As social media platforms become more ingrained as part of popular culture, many recognize them as a means to connect with old friends, stay up to date with news and current events, and share photos and videos. But for marketers, the value of social media can be so much more. In its purest form, social media is the missing piece of the marketing puzzle.
While many marketers have basic demographic information and purchase behavior such as age, gender and past purchases, they often lack the consumer-generated information social media provides. Consumers express their opinions about brands, as well as their interests and preferences, within their social networks — giving brands an organic and authentic view into their target audience’s lifestyles and interests. And the more consumer insights brands have access to, the more personalized experiences they can create. At the end of the day, consumers’ interests, preferences and needs should be at the center of every marketing strategy.
But insights and analysis are only half the battle. Brands still need to make the data actionable. Luckily, technology and data partners exist to help brands maximize the potential of social media. This includes the power to gain insight into any audience, append to existing data, predict behavior and create audiences that brands can connect with consistently across channels.
To unlock the potential of social media, marketers need to go beyond the traditional listening tools and understand the consumer behind the handle. With the right technology, they can gain insight into competitor overlap, social influence, brand affinity and following activity. A reframed approach can answer questions about your target audience such as:
The added social intelligence lets brands and agencies optimize content, adjust marketing messages, inform media buys, uncover new brand partnerships and measure campaign success. For example, we recently performed an analysis on highly influential consumers (those with more than 1,000 followers) on social media, and found they are most active on social media from Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern. Additionally, more than 40% of these consumers are engaging with technology brands. The analysis also found that their average age is 43, and they are 15% more likely to be male than the average social media user. Armed with this intel, marketers hoping to engage these individuals may consider posting content during these times, as well as tailoring the content to pique their interest.
The challenge many marketers may face is, how do I incorporate intelligence on social media activity into my own customer file? Fortunately, marketers aren’t relegated to an analysis on the general population. Data partnerships exist to analyze the social media activity on a prospect list, current customer base and/or a brand’s specific social media following. The results lead to the necessary data for building modeled audiences and more actionable profiling of your customer file.
Data is only as valuable as one’s ability to implement it — particularly as a marketer. Seen through the right lens, the data can show a consumer’s or an audience’s propensity to engage with specific messages and keywords. Marketers can even build look-alike models based on their current customer file. No matter how niche or time-sensitive the topic, social media data can help marketers target consumers more accurately based on unprompted behaviors.
As with any marketing channel, social media is only one component. When linked with offline, television and email data sets, the potential increases exponentially. Rather than just a creating a successful social media campaign, marketers can develop and implement coordinated campaigns across multiple channels. That means one coordinated message that tells a consistent story.
Social media plays a pivotal role during every phase of the digital customer journey — whether it’s awareness, interest, conversion or advocacy. And that means unique insight into what may influence these consumers at various stages. If marketing is about appealing to the audience and creating a relatable experience, brands and agencies need to go beyond the bare minimum when it comes to social media — or risk leaving actionable insight on the table.