At some level, social media is simply a strong and deep "data capture". The consumer’s ongoing willingness to particpate daily (Facebook), or even moment by moment (Twitter and Foursquare) will provide smart marketers rich data for for years to come.
For example, obtaining a LIKE from Facebook allows the marketer to capture a great deal of information about me, my likes and dislikes. Layer that with Foursquare who can tell you where I go and how I spend my time and Twitter which will tell you what I am interested in…
You can see that being able to capture all that data and then being able to analyze the data looking for specific business & marketing opportunities will be the primary task of the marketer in the years to come. Our role as marketer will change. Or should I say the way we make our marketing decisions will change.
In the past, doing research to this level would have been too time consuming and too expensive. It would have used up a good part of the marketing budget just figuring what to do, instead of using that budget to actually do it. But the acceptance – even welcoming – of social media apps by the consumer has provided data-driven marketers with a utopian world. The data is free. The analytics and mining is not, but using real-time data to inform our marketing decisions is now a very real option. Instead of just using gut feel (mixed with a bit of research at times), watching our competitors and adding in our understanding and knowledge of the market to inform our promotions and advertising in order to drive sales, we can actually use current, accurate data.
In this new social media marketplace we see the opportunity for data to be the driving force. Accurately captured data, properly analyzed will give a marketer a huge edge in the market. By the time your competitor figures out what you are doing, you have already eaten their lunch and you have an eye on their dinner! That’s why the big brands are all over social media. They know there are nuggets of gold in there, or should I say nuggets of data?
In the marketing/business world we grew up in, all of our moves were very public (mass market) as was our competitors. In this social marketplace, your tactics and strategies are not public unless you want them to be. So they had better be well informed – ie; grounded in solid data analytics.
All this to say it may be wise to take the next step. Your engagement in social media need not be frivolous and “a waste of time and resources” as some traditional business managers believe. Perhaps it’s time to start using data provided by social media apps, to help drive your key marketing decisions.