“In the context of transactions, Social Media Analytics offer a valuable extra glimpse into businesses,” Dries Telen, EY Belgium Strategy and Transactions Manager, says.
Why is Social Media Analytics so interesting for transactions?
“Any sale, merger or takeover is preceded by a thorough analysis by the parties involved. Based on internal data, we learn a great deal about their customers, sales figures, operational efficiency, and the like. But this information really tells us a lot when we check it against external data.
“After all, it makes sense that the target does their utmost to appear as positive as possible. It is interesting to take a look at the company from the outside to gain a better perspective. How often does the brand elicit reactions on Twitter and Tumblr? How positive and negative are the reviews? You can form a better, more complete picture of a company if you have this type of information.”
How does Social Media Analytics work exactly?
“Based on the brand name and specific search terms, we measure how often the brand is discussed. Using natural language processing, we also gauge the sentiment about the brand. The perception of certain branches of a fast food chain were consistently negative, for example, for no immediately apparent reasons. After taking a closer look, it turned out that there was a systematic problem with cleanliness at those branches.”
What do you find out when you monitor and analyze a certain brand as part of a transaction process?
“You can verify certain assumptions. When a wine guide was being taken over, for example, the client claimed it was complementary to the target in terms of perception in Southeast Asia. By analyzing where both brands were discussed on social media, however, we could identify a strong overlap instead.
“Another example: the management of a cryptocurrency trading platform claimed that the company was at the top of the second tier. It had not yet reported, and so we analyzed social media to benchmark the company against ten other platforms. That analysis revealed that the platform was effectively right on the heels of the biggest players.
“Finally, in a social media analysis of a rest home group as part of financial due diligence, it came to light that there had been dismissals in Spain that the management was unaware of. These types of things are of course especially worth knowing when you are in the middle of a transaction process and have to make important decisions.”