A Love Affair: Social Data & Strategy

Less than a decade ago, data merely functioned as a way to track operations or forecast needs. However, today, we collect data to learn about every single interaction of our potential customers. We even invest in new technology just to gain insight about how people learn about our products and services.

Big data is big business. Wikibon projects that the big data market will top $84 billion in 2026.


Source: Wikibon’s Big Data Market Forecast

An intense bond exists between social data and strategy. Social data determines how your company designs a system to influence consumers. With a plan anchored in analytics, you have the chance to tailor to your customers’ needs and offer top dollar for your services.

Be proactive by integrating social data into your business’s overall plan. Focus on the following four areas:

1. Establish Brand Credibility

Use social data to start a conversation about your brand. From tracking hashtags to monitoring posts, gather intel from positive and negative feedback. Then, build a marketing campaign to engage consumers with your mission and values.

In a September 2014 survey, the Pew Research Center found that 52% percent of online adults reported using two or more social media sites. This is a significant increase from 42% in 2013.

Online conversations are occurring in several places. Focus on two to three social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hashtags play a major role in driving viral content. They can help spread your brand’s message, track industry-related headlines, and analyze the tone of customer discussions.

Consider creating your own brand hashtag. It can be your company’s name or tagline. If your business name is generic, develop a unique hashtag. Keep it short and easy to spell.

KitKat uses its tagline as a brand hashtag: #HaveABreak. On Instagram, KitKat fanatics share photos of how they indulge with the product. Here’s an example:


Source: KitKat’s #HAVEABREAK

On Twitter, KitKat communicates directly with customers in a fun-loving manner. See below.


Source: @KitKat

Depending on your marketing team’s capacity, closely oversee your brand. Steer clear from outsourcing your brand monitoring. Value remains in performing it in-house. Your team members are the most qualified to handle the brand. Moreover, you want your voice to be authentic when talking with customers.

Key Takeaway: Establish brand credibility with a hashtag on multiple social media channels.

2. Create Meaningful Content

Content is only king if it benefits your bottom line. Learn what keywords and phrases resonate with buyers. Crowdsource ideas to produce content that matters to the user. All your content–website, brochures, and tweets–should be a reflection of your consumer.

Data mining for editorial content is common for companies. In 2014, the OKCupid blog highlighted the link between race and attraction. This actionable data helped improve its matchmaking algorithm, while providing attractive content for its audience.

To create great content, figure out what type of content already exists. For example, if you want to compose a blog post about SasS marketing, look for all articles that include the words “SaaS” and “marketing” near each other. A simple search query with Boolean operators will work. Try this: ++“SaaS” NEAR/4 marketing.


Source: Google Search

Also, use these other boolean operators.


Source: Boolean Operators

Improved content creation begins with access to this kind of data. It accelerates more targeted and informed topics to interested readers. In return, you get increased audience engagement and more traffic to your website.

Social data intelligence holds valuable information about how your brand and content is perceived. Executives seek technology that is scalable, measurable, and cost-effective. Take advantage of this opportunity.

Create a content strategy based on the data. By filtering through Twitter and Facebook feeds, observe the top performing tweets and adjust your messaging accordingly.


Source: Arby’s Grammy Tweet

Here’s a good example of Arby’s executing real-time meaningful content, “while also allowing data and clear audience analysis to show where and when it would be appropriate to enter an online conversation.”

Key Takeaway: Create meaningful content by data mining.

3. Gain Competitor Insight

Analyze your competitors’ efforts and compare their key performance metrics to your own. Then, optimize your plans for success.

Decide who are your competitors. They should be grouped as any of the following:

  • Your direct competitors;
  • Companies with similar audience, but in a different sector; and
  • Businesses with a comparable content strategy, but for a different audience.

Social media moves quickly. More than 40% of consumers expect their online requests to be answered within an hour.

Measure your responsiveness against other market leaders. You might not control the industry standards, but you must attain them to retain customers and grow your business. By analyzing how your brand ranks within your field, you can set realistic goals for your social media engagement.

Airline delays are common forms of customer frustration. People usually vent about their airplane woes. To ensure customer loyalty, JetBlue Airways is responsive to their customers via Twitter.


Source: @JetBlue

Ready to spy? Learning what keywords your competition deems valuable can be helpful. SpyFu and iSpionage are two tools that help automate this process. Enter a keyword or domain, and then discover which keywords your competitors bid on.

Here’s how to find popular keywords amongst your competitors on SpyFu Kombat:

  1. Enter the domains of your three competitors.


  1. Click the overlap of all three competitors’ keyword circles.


  1. The results are filtered by popular keywords amongst your competitors.


Source: SpyFu Kombat Tutorial

Learn how competitors are differentiating themselves in the marketplace. What drives consumers toward and away from your competitors? Study the competition’s data to learn and grow from their pitfalls.

Key Takeaway: Gain competitor insight by examining your industry leaders’ keywords and customer responsiveness.

4. Find New Sources of Revenue

Social data can be effective in increasing sales if implemented as a focal point for customer service. Demonstrate the reliability and trustworthiness of your business by engaging consumers.

According to the Sales 2.0 Conference, “70 percent of a customer’s buying decision is now made based on information he or she finds online, well before a salesperson has a chance to get involved.” This disconnection lessens the influence of sales reps with buyers.

Help your salespeople get ahead of the trends. Empower your social media team to interact with consumers. Retweet their announcements and congratulate customers on key victories.


Source: How to Do Sales on Twitter

Chief marketing officers are under pressure to deliver above-market growth. According to a study, 72 percent of CEOs stated “that marketers are constantly asking for more funding but can hardly explain how much incremental business this funding will generate.” This is an opportunity for marketing professionals to effectively employ the use of big data.

Kohl’s encouraged its customers to shop with a simple call to action on Facebook. The brand didn’t try to trick people or emotionally persuade folks. And it paid off! In four days, Kohl’s got more than 30,000 people to claim a promotional offer.


Source: Kohl’s Keeps It Pithy on Facebook

Social media serves as an important touch point for business development success. Nowadays, emails and voicemails go unresponded. Make an effort to follow up with prospects via social media.

Key Takeaway: Find new sources of revenue by engaging customers honestly and directly.

Share Your Story

Social data and strategy are the perfect pair. It’s quite hard to imagine one without the other. Plan with data in mind and your business will benefit from more brand awareness, engagement, and revenue.

How are you implementing social data into your business strategy? What’s working (or not working)? Share your story in the comments below.

About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, the law and social responsibility. She inspires a new breed of innovative attorneys at Hearsay Marketing. Connect with her on Twitter: @shaylaprice

A Love Affair: Social Data & Strategy

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