3 minute read 24 Sep 2019
Social media

Can social media provide a more complete picture of transactions?

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EY Belgium

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

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3 minute read 24 Sep 2019

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Social Media Analytics gives businesses an interesting outside-in view.

“In the context of transactions, Social Media Analytics offer a valuable extra glimpse into businesses,” Dries Telen, EY Belgium Transaction Advisory Services 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.”

Social Media Analytics are often the canary in the coal mine: they catch when the sentiment about a brand is negative even before that translates into the figures.
Dries Telen
EY Belgium Transaction Advisory Services Manager

Are Social Media Analytics only interesting to companies in a transaction process?

“Certainly not. In a non-transaction setting, Social Media Analytics are especially valuable for monitoring operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and loyalty, effectiveness of sponsoring, success of marketing and callback actions, etc.

“It often also provides an initial indication of sensitivities and sore points that are not necessarily apparent from the figures. For example, a company thought they had carried out an effective marketing campaign but the reactions on social media turned out to be mainly very intense and negative. It becomes very interesting when we link these Social Media Analytics with internal information about clients and sales.”

Does Social Media Analytics appeal to all companies?

“Social Media Analytics is appealing to all B2C companies – and, by extension, even to political parties - wanting to know what customers think of their brand, because it often prompts companies to more closely examine certain operational inefficiencies.

“Even if we don't find anything on social media about a brand, the company in question has to get to work. After all, that is a clear wake-up call to work on a sound digital marketing strategy.”

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Summary

Any sale, merger or takeover is preceded by a thorough analysis by the parties involved. Internal data offers a great deal of information about sales figures, operational efficiency, and the like. But this information really tells us a lot when we check it against external data, such as Social Media Analytics.

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By

EY Belgium

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

Contributors