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New #IPASocialWorks guide reveals how to leverage social insight for success

Social performs a key role in providing deep customer insights for brands in real time and at scale, but in order for it to be effective it must be fully integrated into the business operation. This is according to #IPASocialWork’s new social guide, Integrated, Not Isolated, launched last night (19 September 2016).


The cross-industry* guide puts the spotlight on social insight, with chapters including social platforms and trends; sentiment analysis, bias and ethics; to how to integrate social with the insight function, within the organisation and with the overarching business needs. These learnings are brought to life with case studies from Sport England, MasterCard, Janssen and GE Healthcare.

Key report findings:

  • Social data is the real voice of the customer. It can be invaluable and cost effective for hypothesis testing and making enhancements to product, service, pricing and distribution. However, although it can be a catalyst for it, on its own it is less suitable for major strategic innovation.
  • Social insight KPIs need to align with, and ideally predict, the business metrics of the parent organisation.
  • Organisations should invest in human analytical interpreters of the social data, rather than just in new improved software and tools. Those who can translate analytic output to business action will be the source of competitor advantage.
  • Social must be integrated into the range of other insight tools and business intelligence datasets.
  • The best model of integration is ‘diffused integration’ – professionalising and upskilling people in social insight techniques to enable knowledge and skills to spread across the organisation.
  • Social analytics demands functional and analytical skills but also collaboration, agility and an experimental mindset.
  • Social data moves insight teams even more into a strategic function, which can transform organisations.

Says report co-author Tom Ewing, member of #IPASocialWorks and Senior Director, BrainJuicer: “Social media data can be an invaluable asset to a range of issues faced by marketing professionals – from the scale needed for quantitative market analysis to meaningful nuance in qualitative projects. However, levels of adoption and experience of social insight vary enormously - one person’s long-established common sense practice will be another’s radical idea.”

Says report editor Fran Cassidy, Member of #IPASocialWorks and Founder of Cassidy Media Partnership: “Social insight is enormously powerful given its sheer scale and authenticity, but it’s most effective when it’s integrated. This Guide therefore sets out to discuss many types of integration and how to leverage them for business success.”

Says Stephen Maher, Chair of #IPASocialWorks, CEO of MBA and Chairman of the Marketing Society: “We are sure this Guide will take us all a little further towards securing the true business value of social media for brands – value that many of us fully believe in, but where we crave more robust evidence.”

Says Mark Earls, Consultant, Author, Herd Consulting: “This is essential reading for planners, researchers and marketers. There is lots of good sound advice and it doesn’t shy away from being critical about some received wisdom."

The report is available to purchase here (£30 for members/£60 for non-members). You can also join the conversation on Twitter:#IPASocialWorks

*IPA Social Works is the first global cross-industry body to help brands, agencies, researchers and social media owners develop a more ROI-driven and robust approach to measuring social. IPA Social Works is a collaboration between the IPA, The Marketing Society and the MRS, and supported by Professor Patrick Barwise, Emeritus Professor at the London Business School, Facebook and Twitter.

Previous #IPASocialWorks publications include the guide ‘Measuring Not Counting – How to evaluate social media for marketing communications’, as well as a bank of exemplary social, peer-reviewed case studies including O2, Tfl, IKEA, Coca-Cola, and more.

Last updated 20/09/2016

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