Too often, social media is treated dismissively as a cursory marketing channel. In typical, high-level marketing dashboards, progress in social is measured as an increase in the number of followers or post engagement over time.
But when mixed with other data sources, social media can tell a much more interesting story. At the recent Gartner Data & Analytics Conference held in Texas, Gartner research director Jenny Sussin shared that one of the main reasons marketers are failing at social analytics is because people are measuring social data in a silo.
I couldn’t agree more.
If you’re stuck in the silo, here are four ways to break free and mix your social data with other information to reveal real, business-impacting insights.
Create a ‘social-plus’ brand awareness strategy
Do people know who you are? Social channels can often be the first place people go to learn more about your company’s product and services. But there are additional and newly emerging channels that could be great mediums to generate buzz around your brand, so it’s useful to marry other marketing source systems with social data. This way you can fully understand how people are viewing and talking about your brand.
Take, for example, tying together your social listening data with your engagement and amplification data from your paid, owned and earned social media efforts. Now, for the first time, you can understand if those conversations and audiences are in alignment.
Next, layer in your top branded keyword data from your search-engine-optimization and search-engine-marketing initiatives. Evaluate: Do your leading keywords offer insight into the topics you cover in your social and content programs?
Next, how are you doing vis a vis the competition? How about looking at your best-performing organic website and blog traffic data for new visitors? How do these topics and audiences compare with your inbound press and analyst relations referral traffic data?
These are just some examples of how looking at multiple customer touch points within a single view can provide greater clarity about how your customers—and the market at large—are buzzing about or finding your respective brand.
Ground your owned and paid media in sound social market research
Based on your sales data, you can develop a high-level understanding of the most popular products or features you offer. But answering why customers value those particular products and features on a deeper, unique level can be trickier.
With social listening tools, you can go beyond analyzing positive or negative brand sentiment to see which attributes of your offerings are inspiring passion and conversation. By asking the right questions in your social listening, you can understand if pricing, shipping incentives, promotions or key differentiators are what win your customers’ hearts or draw their ire.
Combine these revelations with your owned and paid media data (e.g., your promotional email and video advertising), and you can validate if your value proposition is the same as your customers’ views.
Know your audience and pick the right social channels
Expert marketers are able to pinpoint exactly who their target audience is. But what about across different social channels?
Demographics like gender, nationality or age can differ vastly by social channel. So make sure you’re tailoring your campaigns before using the same messaging across your channels. For example, a Snap Ad for nursing homes might not excel on Snapchat, where 60 percent of users are under 25.
Delve into the demographics specific to your social media accounts and audience first—but look further. Mix what you find with other demographic data from your website or your most successful data-management-platform-based audience campaigns, for example.
This approach will give you a better understanding of where the demographically diverse segments of your audience can be found for a more highly targeted social channel mix.
Make social a ‘centralized’ component of everything you do
Social is no longer an untested, experimental mix of tools and technologies. It has earned its place in the modern marketing mix. And just like your other marketing programs, it needs to be centralized with the rest of your marketing channels to see its cross-channel impact and how it affects the customer journey.
Major companies are leveraging this approach, and one such example is Electronic Arts.
Maybe you want to know which days are best to run promotions for your most valuable audiences. To inform your decision, you can look at the days and times when your audiences engage with your social posts, and which times yield the most click-throughs to your website and drive form completions.
By analyzing the depth of user engagement with your social posts and mixing that with data from across your website, you can determine the best time to send emails or pay for search, display ads or promoted social posts.
Another idea: Look at how social interacts with your other media to see correlations and synergies. Your offline TV ads can drive your social engagement and conversations. By seeing this correlation, your teams can work together to create better media plans that translate into a seamless experience for your customers and a more measureable framework for campaigns.
Finally, you can connect your customer journey to yield your elusive social return on investment metrics.
If your social media is driving form completions on your website via HubSpot, which then trigger your lead management in Salesforce, you should connect these stages with your data. This way you create a single view of the customer that augments your CPM (cost per thousand impressions), cost per engagement and cost per lead metrics with deeper insights into each program and campaign’s cost per acquisition, ROI and audience preferences to better measure your true social impact.
Most companies’ social media channels have a wealth of insights waiting to be unlocked. I urge you to mix your social data with other marketing source systems to see just how much you can uncover.
Have a social data recipe you’d like to share? Share it in the comments.
Image courtesy of aelitta/iStock.