How to Extract Actionable Business Insights by Just Watching Twitter

Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly where to look to grow your business – without having to hire someone for the job? Two technology giants that you’ve surely heard of are on the case, and they’ve forged partnership to deliver just that: an unprecedented analytics tool that looks at online social behavior and tells you how to adjust your operations.

IBM has partnered up with Twitter to help businesses owners tap into billions of real-time convos, apply curation and expertise, and ultimately influence decision-making for organizations. It may sound like more of a marketing stunt than anything else, but if the duo’s report is to be believed, they may actually have something here.

Where the wind blows

IBM offers a trio of examples regarding how its Watson Analytics tool works. One data point was about the weather. No joke. If you’re in the telecommunications business, it can influence your customers immensely according to Big Blue. The reasoning here is this:

“By combining Twitter data with other information like rain, wind or snow that triggers service interruptions, IBM identified the correlation between weather events, angry Tweets and customer defections. By helping analyze localized Twitter data combined with weather data, IBM can significantly improve churn models – in some cases by 5 percent – and help a client take actions to minimize turnover.”

Your customer could have a favorite employee

By looking at Tweets about consumers of products that require interaction with a salesman / barista / water, IBM has shown that people value their relationship with this person immensely. Especially so if they’re loyal to the shop / restaurant. The tool showed that people like to Tweet both good and bad reports about this relationship. However, when they lose that special someone in your organization, you’d better prepare to lose the customer as well.

“IBM looked at Twitter data along with loyalty information and the financial performance of different stores and restaurants. Not only did dissatisfaction with employee turnover impact sales negatively, the dissatisfaction was most keenly felt by the most loyal (and valuable) customers.”

Are high-waisted jeans making a comeback?

Perhaps one of the most predictable result in the study conducted on the microblogging service, fashion trends are easy to gauge by aggregating the relevant tweets and discussions.

“By using psycholinguistic analytics from IBM Research to extract a full spectrum of psychological, cognitive and social traits from Twitter data that influential fashion bloggers generate – combined with operational data such as sales and market share information – manufacturers can better understand why some products sell well while others don’t. They can also improve merchandising strategies and provide input to future product development.”

You may argue that you can do this type of research yourself by just following the right people and keeping track of popular hashtags. Sure, but can you follow a couple of million users and their respective conversations? What IBM can do and you can’t – even if you keep your eyes peeled 24/7 – is amass what is known as “big data,” churning out a far bigger picture with visible patterns that are hard to question. If your business has a big outreach, IBM’s tantalizing analytics tool should make for a very good investment. I’m curious whether you think Watson Analytics can have a considerable impact on your business, and how so. Sound off in the comments.

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