Social media analytics for small countries

Senior Managing consultant, IBM

Until recently, I believed that social media analytics (SMA) were primarily applicable only to larger countries which mostly spoke popular languages or large corporations that generate a great deal of social buzz. This belief had me thinking that Holland (a smaller European country of approximately 17 million inhabitants with its own language [Dutch], a Smartphone penetration of 75 percent , 27 percent of population active on Twitter and approximately 70 percent found on Facebook) might not be suitable.

In short: I was wrong. Together with our Indian colleagues at the Strategy & Analytics Center of Competence, we completed a two month survey employing search terms in the local language for the three leading Dutch food retailers (which total nearly 53 percent of market share) and employed SMA.

BeNeLux post_1.jpgAlready on the second iteration, the results are highly intriguing. Product recalls, discomfort with the rebranding of stores and products being removed from assortments were among the topics which were of core concern. An interesting find was the (high) affinity demonstrated by one of the three retailers and the topic of online buzz: a clear first-mover advantage.

When this data was presented, the reaction was very positive. The staff at these retailers remembered many of the events noted in the results, including specific customer complaints about articles removed from assortments, which were sobering for the brand leadership. The exercise proved that social is truly relevant when monitoring customer sentiment on an ongoing basis. For greater success and constant improvement., teams must be enabled with reporting capabilities (specifically SMA), utilizing relevant data and reliable analytics.

I learned that the size of a geography or number of people speaking a language is never too small to derive meaningful insights. A word of advice: make sure you do have a retail industry expert on your side preparing the right search terms and supporting the analysis of the results. Once this basic structure is in place, an SMA exercise will immediately prove the value of social media analytics to any organization.

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