Social data is an important segment of the big data landscape. For brands, perhaps the most important part. The only issue with it, according to a KPMG survey in 2013 is that only 25 percent of CFOs and CIOs ‘were actually putting any big data-related insights into practice.’
This represents a huge opportunity loss for businesses. It undermines the massive potential value big data could represent, if the wealth of insights were effectively tapped. This is known as making data ‘smart’. But what does making data smart actually look like?
- Track customer sentiment
For the first time ever brands of all sizes can understand what their customers are thinking and feeling in real-time. Focus groups are a lot less useful when you can literally ‘listen’ to your entire customer base all the time. Say you sell holiday clothes. In the run up to when parents are booking family holidays you’ll see an uptick in mentions on social networks. Now is the time to message them with offers, targeted ads and email campaigns.
- Build a Clearer Demographic Picture
Your CRM will never give you the complete picture of your customers. There will always be information it doesn’t capture. Plus, it will largely be accurate as of when you either; a.) sent out customer surveys, or b.) a customer made a purchase. And even then, the picture will never be complete. Social data fills in the gaps. This means you can target them far more precisely with content, offers, email marketing and social adverts.
- Create Content They Can’t Wait to Consume
‘Consumable’ content means videos, images, blogs, articles; some brands do a fantastic job creating content their customers enjoy on a regular basis. The ones who are great at this have a deep insight on who their customers are and what they like. Social data is the key to this. A key now hidden in plain sight. Also think about inviting your influencers to co-create content with you like Taco Bell.
- Be SMART
One of the main reasons marketing executives are still nervous over using ‘social data’ is this does represent a firehose of customer intelligence. In many ways its just too much. Which is why it’s best to start small. Set specific, actionable goals: what data do you need, what do you want to do with it? Rather than running wild like a kid with a black Amex at Christmas, set SMART goals.
- Put a Dollar Figure on Inputs and Outputs
CFOs always want to know what things cost and what was the return. With marketing activities the returns are sometimes harder to track. If a customer decides to purchase because of a Facebook ad, but doesn’t buy until they did a Google search a few weeks later, which line item expenditure gets the credit for that sale? Customer purchasing decisions are now much more independent of specific marketing outputs. Brands can and still do influence this process, but there are now numerous contributing factors, like social sentiment of friends and family to take into consideration.
Social data is one way to understand these new eddies and currents our marketing boats all move in. You can more clearly see who is influencing your customer, what they are saying, and therefore what you can put through digital channels which will help encourage a sale. Starting with small goals and specific data sets you can put a price on what this new information cost, which means you’ll have a way of measuring the output of this new marketing activity.
Attentive.ly is a social marketing automation platform for modern marketing teams. We help brands and organizations predict how customers and supporters will behave – even what they might do or buy – from social data. It has been used by over 100 companies and organizations to improve thousands of email marketing and social media campaigns.