How Businesses Can Leverage Social Media Data: Now and in the Future

Social media’s rise has been meteoric. In the last decade or so, the use of social platforms to connect on individual and commercial levels has changed the face of marketing. This makes social media a necessity, especially for small businesses.

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Any business attempting to tap into a broader audience — locally or otherwise — can utilize social media data to achieve their goals. With most social media platforms including their own analytic insights, much of this data is open for your use. In other cases, you’ll want to tap into third-party data analytics platforms.

Regardless of the approach you take for your business, the benefits of social media data are undeniable. Social media data is the present and future of business success, so get started now.

Here’s how.

The Benefits of Social Media Data

Social media has become a marketplace of data. Consumers gladly share their likes and dislikes, their preferences, challenges, and desires all over a medium that over 72% of adults access. For any business, this visibility and data provide myriad benefits.

Here are just a few ways big data use can benefit any venture with an online component:

  • Improved customer experience through high-volume, quality feedback
  • Greater insight into customer behaviors and preferences
  • More efficient marketing strategies due to better customer personas
  • Greater visibility across markets
  • Cost-effective approaches for broader audience outreach

All of these benefits can be built into a business strategy through the integration and analysis of social media data. With insights providing everything from customer demographics to intersecting market needs, social media can improve your business, growing your revenues, audience, and customer satisfaction.

The best part is, social media data can be utilized now.

How Businesses Can Leverage Data Now

Perhaps the integration of social media data into your current business strategy seems a little daunting. It doesn’t have to be. With handy, often-free tools available online, anyone can dive into big data analysis to improve their approach to business.

Here are three simple steps to help you get started on your data journey:

1. Get a handle on your tools.

For any business just getting started on a platform that integrates social media data, you’ll want to start with the tools readily available to you. All the big social media networks — sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn — give you information about those interacting with your content. These are great places to start when beginning to leverage social media data.

Look to the following for customer demographics, times spent on pages, content engagement, and more:

  • Facebook Analytics
  • Twitter Analytics
  • Instagram Insights
  • LinkedIn Page Analytics
  • Pinterest Analytics
  • Snapchat Insights

All these are free tools available to business accounts, either directly on the platform or through third-party sites and applications. They collate and analyze your data in neat dashboards that can help you get a better grasp on your audience and see exactly where your content is working.

Additionally, third-party big data analytics tools can help you understand broader markets to see where you could be better marketing and reaching out to your customers. Here are a few tools to look into:

  • Google Analytics
  • Tableau
  • Xplenty
  • Microsoft Azure HDInsight

With your data collected and ready for processing, you put yourself in a position for improvement. Find where your business can improve and proceed to set your goals.

2. Set your goals.

The potential for social media data to improve your business processes is virtually limitless. But utilizing this data properly requires you to set clear goals for your business. Set modern priorities for your data strategy to know where to target your efforts.

Here are a few areas where might want to improve upon:

  • Marketing

Perhaps the most obvious place for social media data, a marketing strategy can thrive through effective use of customer information. Not only can you see how your content is currently succeeding or failing, but you can also segment your audience for better, varied marketing approaches.

  • Customer Service

Customer satisfaction is everything. With the help of social media, you can create a process for efficient customer outreach and communication. By analyzing when customers are reaching out, what they are saying, and where they might be encountering issues, you can create a better customer service experience overall.

  • Products and Services

By listening to your customers via social media feedback, you may begin to understand needs and improvements to your products and services you might never have thought of otherwise. Utilizing the information users freely give you can help you enhance every element of your business to the best effect.

Set your goals in one or more of these areas to know exactly where you want to target your analysis and usage of social media data.

3. Improve your processes.

Finally, you need to apply what you have learned from customer engagement with social media to leverage business and marketing procedures for success.

This can take a variety of forms, influenced by the goals you set for your data. Perhaps you are looking for better customer interactions and engagement. Perhaps you are seeking a marketing strategy that reaches an entirely new audience.

Data generated through social media can be applied to all these processes and more. Along the way, even the manner in which you gather and use this data can improve. Executives want data analytics they can trust, and by constantly revising your data policy quality, you can provide that trust.

The Future of Social Media Data in Business

Already, the use of social media data is transforming online business. Every time you log in to a website, you see ads personalized for you based on your data. Much of this personalization comes through social media insights, how a business has come to understand customer behavior and preferences.

From its humble beginnings, social media analytics has come a long way. And it has a bright future. With the rise of AI and machine learning processes that can constantly customize and craft marketing data to appeal to every individual, social media data will be increasingly important in the future of business.

For now, companies can begin a strategy of gathering tools, setting goals, and improving processes. In the future, data usage will be an integral part of any business strategy, for monitoring interactions, making recommendations, and even creating content.

Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and digital marketing topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.

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