"Socialize" your customer data

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Ed Messman, SpotRight
Ed Messman, SpotRight

A recent report found that 90 percent of American businesses are investing in social marketing, 60 percent of them say “engagement” is the only way they can measure return on social media investments. If you're part of that 60 percent, you're doing it wrong.

Media like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are great tools for brand engagement, but they present an incredibly frustrating experience for marketers who favor “direct” marketing techniques. These social networks are good tools for getting impressions and directing traffic to your website or other conversion pages. But in terms of targeting individuals they are severely lacking.  What's more discouraging is that, according to the study, only about 16 percent of marketers are able to reliably measure the revenue impact of their social media marketing. That's discouraging particularly as brands make deeper and broader investments in their social marketing initiatives.

If you look at how social media could change the game for direct marketers, it's a huge opportunity heavily in their favor.  Most direct marketers already have a trove of consumer data at their fingertips, whether that's compiled demographic data or purchase data.  Leveraging social data in addition to these other data types could truly help direct marketers drive new customer acquisition, earned media, and increased lift for marketing campaigns. It's all about connecting customer data with social data so that brands can measure response rates.

Once you're able to identify and link your customers across the social web, you can then gather rich social data on them on a frequent basis to use in your segmentation, content, and contact strategies. 

1. Gather social intelligence on your customers
Data drawn from the public social Web can help you understand what your customers are doing across social networks. Where they're spending time (blogs, social networks, photo or video sites, product review sites, etc.), what content they're publishing (what their interests are based on the content they create and where they create it), and how big their social graph is (how many connections they have and what is the strength of those connections).  With this information, marketers are able to learn a lot about customers and how to keep them (retention and loyalty) and find new customers (acquisition).

2. Target based on someone's social footprint
Once the customers' social footprint is known, brands can target them for promotions. While it differs for every company and customer base, we've seen correlations between average order value, lifetime value, direct mail response, and email response to the following data points:

  • Number of social networks someone is on
  • Whether they're on a particular network (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Influence scores (relevance, reach, and impact)
  • Social interest based on the content they publish

3. Lower Customer acquisition costs by tapping into your influencers

In a previous dmnews.com article, we discussed how to identify social media influencers who are already customers and likely to spread the word to drive new customer acquisitions while indirectly supporting sales and marketing efforts.  These people have the reach, relevance, and impact required to increase traffic, leads, and conversions.

They call them social networks for a reason, because people are connected to one another. We need to get over the model of targeting one person with just the few details we know about them. Instead we need to target them and measure the conversion that happens all around them. In other words, measure one customer to see how they convert, along with how their friends and family behave after the customer has received a targeted promotion. If that customer is likely to bring way more business into the mix through his friends and family, consider offering them a better discount or reward points if they're part of your loyalty program.

Ed Messman is CEO of SpotRight.

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