You’ve probably been reading a lot about Big Data lately, especially about the crippling volume of online conversations that has maxed out marketers’ attention spans. Still, the concept feels a bit overwhelming and the first thought that comes to mind can sometimes be that you’ll hardly find a use for Big Data unless you’re the White House, an intelligence agency or a large corporation.
But converging Big Data with social media analytics can enable your marketing department to carry out sales optimization strategies based on statistics, or to personalize your clients’ experience based on their online behavior. This can go as far as targeted buying suggestions (offering prospects a promotion for a product that’s been staying in their virtual basket for days, or sending a thank you tweet from the author of an ebook they just downloaded). Gone are the days of the generic marketing blast – why would you do that when you can tailor your messages to fit every stage of the customer journey?
Instead, you can use Big Data tactics to ensure you’re building a stronger relationship with your customers and that you’re always one step ahead of the market – you need to prevent, not to react. You can gain a competitive advantage on the market by successfully tackling all the incoming web data to build an accurate portrait of your customers, of the overall market trends and even of your own organization’s flow of operations. This could also be of great help when it comes to justifying your social media expenses – the more findings you have to back up your decisions and spending, the better.
Big Data isn’t about the Big Data, but rather is all about making better business decisions using the insights gained from analyzing structured and unstructured data that is available. If one focuses solely on “Big Data” and forgets the business context/how the data is going to be used, one is likely to miss wood for trees. (Harish Kotadia)
You’re probably already monitoring social media for your company, and you have all this information organized in databases. You can look at historical data and analyses of past information, but when it comes to really applying it to your goals, you often find yourself in a dead end. Here’s how Big Data can give you the Big answers:
1. Create complex customer profiles using Big Data patterns
Today, the world’s online activity produces big amounts of data that should be used to their fullest. Important correlations can be drawn from the extensive data that companies are gathering from social media right now, like the meaning of a specific set of steps that lead to the actions you’re interested in (buying your service, subscribing to your webinar, liking your page or reading your book) and the reasons behind it.
By asking the right questions (What drove your clients to click that specific application in your product? Who in their social graph recommended your service to them? What websites or online platforms did they visit before arriving at your virtual doorstep?) you’ll be able to visualize potential outcomes for people’s actions based on their real-time behavior. You may even be able to predict your customers’ purchase intent, by connecting demographic segments to specific social media channels and stages of the buying process. And you couldn’t have gotten all of this data by phone or a traditional survey, that’s for sure.
2. Help your departments work together with Big Data insights
You have the carefully mapped-out customer profiles, you know what they like and where they hang out online. So the next step is to understand what the data is saying to you and act based on the data you captured and analyzed. You can strengthen the connection between departments by decreasing technical support times using social information about your clients, or by sending social leads straight to the Sales department immediately after they reach out, not after they’ve gone through the entire sales funnel.
This way, you’re basically supporting your clients each step of the customer life cycle, without making them waste time, while at the same time getting your job done faster. Targeting advertising is much easier when you know exactly what offer performs better in which medium, when’s the right time to share it and what’s the demographic that’s most likely to respond to your message.
3. Identify new markets and improve your products using Big Data research
Social media works like a huge market research tool, if you know what data to look at. It can help you understand how your current clients are using your product, and then optimize it or try tapping in to new markets. Use the stories that have surfaced out from your monitoring activities to understand what a particular community is interested in. Monitor competitors to determine their strengths and weaknesses, to look out for what they’re doing to innovate in your space, to adjust your pricing strategies and even anticipate industry developments.
Sentiment analysis is a real time assessment of how people feel and can be used to direct a campaign’s outcome into a different direction, should your initial predictions turn out to be wrong. You can also use it to identify drivers of customer engagement, whether positive or negative, which can in turn help you develop relevant content and improve customer segmentation by building a profile for new audiences. By locating and empowering brand evangelists, you’re opening your community to new prospects that will get drawn in by the recommendation of people whose opinion they value.
Like we said when we launched uberVU Signals, with social media you’re standing on a gold mine – and that’s the data flowing into your mentions streams everyday. Getting social insights from these large scale data sets can transform business entirely. The next level of social media is figuring out how your business can make sense of Big Data. Once you have the knowledge, all that’s left to do is apply it.
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