Come tomorrow, you may be looking for a chance to do some relaxing reading after the Thanksgiving football and food fest and the Black Friday shopping chaos.

To that end, The Semantic Web Blog thought it would offer some guidance on a few analyst reports and surveys that you might enjoy spending some time with – and find useful for your business efforts, especially as they relate to how you can help drive value by better engaging with the exploding world of social media  – for your weekend reading:

 

  •  Gleansight: Social Media Monitoring: A new analyst firm, Gleanster LLC, has produced a new report on what companies are learning about the emerging area of mining social media content as they attempt to better understand the voice of the customer to improve marketing and consumer satisfaction and reduce research and support costs, among other things. That includes, of course, using text mining apps to identify topics and using semantic technologies to classify comments by positive or negative sentiment. The report focuses on the challenges — the technological ones, of course, such as finding the valuable nuggets in the volume of data.

In fact, top-performing companies see generating customer insight as a top reason to monitor social media, while 86 percent of all companies said that generating insights that are truly actionable is the biggest challenge with social media monitoring. But it also hits at those at the organizational culture level, such as getting different departments to work together.

 

 Of particular value to readers will be Gleanster’s “skinny” on the vendors seeking to service the market. Look ahead to Q1 for its benchmark reports with vendor ranking results. Find it here

 ● The 2010 FedEx/Ketchum Social Media Benchmarking Study: This report on Leading Brands and the Social Media Landscape, based on a study conducted in the summer and fall, reveals that companies expected to spend between five and fifteen percent of their overall communications budget on social media programming, and that the great majority of respondents – 75 percent – are participating in social media engagement.

Fifteen percent are still mostly watching the space as they make plans to grow awareness within their organizations, while 10 percent have taken on leadership roles. That means they engrain social media in every aspect of communications; identify and integrate new social media tools on an ongoing basis’ and have an in-house team of social media specialists.

There are some interesting findings that look at what might be different for regulated industries in the social media space. That includes having an ongoing management plan with legal and compliance teams to avoid overstepping any possible privacy bounds, possibly concerning  extracting insights from online commentary and matching the social media handles of those that make them to other data that can then specifically identify the user. You can find the report here.

 ● Brand Interaction Survey: How’s that Facebook Like button working out for your company? A study conducted by digital creative, analytics, search, and content services company Beyond International of U.S. and U.K. consumers provides some insight into what works in company’s fan page posts to encourage a click of the Like button – mixed image/text posts are the big winner here, followed by video and then text-only messages. But it’s those text-only messages that are most consistently effective at initiating comments (which you may want to further analyze with semantic and sentiment analytics technologies).

If you’re looking not just to prove what a great brand you are, but to actually use social media information to make products, services, and experiences better, however, you may be a bit disappointed to learn that there might not be as many negative comments out there in the public social media space as you’d like to dive into. Most of those who follow a brand on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter or elsewhere are in it for the discounts or because they really feel the love.

Only 6 percent follow a brand to complain; complaints are more likely to be privately generated, via email and calls to the contact center. So much for big hopes of lowering the costs of customers support (at least for now). But the good news is there’s no reason you can’t use the same semantic, text analytics, NLP, etc. tools to mine those interaction records for feedback that can influence your company’s next steps. Read more here.

Happy reading – and congrats on being one of the (possibly few?) folks who will make it in to the office Monday with some useful insights to share with your colleagues!

Opening Photo credit: Flickr/takomabibelot