Social media is not only a whole new way for consumers to communicate and express themselves, it’s also a whole new way for corporations to conduct business. Sure, a corporation can have a Twitter account and a Facebook fan page, but that’s the obvious application. Every day I see new applications for social media in market research, marketing communications, brand management, innovation, and even supply chain management. Here are some ways I’m seeing social media applied in business.


For Customer Service

Consumer satisfaction measurement —This is really the same technique as brand equity tracking (i.e., tracking sentiment), but it’s used for customer service evaluation instead. Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is survey based, is sometimes used; sentiment is simply another way to measure the same parameter with social media.


For Marketing

Demographic segmentation—You can segment your audience by gender and other factors to analyze opinions, behaviors and emotions of specific slices of your audience.


For Market Researchers

Category analysis—What brands in a category get talked about the most? Which one do consumers like the most? The least? What is it about each brand that they like or dislike? You can use social media to find out all this and more. You can compare brands in a category on various attributes, including share of buzz, overall sentiment, and key positive and negative themes.


For Public Relations

Hot-issue identification—This is a basic “listening” function that reports on what’s being said in social media, but many PR managers are starting to use social media to get an in-depth analysis of what is being said, allowing them to move beyond what to why.