Busting social media silos

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Brian Killen
Brian Killen

Marketers seek to blend social media with their traditional marketing methods, but are challenged to use the data they collect effectively in a way that scales with their overall marketing strategies. The following tips will help marketers adopt an incremental, “crawl, walk, run” approach that isn't too costly and allows them to use their own valuable, traditional data sources to create more personalized experiences and improve targeting with more content relevance and timing while empowering brand advocates.

Perform social recognition

Focus on consumer opt-in for access to social insights. You've probably seen social log-in forms on Web landing pages where you fill in your social password. Likewise, you should insert these social buttons on your own landing pages for as many different social media platforms as possible (not just Facebook) to indicate to your audience that you'll share their information with their trusted social media brand. Enable this log-in at the point of conversion, whether by registration or contact form, comments, reviews or sharing. Link your audience's social profile identification with your CRM data.

Once you've integrated the tools that add a social layer to your sites, you'll find that visitors are willing to share information from their social or identity profiles with you that give insights deeper than ever before. Depending on the provider, they could be sharing up to 30 different fields of information with you, including location, demographics, interests, activities and their friends.

Use a packaged analytics solution

Innovations in this product segment are nascent, but don't let that prevent you from experimenting with them as they insert consumer insight elements into campaigns. Focus on specific use cases. Loyalty is a good place to start and is best employed with a mix of CRM, demographic and psychographic data. 

Your social audience may only be a small portion of your entire audience compared against your traditional customer data, but don't be overwhelmed or worry about the scale challenge. The good news is that you can capture the relatively small social media data sets, blend them with your customer segments and personas, and model them against the traditional personas you've built against the larger data set in order to get the necessary scale to use social media in harmony with your direct marketing assets. 

Combine social profile data with traditional data and link customer records to social IDs

Take your social data and think of it as a qualified sample set because your target audience has chosen to engage with you. Merge the social data with traditional offline data assets, identify trends with personas, and perform “lookalike” modeling to achieve scale from that small set and apply it to all the other personas that relate to it. Perform aggregate and individual analyses of consumer purchase intent from a sample to a larger scale the your modeling results to predict other prospects and integrate those results in order to augment and deliver targeted communications through all other traditional channels where applicable.

Social profile data is a game changer for marketers. It adds complexity to customer management because the data itself is complex and dynamic. Marketers can adopt incremental steps to get started right away using the social data they've collected without being weighed down by the scale and technology challenges.

At the Direct Marketing Association 2011 Conference & Exhibition last week in Boston, I delivered a lengthier presentation on this topic. If you'd like to see the slides for yourself, they are linked here.  

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