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Social media impact on brands: Driving revenue through data

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Consumer Products Writer

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Market fragmentation is one of the biggest challenges in the consumer packaged goods sector, but it's an issue that can be addressed through emerging digital channels such as social media. "Fewer consumers are making one big stocking-up trip each week," Richard Rawlinson and K.B. Shriram note in Strategy&. "Instead, shoppers are visiting a premium store and a discounter as well as a supermarket, in multiple weekly stops — in addition to making frequent purchases online."

Consumers' purchase paths are becoming increasingly complex, so it's important to monitor social media impact on brands. Channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest provide consumers with platforms to discover, evaluate and share new products. Here are three ways that CPG leaders can leverage social media data:

Optimize product development

Creating products that customers love is the core path to generating value for CPG leaders. With social media, brands have direct access to customer sentiment data that can inform and direct new initiatives. "Brands put a lot of time and energy into the development of new products," said CEO of marketing agency WebiMax Ken Wisnefski during a recent interview. "If a product out on the market isn't doing so well, it can be a challenge to determine if you truly have a dud or simply have to invest more in a better-targeted marketing strategy."

Consider the comeback of General Mills's French Toast Crunch, a cereal that debuted in 1995 and was discontinued in 2006. Consumers made numerous requests for the cereal's return on social media. "We have been overwhelmed by the consumer conversations, requests and passion for the cereal to come back," Big G Marketing Manager Waylon Good told A Taste of General Mills. "We value our fans and are so excited to be able to bring it back for them." Thanks to social media, General Mills felt confident that French Toast Crunch would sell.

Improve sentiment analysis

Through big data, brands have new capabilities to reach their target customers with precise, custom-tailored and impactful messaging. However, they often lack access to a direct feedback channel, because CPG brands sell to consumers indirectly through intermediary partners like supermarkets and department stores. Social media introduces a new channel for target audience engagement wherein businesses can learn what their consumers are thinking and feeling when making purchase decisions. With this in-depth conversation data, CPG brands will be able to fine-tune their value proposition and messaging to their target audiences.

Boost engagement and sales

In a recent campaign, Molson Coors used weather-based targeting to run a happy hour promotion on Facebook, as Adknowledge details. "Users who clicked on 'Weather Specific' ads were 89 percent more likely to click a link, 50 percent more likely to mention the brand page and 33 percent more likely to comment as opposed to users who clicked on the 'Generic' ads," the company found. Using social media data, CPG brands can directly influence sales.

The social media impact on brands depends on a process of listening and learning. In addition to reaching customers with advertising messages, CPG brands can use channels like Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their customers, generate ideas for marking campaigns and develop targeted products. Through data, brands can form stronger customer relationships.

How can you build revenue through social media data? Capitalize on a wealth of customer data to improve customer engagement and increase marketing ROI with the latest solution brief.