There are more than three billion Internet users worldwide, and over two billion of them have active social media accounts. Social media platforms have become marketing machines, generating invaluable data for businesses.
Today, using social media isn’t an option; it’s a must-do. Data from these platforms offer the business intelligence you need not only to stay competitive but also to stay ahead of the curve.
There are several types of data, but it’s personal data— demographics, location, contact information, likes, dislikes and more—that social media serves up and the business intelligence it offers is invaluable.
You can pull web and transactional data from the Internet, too, such as traffic sources, landing page referrals, click-through rates and total blog traffic. Transactional data is anything requiring an action—clicking on an ad, purchasing an item or simply visiting a web page. Almost every website collects transactional data of some kind.
There are 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion Facebook Likes and more than 80 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram every day. This massive amount of data enables businesses to gain valuable insights into their customers —who they are, where they are, what they like and dislike, what they buy and how they feel.
“Businesses of any size, industry and location can use data,” says Pat Romanelli, associate vice-president, Technology Sector at National Bank. “The importance of data analysis cannot be overlooked. It can drive meaningful changes to many areas including marketing strategy, risk strategy, client retention and optimizing campaigns across several channels.”
With the wealth of data available, it’s critical for businesses to properly track the information that is relevant to them.
An effective marketing strategy is essential for business growth; personal, web and transactional data will have the most impact on your strategy.
In addition to gaining customer insight, data collected from social media can boost business growth in a variety of ways. Social media platforms allow you to engage directly with consumers. Connecting with your customers increases brand awareness and loyalty while making it easier to find you online by boosting your web traffic and search ranking.
Investing in social media for your business is beneficial to your bottom line. The cost of an account is free on most platforms. With the data you collect from followers and traffic, you have the option of increasing your brand presence by running targeted advertising based on location, employment, age, gender and more. Social advertising is inexpensive compared to traditional advertising. According to Adweek, 1,000 individuals can be reached on social media for a fraction of the cost compared to television, print, billboards or e-mail. And targeted ads ensure your product and message appear to the demographic you’re after.
How you track data will depend on a number of factors. “Navigating the world of data tools is a challenge given all of the options available,” says Romanelli. “I suggest choosing a data tool based on skill set, project and features required.”
The rise of social media has led to the creation of analytics tools to extract, organize and analyze information from this relatively new world. Popular tools include Hootsuite, 33Across, Brandwatch, Google Analytics, Buffer, LocalResponse, Moz Analytics, Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, SpoutSocial, and Topsy.
Social media offers the opportunity to really listen to—not just hear—what your customers and potential customers are talking about: what they think about your company or product, how they feel about your competition and how engaged they are in your market. Collect and analyze the data and the insights you glean will contribute to a marketing strategy that means business.
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