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What Marketers Can Learn From One, Two, Three Levels of Data

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We live in a time of memes and one-hit wonders. In most cases, what’s trending one moment will be an afterthought in a matter of days. Most CMOs and marketers who understand that fact strive to create both relevant and timely content to engage with very dynamic audiences.

Understanding the interests of those audiences is incredibly valuable data. Ultimately, it will shape how brands create content and effectively market to them better.

The sad fact is that, despite creating billions of social data points each day---a study by the Columbia Business School and the New York American Marketing Association tells us---only 35% of marketers are collecting social content from customers, and of that, only 33% are tracking ties to customers in social media. What an incredibly huge missed opportunity.

Brands must collect and analyze social data and understand what’s relevant to their target customer. By doing this, they can gain incredible insight from threelevels of data.

Social Customer Data: A Breakdown

Brands should look at social customer data through three levels: high-, mid-, and individual-level data. Each of the three lenses can bring into focus different insights that can used to make marketing more effective.

1. High-Level Data

The broadest view of social connections, high-level data points will uncover who is actually interacting with brands in social in aggregate. Learning the high-level facts about the social connections across multiple presences (possibly hundreds for a global brand) offers insight for categories like gender, state, city, and age.

Tools like Facebook Insights provide data about who fans are, where they live, how old they are, etc. Social media monitoring will help brands engage in active and passive listening to gather feedback from their customers. Being able to know these data points for a variety of social channels helps understand what segments of an overall customer base are tied to social media, helping brands create content that can be effectively repurposed across channels. It also helps guide where content creation and community response resources should be focused and how to tailor the message to the sub-segments of audience that are connected to social spaces.

2. Mid-Level Data

A hybrid of high-level data and individual-level data that relates to each person’s interests and social activity, mid-level data is arguably the most fascinating of the three data sets.

When broad, high-level filters get paired with more specific pieces of data, things start to get even more interesting. Being able to segment social customer data means unlocking insights about them that wouldn’t otherwise be revealed.

By pairing general, high- and specific, individual-level data, brands can conduct social segmentation that answers questions like...

  • How many married women subscribe to a YouTube channel?

  • How many fans follow Grumpy Cat on Twitter or Boo on Facebook?

  • How many users under 30 in California Like a brand's Facebook Page and follow the company on Twitter?

While these filter combinations will each provide insights, brands should also compare social customer findings with other marketing data sets to see how they match up. Are the target segments they’re shooting for as a brand reflect who is actually connected to them in social media? Just as social listening can illuminate new demographics that are attracted to a brand, pulling this insight from their database of existing connections is possible, too. Plus, knowing more about social audiences will help shape content calendars, social ad strategies, and long-term goals.

3. Individual-Level Data

By taking a microscope to their data, brands will find each of their social connections---the customers who they’re aiming to reach one by one to develop relationships and strengthen a connection via social. Capturing profile information and interaction history for each social connection creates a go-to resource for getting to know customers.

For community management teams, individual-level data is invaluable when interacting with people one-on-one in social media. Knowing about each customer makes subsequent interactions richer and helps identify brand advocates. It helps everyone on social response teams view each customer for who each person is personally---making interactions more authentic and personalized. These “social profiles” will prove to be invaluable as they uncover characteristics about audiences that ultimately inform a smarter marketing behavior.

Dive in deeper to mid-level segments to learn more about how teams are interacting with members of that group. For instance, a snack brand may view individual profiles of this segment: mothers living in New York who Like them on Facebook and have indicated they like a particular flavor over another, which has been included as a field in a newsletter sign-up form. Spotting subtle trends early and supplementing with social media monitoring efforts will help stay ahead of the game.

By viewing data through these three lenses, brands savvy marketers can gain an upper hand on the 65% of marketers who have yet to see the value.

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Aaron Everson is president and chief strategy officer of social relationship platform Shoutlet.

LinkedIn: Aaron Everson

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