Friday, 4 April 2014

Why Your Business Needs Social Data


  Inbound marketing was once thought of as a fad (can you believe it!), but now it has proven to be the single most effective method of marketing. One, because it’s very cost effective and two because it’s easy to maintain. However, in recent years marketing experts have put a huge focus on social media, with an even bigger focus on social data. We all know that social media is a very powerful medium due to the sheer volume of people using it, but the data leveraged from these platforms is priceless. While search engine analytics continue to be the ‘main’ source of data for a business’s audience, social data offers a deeper insight into each customer.

What is Social Data (Social Media Analytics)?
As a SMB owner, you’ve probably already opened a social media page on Google +, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, but did you know that these platforms offer much more than just room to showcase your brand? These platforms gather important information (data) from each member that uses them daily.

Some of this information is gained during the signup process, but the majority of their data comes from what’s leveraged during everyday usage. Every time a person ‘likes’, ‘shares’ or comments on a post, the data is saved. This means that platforms like Facebook might know more about their members than their own families do.  Aside from gaining surface data and storing it, social media platforms log the times a member signs in and out of the platform and how long their average sessions are. This is valuable information for businesses with social media campaigns.

In general, social data is a mixture of data including
  • customer segments
  • firmographics
  • demographics
  • customer behaviors
Some social media platforms offer this information (but it’s limited) to businesses who have premium pages, others do not. In this situation, you’d have to use a social data tool to obtain social analytics.

Benefits of Using Social Data
According to Visual.ly, the highest amount of traffic gained from implementing social media marketing just 6 to 10 hours a week was 74%, followed by a 65% fan base increase and a 61% increase in lead generation.

Most businesses/marketers use social data to help them better understand their audience. Others use this data to improve their CRM or as an extension to their social CRM efforts. Still, many find that they gain more leads using social media than they did before implementing it. Overall, the main benefit of using it is increased lead generation. Platforms like Facebook, offer a paid sponsor option for businesses to utilize, which exposes their page to people in their target audience – this increases the quality of leads gained.

Another great benefit to using social data is the information you get back from your current customers; this helps to attract more leads. In efforts to improve your CRM, social followers may offer feedback about your products and services on your page. This increases your brand’s trustworthiness, so leads are more likely to approach you. Customers may also offer valuable insight into how your business or products can improve.

Additional benefits that come from using social data are:
  • gaining a competitive edge over your rivals
  • improving your products and services
  • extending your loyalty programs
When it comes to Social Media Marketing, there is no one-size fits all approach. Your social analytics (data) may differ greatly from other businesses in your niche, so it’s always a good idea to mine your own data instead of borrowing analytics. By developing a solid SMM plan, you’ll not only gain more leads, but your company will experience faster growth and improved sales.

Do you have any social media best practices?  Please pass them on!

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