Tracking social media trends and influencing public opinion
It was recently estimated that every five seconds, someone is talking about McDonald’s restaurants on a social media channel. The fast-food chain has seen how negative comments about its products can explode on social media with the publication of a single press report. But the corporation is then able to “go back, engage and direct people to the facts to talk to them about” and to say “here are the nutritional facts”. The negative comments then recede. This example shows that any company can take social media one step further by locating, sorting and analysing the content to improve public awareness.
Social media have moved very quickly, but now some companies are catching up to explore the opportunities there and monitor relevant social trends. Social media analytics programs are used by certain companies to locate the people who are the most connected and influential in their field and try to sway their opinions. In this way, theoretically, companies can succeed in improving their public image without appearing to make an influence.
Social media analytics can also strategically manage brand reputation and even direct online comments to the right parts of the business, for example to housekeeping or food and beverage at hotels.
[pictured: Mark Zuckerberg, creator, CEO and president of Facebook; photo courtesy of Facebook]