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Recent surveys suggest that 80% of marketers worldwide plan to use social media data to enhance their overall marketing efforts. However, more than 40% of marketers cite lack of analytics capabilities as a factor that prevents them from effectively collecting social media data.

This presents a significant challenge that needs to be overcome in order for marketers to tailor social communications in ways that encourage meaningful engagement.

Enhancing the quality of engagement will increase loyalty among your social audience and more effectively guide them down the path to purchase. As such, marketers should place a premium on fostering social relationships that add tangible value and incentives to the customer experience. But how do you do this without understanding your social audience?

Let’s use Facebook as an example: In Q4 alone, marketers spent nearly $1.6 billion in Facebook advertisements. As brands continue to leverage Facebook as a powerful marketing vehicle, it’s important to recognize that the rich amount of consumer data collected on its platform also makes Facebook the world’s most robust and reliable CRM database.

Who are the people behind all those likes?

It’s clear that marketers can learn a lot about their social audience based on the data Facebook provides. For instance, when you pair Facebook Login with a marketing campaign, you’re granted permission to access information surrounding your fans’ likes and interests, status updates and check-ins, and lifestyle and demographic information.

This information is extremely useful and can provide crucial insight on how best to engage your audience with relevant and compelling content that deepens the customer relationship. For example, a deeper understanding of your Facebook audience can help you identify that while cause marketing will attract a certain type of consumer, a photo contest will attract a much different type of consumer.

By analyzing this data and making it work for you, marketers can shape more relevant content, offer highly targeted promotions, and drive future decision making, such as buying more targeted and efficient Facebook media.

Here are some practical tips on how you can accomplish this:

Use data to optimize existing likes

Consumers expect something in return when they Like your brand on Facebook; however, many marketers fail to deliver on this crucial aspect of the social relationship. In fact, ExactTarget has reported that 51% of a brand’s fans rarely or never visit their Facebook page after Liking them. And getting consumers in the door in the first place is becoming harder, as 71% of fans say they have become more selective about Liking companies on Facebook overall.

Marketers should view the social relationship as a key way to deepen brand loyalty by providing valuable content and incentives to share your brand with others. The key to achieving this ideal relationship is by focusing on relevancy. And the best way to increase the relevancy of your communication is by knowing more about your fans.

Think about it this way: if you’re on a date and all you know about the other person is their age and where they live, how good of a conversation can you possibly have? You can talk a lot about yourself, but if you don’t know much about the other person, two-way engagement is not as feasible. It should be obvious that the more you know about the person sitting across from you, the easier it will be to engage around areas that interest them.

The same applies when it comes to engaging your Facebook audience -- you will add increased relevancy to fan communication the more you know about them. Here are three key areas to focus on:

  1. Tailor content to your audience: It’s easy to tell your customers what your brand is all about, but that’s a one-sided conversation. Harness analytics to provide information about your social audience so you can deliver content that is relevant and engaging to them. Understanding what your fans are interested in will enable you to tailor your content stream and future promotions in ways that are more relatable.
  2. Identify partnership and sponsorship opportunities: You can also use analytics to identify possible partnerships between your brand and others that interest your fans. Looking at their favorite movies or television shows, for example, can guide your advertising tactics or lead you to product placement opportunities.
  3. Know who your competition is: Pay attention to who your competition is among your brand's fan base and how they're targeting your followers, as well as their own. Sure, if you're a sporting goods retailer, it’s easy to identify if your fan base also follows your closest competitor. But your competition is not always your peer. A consumer's like-base likely includes a diverse group of brands and interests, so it is your job as a marketer to find commonality and devise educated strategies based on the larger picture.

Grow your audience

Mastering your social analytics can also be an effective way to drive new Likes and enhance the growth of your overall social audience.

For example, Facebook advertising allows you to very specifically target potential consumers based on their likes and interests. Once you’ve gained a firm understanding of what your existing audience is interested in, you can use Facebook advertising to target the same customer profile among different groups of people. The more you know about your current audience--and the more specific you can be in your targeting--the more cost effective and impactful your advertising will become.

Make the data work for you

Focusing your efforts on the analytics behind your social audience will empower you to take a more knowledge-based approach to the way you market to social consumers. Not only will effective use of social data manifest itself in more engaged audiences, it will also help shape a more cohesive and efficient marketing strategy.

Matthew Kates

Published 7 March, 2013 by Matthew Kates

Matt Kates is Vice President, Strategic Services at HelloWorld and is a contributor to Econsultancy.

19 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

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Nick Stamoulis

"71% of fans say they have become more selective about Liking companies on Facebook overall."

That doesn't surprise me. I don't want my feed overflowing with messages from brands I liked once upon a time to get a coupon. I've read that Facebook is the place to connect with existing customers but it sounds like even then you have to give those existing customers a real reason to connect with you.

about 3 years ago

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