTV had to change the characters behaviors in its Teen Wolfe show. With the help of Networked Insights and the data obtained from Facebook, MTV introduced romantic and gruesome characters in their teen show to appeal to both male and female audience, which in return caused the show to become popular. Few other discovered patterns like countries that tweet most (60% Twitter posts come from USA followed by Brazil at 22%), mood of the audience (mood perk up at breakfast and around 6 PM), 53.5 billion minutes pr month is spent on Facebook by Americans, women are more likely to engage on Facebook than men.
Social media analytics is still in early stages. There are multiple vendors that provide this information to businesses. Adobe Social, Google analytics, crowdbooster, IBM business analytics, and many more. These tools offer easy to use dashboards that help capture the required which in turn help businesses find the right platform to interact with its audience.
 Why Social Media Analytics Matters: http://www.1to1media.com/view.aspx?DocID=33972
 Social Analytics, Mashable Media Summit: