Since the rise of the social customer, there has been a dramatic increase of available information about customer behavior. According to 2013 statistics, 6 out of 10 Americans have a profile on at least one social networking site — Wow! Amazingly enough, according to Edison Research, the stat jumps to 3 out of 4 when looking at ages between 18 and 54. Today, most smart businesses have already caught on by increasing their social efforts, but many are not adequately leveraging the valuable info that social sites can offer.
To really benefit from social media and increase social media ROI, you should understand how your efforts can improve real business opportunity and improve intelligence around audience behavior. Active social campaigns might be great for increasing brand awareness, promoting new offers, and growing your online community, but there’s also a tremendous amount of untapped value in social data. Collect strategic information about your target audience and potential customers. Gain a comprehensive overview of the social customer, identify different personas, and then learn how to use past behavior and current trends to predict and drive future actions.
Technology provides an easy way to achieve this. Most companies already have a CRM in place. But, your CRM solution doesn’t contain the full story. A true 360 degree view of the customer comes from utilizing other resources. Social media, analytics, purchasing history, and other data sources help paint a complete picture, including:
– Identity: Key demographic info, such as gender, age, earning power, location, and education
– Past behavior: Purchasing habits, decision trends, and preferences
– Relationships: Associations, employers, even colleagues and friends
– Interests: night owl or morning person, events attended, other products/services they like, etc.
– Key drivers: Critical reactions to marketing initiatives, both internally and externally
Online technology can help drill down data into appropriate segments to create the foundation of a 360 degree view of the social customer. Depending on what data is available, a much clearer — and more detailed — picture can be determined. Then, you can make the right decisions and tap into the right resources to drive business. Social apps like Sysomos, Spredfast, and UberVU can help you visualize high-level social data easily, but social profiles can give you even more detailed information on the individual level — giving you a more insightful perspective.
Public LinkedIn profiles vary in available information. However, most people’s public profiles provide a snapshot of the person’s professional identity — work history, education, and associations. These factors are critical in demographic decision making, giving insight into how the customer might think and behave, even what a potential budget might be. And if they’re not the right decision maker, chances are they’re connected to the person that is. Use this resource paired with data around your closed deals, to get a better understanding of your target market and refine job positions and titles to hit. Identify commonalities among background, skills & expertise, groups they are members of, and news they are following. This will spark creative new ways to market to your audience.
While LinkedIn offers a professional perspective, personal social media provides a glimpse into a customer’s psyche. Some of this is explicit, like which brands they publicly Like. Others can be inferred based on activity or public status updates. Like LinkedIn, this is dependent on privacy settings — but even the smallest amount of data helps humanize a potential customer and provides a competitive edge. For consumer products and services, people are more likely to promote and recommend them to their Facebook friends. Make sure to keep a close eye on who is mentioning you and what else they are recommending. Learn why this persona is your “target cheerleader” and your best bet for word-of-mouth marketing. Also, consider striking up a partnership with socially active businesses that offer complimentary products, that go hand-in-hand with what you’re providing.
Twitter histories go back a long, long, long time, all in a very public way. An active Twitter account not only provides remarkable insight into what a customer thinks, but also how he or she views social media — that in itself provides key demographic data which can be categorized into general spending habits for various personas. Pay close attention to comments about other products whether it’s positive or negative. This will give you a ton of insight of the expectations of products and services. Target people that will become cheerleaders for your business. If they’re tweeting about products and businesses that they love, you’re sure to be mentioned too. The social customer can give you more insight and help you grow your business at the same time.
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the most adopted social media networks, but feel free to explore others like Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. to gather even more information. As you now know, social media can give you an in-depth look at an individual’s details, giving you a 360 degree view. The next step is to use this data to determine future customer behavior and to be there when it happens. In our next article, we’ll take a look at how social behavior and big data can help you predict the future.