We were lucky enough to host Simon Owen, PR Director of JESS3, a social media agency specializing in data visualization.  The agency is located here in DC and they do a lot of high profile work for the likes of ESPN, Samsung, Nielsen, …

Simon shared some experiences developing products for clients and advice to students in my Social Media Marketing Class at Howard University.  He also worked with several student teams giving them advice on specific social media tactics for their client firms.

Data Visualization in Social Media

If it’s true a picture paints a thousand words, then data visualization turns boring statistics into viral content that builds traffic and online reputation.  And the visualizations don’t have to be anything fancier than a bar chart or graph created from an Excel spreadsheet.  But, it helps to have the talent to create visual interest, such as the new tree introduced in collaboration with Eloqua identifying the best new blogs of 2011.

Where You Get Data

Data comes from everywhere.  You have data in your CRM system, your ordering system, your email list …  You can collect data — either primary (from surveys or questionnaires) or secondary data (from internet searches).  Or you can reanalyze someone else’s data to make it more meaningful.  For instance, take a look at the data to see if there are patterns in the data — like clusters by demographics or by type.  Then regroup the data and display it by group.

Or just do a better data visualization with some else’s data — just be sure to give them credit for their work.

What You Do With Your Data Visualization

  • Be sure to put your branding on the data visualization  — your logo, your color scheme, and hyperlink to your website
  • Put your data visualization up on Slideshare or YouTube or Scribd and be sure to add keywords that will bring search traffic to the visualization.
  • Blog about the data and the process of creating the data visualization or how someone might use information contained in the visualization strategically.
  •  Share your data visualization across social media and social bookmarking sites
  • Engage your tribe and get your followers to help spread the image by making it easy to RT and share.
  • Add share buttons so the data visualization can be easily Tweeted, embedded, and shared on social networks
  • I always add a create commons copyright so folks feel comfortable sharing the image, but recognize they can’t take credit for my work or change it without permission

Offline Sharing Opportunities

This was great advice from Simon and reflects how he shares content at JESS3 by reaching out to influencers, encouraging them to spread the data visualization (or video).

Contact blogs, websites, and email folks who wrote articles recently that can be linked to your data visualization.  People in charge of creating content are always looking for material to write about.  Make it easy for them to write about YOUR data visualization.

Simon recommends using Google News and other searchable databases to find related articles.  Then send authors a link to your data visualization and explain how it might provide fodder for another post.

Your Turn

Did you find this advice helpful? Do you have data that might become sharable content?