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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 16, 2014

Are brands making the most of social

The social space is ripe with data - from shoppers favorite brands to what they had for dinner last night. The key is knowing what data is important to the brand and what is not. One expert weighs in on how brands are using social network data.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Social data is rich with shoppers' likes/dislikes and sometimes even recent purchases. Are brands making the most of social data?

Julie Perino, Senior Director of Marketing, DataSift: Big Data has been arguably the biggest revolution for marketers in decades. Tapping into vast amounts of social data is a powerful tool for marketers looking to understand how the public feels about a specific company, brand, product or topic. But many of the data sets companies want to join together comprise unstructured data (spontaneously generated and not easily captured or classified), making it very hard to understand and analyze. Brands are just starting to scratch the surface when it comes to using social data. Most have social listening and engagement down - that was 'Phase One'. The key is leveraging social data more deeply beyond these initial steps and providing actionable insight that allows marketers to make more informed business decisions that impact the bottom line. When leveraged fully, social data, combined with other enterprise data such as customer data, helps brands keenly understand how consumers arrive at purchase decisions, or what services or goods they may need in the near future. The opportunities are endless.

Kristina: How can retailers better capture and analyze social data to engage shoppers?

Julie: One of the biggest challenges for many large consumer companies is getting a single view of their customer - it's been a challenge for decades, with customers signing up for multiple loyalty cards, moving, and changing email addresses and phone numbers. Social media adds exponential complexity, with the massive volume of data generated daily. The potential to combine social data with other data types, such as customer data, is what excites me as a marketer: the ability to look at a holistic view of each consumer through a single lens. Companies spend a significant amount of time and money monitoring people's attitudes toward a specific brand or product, but right now most are not using this information effectively. To better engage shoppers, brands need a comprehensive view of social data coupled with traditional business data to make informed decisions. It goes beyond what audience to target with a certain message about the World Cup, for example, to knowing exactly how many commemorative jerseys to produce and sell across locations worldwide.

More from Julie and DataSift next week, including how some brands are using social data to engage and convert shoppers.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: consumer data, DataSift, social data, social marketing, social networks

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