For many large entities and older corporations, getting on board with social media is difficult—board members and officers find themselves burying their heads in the sand hoping Facebook and Twitter are passing trends, anticipating they won’t have to worry about engaging on these platforms for long. But social media is turning out have staying power. It’s definitely here to stay and is more powerful than radio, mailers, and even television ads, depending on the industry—and it generates big data in higher volumes. Knowing how people are behaving online in real time or by way of data aggregated over days, weeks, or months allows marketing and sales teams to reach out in more effective ways.

Big data generated by social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and even Instagram can help business ventures large and small provide better predictive analytics by exposing in very clear terms what customers are looking for in both product and service offerings. But perhaps most importantly for larger ventures, looking at the points in the day when your fans, followers, and other online consumers are most active, you can tailor everything from hours of operation, when customer service is available, and even determine which kind of customer service patrons are most likely to use: telephone, email submissions, or live online support via customer service chat systems.

The Millennial and young Gen X demographics are now more than ever counting on private messaging, text messaging, and 24-hour live support from the brands they’re loyal to. If this is your demographic or any part of your demography makeup, serving them online or by using channels they can access from their phones and tablets is imperative, and no longer a choice if you want to stay competitive.

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Image Via: The Marketing Robot

The old adage, “no audience, no show” tells us a lot about the world of social media and how important it is to harness the power of big data it generates. If your dream audience can’t see you, they can’t help but miss the boat on what you offer. To borrow a line from Donald E. Hults, “Unseen, untold, is unsold.” If you’re not engaging on social platforms, your story is definitely unseen and untold.

But it’s not just visibility online that matters; it’s what you’re offering via social channels that will make you even more visible. A method for compiling raw data about customers while also creating a higher volume of sales is to promote or “boost” posts on Facebook. Start small and see what happens. When you promote a post, include coupon codes, or direct traffic to a URL where special offerings and discounted goods can be purchased. Once the boosted post has run its course, you can review the data available about the post: how many likes and shares, how many people clicked on the URL you included, how many people saw the post organically, how many saw it as a result of promotion, and how many commented on the post. After boosting several posts, you will have aggregated enough big data about these transactions between posts and audience to determine what time of day is best to post, and what kinds of promotions the audience is responding to effectively: is it coupon codes, URLs where discounted items can be purchased, and most importantly, how many who viewed the post shared it on their timeline, growing visibility of your operation exponentially?

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Big data from social media works best when it is used in conjunction with other kinds of big data. For example, when a large company promotes a post on Facebook, they can generally expect at least a moderate response, and at most, a whopping, viral response. For example, the staff on-hand to answer calls or operate online chats for new customers can be analyzed; big data compiled about how long they stayed on the phone or how long chat sessions were can reveal a lot. By reviewing phone recordings between customer service representatives and clients and by reviewing transcripts of chat sessions, we can begin to see trends in how helpful staff is, how well they answered questions, and whether their etiquette is subpar, fair, or excellent.

By adding in a post-transactional survey that customers can answer via email, phone, or text message, you can compile more data about staff attitude and customer behavior following calls. Once a promoted post has run its course and phones stop ringing, private messages and emails stop rolling in, and visits to the website slow, a data report using website and social media analytics can be merged to reveal how many conversions were made, how many purchases were completed, how much inventory was sold, and what net profits are. You can determine how many people used coupon codes, and how many purchased otherwise discounted items.

Using big data to track customer behavior and use it to appeal to them—it’s what your clients have come to expect—and you can be sure competitors are on top of their game where big data in social media is concerned. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to hop on the social media bandwagon and make use of the big data available there.
Top Image Via: Elexico