Lenovo's challenges in social media listening

Social media listening has been a core strategy for Lenovo. This year saw the brand launch its “social pulse” in Singapore.

This was soon followed by social media listening command centres in China and the US. These offices displayed real-time social data and analysis on screens. The screens also amplified social media data to bring the brand “closer to people”, said Anna Rokina, social data consultant at Lenovo.

“If you place the screens near your CEO’s office, you will get him interested and asking on why people are saying certain things about your brand,” she said.

Social media listening brings everybody else in the organisation together to understand how the product can be improved or adjusted to meet the consumer’s satisfaction, she added.

However, vetting this immense amount of data comes with its own set of challenges.

One challenge the Lenovo team uncovered was that with data from social platforms, the amount of data garnered is uncertain.

“Hence, there is always a need to be flexible and adapt,” she said.

Another challenge is there is always a substantial amount of “noise” and chatter in social, and sifting through that to find a “signal” is also a tedious task.

Also, with data and the ability to provide a packaged bundle of it being the new hype, many social platforms are also jumping on the bandwagon. However, “text data and meta data are not always consistent throughout the data set. Facebook gives you different data than Twitter or forums”.

While full automation of the research process is something Lenovo is looking towards, it is still difficult to achieve. Currently an analyst is still vital for the team to understand why a certain peak or dip happened in a conversation on a certain day.

But nonetheless, the brand has still moved forward and reaped the benefits of social media listening.

Today, social media listening allows the brand to uncover “unknowns” and understand what the consumer is passionate about – whether good or bad. Social media listening also opened doors for Lenovo when it came to getting access to a niche audience in a cost-effective manner.

“We were able to get access to big social data and historical data that gave us the ability to zoom in on any theme or data point and discover niche audiences,” she said.

Meanwhile, having its own command centre also adds flexibility to Lenovo’s approach to data. The team is quickly able to change or add new themes in its reports and optimise data if the initial research proves unproductive.

“Data helps build customer profiles to see what types of campaigns would work on them. Not only that, data also helps us in creating a product and validates a product idea we might have already had. Today we look at very different data points to see how people converse or behave.”

Marketing magazine’s Big Data 2014 conference took place on 11 November 2014 at the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore.