Digital & Social Media

Injecting Real-Time Into Social Content Strategy


Wherever you turn these days, it seems that every marketing communications and brand manager you meet is talking about collecting big data. Given the flood of information we see every day from web traffic and social sites, it’s pretty easy to see why. However, it remains less clear what exactly we’re doing with the data collected. Many discussions seem to revolve around the fact that using big data is the “next big thing” we can use to drive marketing and business decisions, but what exactly that “thing” is often remains unclear.

Ultimately, data already drives the decisions we make. For example, let’s take four decisions you might make from data informing you that on a particular morning the temperature outside is 26 degrees Fahrenheit:

  1. Have a hot breakfast
  2. Skip morning run
  3. Wear a heavy coat
  4. Drive to work instead of walk

Now, switch it over to your business. What if you could boil down decisions about your online communications by just studying the four data points produced as answers to the following questions:

  • Does the volume of online conversations weekday mornings drive sales?
  • Which topics of conversation drive sales most?
  • Does a particular online influencer/blogger drive the topics of conversation more than anyone else?
  • Does sentiment around some topics drive sales more than any particular influencer/blogger?

I know your analyst or researcher might say, “Four data points? You might miss something!” Over the long haul, that may be a concern, but not if you are looking to respond in real time. In the context of using communications media data to act in real time or at the right time, you are looking for quick insight into the direction of conversations and how your organization might participate—this can’t be about weighing in days later. No doubt, more detailed analyses are needed over time married with other kinds of input, such as sales data, in order to view longer-term trends.

Smaller is better
Here’s the deal. We don’t have time to go over 40 pages in a PowerPoint document. As a marketer, simple answers to questions in real time is like hitting the jackpot. While a variety of insights products currently look back at data to create future strategies, few have been developed to break down big data and develop insights that inform brand content strategy in real time.

Having run into this conundrum many times ourselves, we decided to develop a mobile data intelligence system to ingest and analyze big data; effectively making it “small” and digestible so we can develop content for audiences. Our data intelligence suite uses a black box approach to analyze a number of different initiatives—everything from tracking data in real time and providing on-the-ground monitoring during events, to crisis work, product announcements and much more. It is a new take on monitoring and real-time content strategy.

For example, we deployed this system at Most Contagious 2013, a trans-Atlantic event in London and NYC that hosted leading-edge speakers from the worlds of marketing, communications and technology. Our black box approach to data intelligence enabled us to create over 50 pieces of content on the spot, generating over 2,500 social media posts in eight hours that ended up reaching almost 9 million people.

Next stop, CES!
In the New Year, we’ll be taking our data intelligence suite to CES 2014, where it has been chosen by the organizers to serve as a social media command center for the event. This will challenge the capacity of the system as its organizers describe CES as the largest event of its kind on the planet. We’ll be on the ground to analyze the online and offline conversations happening across the show floor and beyond. The purpose of the black box here is to track and react to the top 10 topics at CES, helping attendees and non-attendees alike cut through the chatter to get to the information that matters most to them.

During the show, which this year is expected to attract 3,200 exhibitors and more than 152,000 attendees, visitors from 150+ countries, conference participants will be able to walk up to and use the black box touchscreens and dashboards that will feature all the relevant content bubbling up at CES, including conversational trends and the most influential conversation streams. The dashboards are downloadable and shareable (text, email, etc.), and will be continuously updated during the event.

The pressing need at a show of the dimensions of CES is helping participants keep up with what’s trending. They’re looking for ways to prioritize the events and figure out which people they want to meet. It essentially allows an attendee to avoid FOMO, fear of missing out. We use our black box approach to data intelligence to let participants catch up on things they may have passed on initially and see which participants and innovations are having the most impact.

Part of the CES 2014 data intelligence command center will show content supplied by Buzz Radar, a FleishmanHillard data visualization partner. The product, which is integrated into FleishmanHillard’s suite, captures and curates real-time data about the event. For example, the screens will display official real-time heat maps showing who is most influential at CES 2014.

The bottom line for us when it comes to organizations using social: You can’t always wait for the full 40-page PowerPoint. Sometimes you have to depend on those four data points and bring to them some good analytics and insights to determine how to react to them in real time. It’s all about not missing the moment.