Social Data – Using Valuable Insights To Target Marketing Efforts

Social data is a broad term that covers the amassed sum total of all data generated through user interaction on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. The data generated has as many applications as social media users have interests, ranging from spending habits to cultural trends and political leanings. For the sake of brevity, the business implications of social data will be enough to tackle for now.

A person would be hard pressed to find a marketing department in corporate America that does not employ an active social media team. Students and recent graduates with a masters in business analytics or a masters in data analytics will find no shortage of demand for their expertise in the world of business.

By closely watching social data, marketers can analyze the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, derive valuable insight for the development of future products and services, sell existing products and services via social platforms, set pricing at a level that will most benefit both the consumer and the company itself, and even recruit the most qualified candidates available for positions within the company.

Types Of Social Data And How It Is Obtained

A considerable portion of the average American’s life is spent engaging in social media interactions. Much of what is said and done on social media holds no quantifiable value, in the business sense, but certain types of data can be incredibly beneficial to data analysts.

“While discussing human-generated data, we mean content that is produced through social technology-mediated interactions of people in social media platforms,” explains persuasive computing scholar Ekaterina Olshannikova, et al, in their 2017 paper, “Conceptualizing Social Data,” in the Journal of Big Data. “This category may contain digital-self representation data, technology-mediated communication data, and relationships data.”

Olshannikova’s three types of human-generated social data include:

  • Digital-self representation data – What people posts about themselves, including name, address, birthday, education, and tagged interests.
  • Technology-mediated communication data – What people post or comment on in communication with others, either in a one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many environment.
  • Relationships data – What can be derived through types of social media relationships, from friends lists to followers and followees.

Determining key performance indicators (KPIs) will help analysts to track the right kind of data for their purposes. KPIs can include business metrics from sales and retail, SEO (search engine optimization), marketing financial, supply chain, insurance, and help desk. The data gained by watching each of the metrics can reveal strengths and weaknesses in marketing campaigns.

The best KPIs for measuring and monitoring business performance include six important traits, according to Klipfolio’s blog post, “Introduction to Key Performance Indicators:”

  • Aligned – KPIs should be aligned to the strategic goals and objectives of the company.
  • Attainable – KPIs used should reference data that can be easily obtained.
  • Acute – KPIs need to keep everyone involved on the same page and moving toward the same goal.
  • Accurate – KPI data should be reliable.
  • Actionable – Does the insight provided by the KPI refer to an actionable situation.
  • Alive – KPIs need to be free to evolve along with the changing landscape of the company.

Some of the more popular types of KPIs are made to be easily accessible on social platforms. “Many platforms now offer native analytics tools to better enable marketers to track and analyze data,” IT authority Hannah Sears says in her article, “How To Use Social Data Analytics To Inform Your Marketing Strategy” on “Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and Google Analytics are a few of the platform tools available for social media analysis [to include popular] KPIs.”

What Social Data Means For Marketers

After social data has been obtained and analyzed, a marketing department can use it to create insights that can be invaluable to company decision makers. One of the most common applications of social data is campaign analysis.

“Social data will include mention volume, share of voice, impressions, and engagement,” writes marketing expert Kit Smith in his blog post, “10 Practical Applications For Social Data” on “These metrics can help you understand how far the campaign has reached, but will not tell who the people that saw it are or what they thought of it. For that, you can look at sentiment, chart emotional responses, and monitor brand associations. Listening for purchase intent language can reveal whether the advert actually drove people to buy your product.”

Marketers can also use the insights gained through social data analytics to target specific interests and trends with pertinent content. Data analysts can compare trends that they’ve discovered to overall internet trends. Tools such as Google Trends and follow search engine trends that reveal the up-to-date, most popular search terms every day. The results of this comparison can point content marketers in new directions and toward growing popular interests.

One of the most recent trends in content marketing involves the use of influencers. A quick glance at what the internet has to offer in terms of a specific product, brand, or industry will reveal experts, reviewers, internet celebrities, and other such personas who have amassed a large number of followers. Getting an influencer on board with your marketing campaign can effectively tap into the influencer’s entire list of followers. They will trust a company’s brand because they trust the influencer’s opinion about that brand’s products and/or services.

“Consider the economy of attention. Attention is a valuable resource and a growing commodity in the modern market,” claims beauty, lifestyle, and luxury influencer Kelly Ehlers in her article, “2017: The Year Of The Influencer,” in Forbes. “Consumers selectively choose where they spend their attention, and brands are adjusting their marketing investments to the channels where consumers are measured to invest their attention.”

Social data is becoming an inseparable part of modern marketing practices. The insights obtained through social data analytics reveal what potential customers are interested in and how information reaches customers where they are through targeted marketing campaigns and influencers.

The demand for business analytics experts lies at the heart of Maryville University’s online Master’s of Science in Business Data Analytics degree. Graduates of this online degree program can gain the skills to enter the workforce as statisticians, data scientists, data analysts, or actuaries.

At Maryville University, students can learn how to handle datasets, orchestrate multiple infrastructures, monetize data, and make decisions based on valuable analytics insights. Graduates will be exposed to the training and knowledge they will need to combine business operational data with the latest analytical tools, making them invaluable to employers.


Conceptualizing Social Data

Introduction to Key Performance Indicators

How To Use Social Data Analytics To Inform Your Marketing Strategy

10 Practical Applications For Social Data

2017: The Year Of The Influencer

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