More than just a platform to get your brand known to a wider audience, social media is a significant source of consumer behavior data that can help you improve your overall marketing strategy and, ultimately, your ROI.
Why track social media behavior
Consider social media’s massive influence on the buyer’s journey. In an International Data Corporation global survey, a vast majority of top-level business executives (84%) and B2B customers (75%) said they used Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to make company purchasing decisions.
Having a social media presence isn’t enough to connect with these decision-makers. Dig deep into their motivations. What makes them tick? What turns them off? How do they choose products and services to buy?
The key to unlocking such mystery? Track consumer behavior on social media. Probe into the vast amount of data from your audience’s social media activities to better understand their interests, needs, and pain points.
Remember: you’re competing against other brands on social media. Gain your competitive edge with a data-informed approach to social media marketing. It can spell the difference between just being present versus being relevant to your audience.
Pulling behavioral data from social media
For starters, social media data (also called social data) is the information gathered from your target audience’s social media activities—from likes, shares, and mentions to clicks and conversions.
When you collect and analyze data using social media monitoring tools such as HootSuite and Facebook Insights, you’ll see behavioral patterns that help you understand what drives the success and failure of your campaigns.
Other ways to pull consumer behavior data from social media include using hashtags (especially useful in tracking brand mentions) and providing Wi-Fi connectivity in live marketing events.
Using social media data for better marketing efforts
After drawing insights from the social media data you’ve collected, use your understanding of consumer behavior to step up your marketing efforts across platforms and channels.
Here are four meaningful ways to leverage behavioral data from social media.
1) Create viral marketing campaigns
An apparent benefit of using social data is amplifying digital marketing campaigns. Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful campaign in 2016 is a proof that understanding behavioral data makes for a successful marketing strategy.
The personal care brand invested in a tool that analyzed millions of Twitter mentions and generated real-time data visualizations showing positive and negative words that women used. It found that around 80% of women tweeted body-shaming comments about themselves. Dove built the campaign around that data, encouraging women to use more uplifting words when talking about beauty and body image on social media.
The campaign’s results are groundbreaking. In one year, the brand achieved 36.8% decrease in body-shaming comments on Twitter, 17% brand sentiment increase, 800 million social media impressions, 168,000 hashtag mentions, and 63% sales increase.
2) Track and connect with social influencers
Build relationships with the top influencers and brand advocates in your niche. This way, you can get your marketing messages to more potential customers and improve your social media ROI.
Start your influencer search by using social media data. Tools such as BuzzSumo and Followerwonk can help you find your brand’s most influential followers. You can also follow the social conversations with brand-related hashtags that your prospective influencers are using. Once you’ve identified and found your ideal influencers, engage with them and reward them with perks.
US wireless network operator T-Mobile tapped into social data (plus transaction data from its CRM and billing systems) to monitor and identify customers who could influence the wireless carrier choices of people in their social networks. The company gave special privileges to its influencers. Because of its influencer strategy informed by data, the company reduced its customer turnover rate by 50% in a single quarter.
3) Segment audiences based on buyer’s journey stage
Using behavioral data from social media, you can sort your prospects and customers based on what stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in. Your data-informed audience segmentation will enable you to make your lead management process more efficient and effective.
For example, people who engaged with social media content for the Awareness stage could be nurtured with more informative and relevant content. Those who engaged with content for the Decision stage, meaning they’re sales-ready, will be passed to the Sales team.
4) Tailor personalized content experiences
Combine social data with your content strategy, and you’ll be giving your prospects and customers the personalization they need and expect. Using behavioral data culled from social media makes it easy for marketers to craft content that users will love and share.
Customize content experiences based on the content topics people are most engaged with. People who often click on and convert from a specific topic could be served with more content on the same topic via social media, email, and other appropriate channels.
Wimbledon took its social media game a step further when it used predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) in 2016 to deliver customized content to its 70 million online fans and new audiences worldwide.
The world’s most prestigious tennis tournament used an AI-powered analytics platform that provided insights on the most engaging sports themes among fans on social media during the event. This allowed Wimbledon’s digital team to deliver content that fans would appreciate based on their social discussions.
A Brandwatch analysis noted the overwhelming global response to Wimbledon 2016, with up to 200,000 social mentions every day on the tournament’s first week. Wimbledon had the world talking about its sponsors, high-profile attendees, and players (with Serena Williams and Andy Murray amassing the highest social mentions).
“Social media is a behavioral shift, not a broadcast medium.” Social Media Today’s Andrew Hutchinson couldn’t have said it any better. Many marketers get too wrapped up in how social media channels work and which ones to use for a specific campaign. Of course, channels are important; you have to be where your target audience is. But there’s more to strategic marketing than just that.
Rather than being ‘obsessed’ with the medium, why don’t you focus your strategies on the users of the medium? Understanding people’s behavior on social media could very well raise your chance of winning the social media marketing race.