How Big Data Can Solve Marketers’ Social Engagement Challenges

A buzzword that’s been around for a while now, ‘big data’ refers to the increasing volume of data captured by an organisation via multimedia channels, social media and the internet. Together, this contributes to the growth in data and how it is used in the future; it is already becoming an important and inclusive part of marketing activities.
 
Here we discuss how big data can solve challenges with social engagement.
 

Engage with your customers through social

Customer engagement is a concept and strategy which for some, is approached from a more traditional angle, incorporating mass marketing, print and online adverts, plus email and direct mail in the mix. This campaign mentality is easy to both distribute, is relatively cost effective and familiar territory; although for a consumer, this could be seen as being intrusive as our society is becoming more used to being in control of consuming a message in an increasingly digital world.
 
Consumer’s digital participation should be taken advantage of by companies as a means of engaging with your audience. With the plethora of listening tools, inbound marketing programs, social networking channels and content management programs available, we are spoilt for choice in terms of monitoring consumer activity. Dedicated teams now exist in departments who manage these elements, some of which see some cross-overs with customer service in terms of providing responses to consumer messages.
 
While your company may have accumulated a mass following across one or many of your social media channels, this isn’t the necessarily the most important aspect. While numbers show a measurable statistic, it is engagement which is most relevant when attempting to measure ‘success’. By taking the time to listen to what your customer is saying, whatever the channel, acknowledging and replying to them, this is highly valued.
 
This requires resources: depending on the scale of your social audience, it may be impossible to respond to each person individually. But how do you choose which ones to take the time to reply to and which ones to ignore? Not only that, but taking engagement into account, with customer data being kept in separate systems, different types of file formats and different rules according to the network, this makes the process more expensive and not as efficient.
 
A new approach is needed to facilitate true customer engagement; one which is timely, relevant to the individual and specific channel, able to aggregate big and small customer data, combine it, then analyse to gain insights and direct the most efficient action.
 

Tips for using big data to improve customer experience:

Tip 1: Learn to understand big data

Marketers use data all the time; information used to determine reach, response and ROI, plus highlight customer behaviours and trends whether purchasing activity or traffic to the company website. However, make sure you KNOW what ‘big data’ is before you start – consider analyst Doug Laney’s three Vs: volume, velocity and variety, plus the more recently added veracity and value, when approaching anything data related.
 
Once you’re up to scratch with the term, big data solutions are more frequently appearing to help resolve data disconnections and lead to better, more integrated and engaged customer experiences. By combining big data with existing customer data, marketers can thus improve the ability to acquire new customers and retain current ones too. Marketing data is, and will be for a while, crucial to any campaign!
 

Tip 2: Capture all data; sift through to reach the gold

Following on from this, use tools as a cost-effective means of capturing and storing data, this will help to improve engagement and customer experience. From Facebook comments and likes to Twitter feeds, blogs and mobile vs. desktop activity, these tools managing data will allow you to gain access to the information as well as manipulating it for your business benefits. Not only that, but they can sift through big data to find valuable nuggets of ‘gold dust’. However, capture everything; don’t throw data away, you might be surprised by unanticipated consumer insights.
 

Tip 3: Start small then reap the benefits

Focusing on the ‘little’ data, make sure you acknowledge it and don’t dismiss it; success can depend on how it is used alongside big data to enhance it. By pulling together insights from social media streams, for example, to customer database information, this will enable you to gain a more comprehensive picture of your customer’s online behaviour. Establish consumer attitudes too, then from here, resolve customer identities so you can respond to the relevant people with a more targeted approach.

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