Accenture Technology Labs has developed a tool that predicts the optimum ways for companies to engage with their customers through social media channels, such as Facebook.
The Social Media Engagement Manager analyses a company’s use of social media and measures the level of engagement customers have with them to determine and predict how a company should use a social media channel to successfully engage with its audience.
Accenture Technology Labs director Kelly Dempski believes that social platforms are becoming a new source of business intelligence, although a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) found that companies have yet to fully grasp the opportunities social media provides them to get close to their customers.
The engagement tool is currently in a prototype stage and has been used on Facebook for initial pilot projects. It may also be used for other social media platforms, such as Twitter.
“Businesses have been ‘listening’ to social media for a couple of years. The next frontier is effective engagement – knowing exactly how to reach and resonate with your target audience,” said Dempski, director of Accenture Technology Labs in Silicon Valley and head of Accenture’s Social Media R&D.
“Specifically, today’s social media channels provide data that will allow brands to measure engagement and use analytics to predict the impact of future interactions with the customer.”
Accenture has worked with a number of clients to test the engagement tool out on their Facebook postings, which appears on members’ newsfeeds. It has found that the level of engagement with a posting can be affected by the location of the target audience, their gender and the time of day at which they see a brand’s message.
“We can slice the data to say if you want to reach a certain group, here are the things you need to do.
“For example, if you want to reach women, you should post on a testimonial on a Wednesday afternoon. For men, post a call to action on a Sunday morning,” Dempski explained, adding that the tool could not say why it produced such findings, just that it did.
“Over time you should see a raise in engagement and a raise in sales,” he continued.
However, Dempski warned the companies must learn how to use the extensive customer data available through sites such as Facebook to interact with customers without invading their privacy and coming across as “creepy”.