Big Data: A Catalyst for Innovation in Social Media Marketing

big-data-and-social-mediaThe explosion of innovation is a pervasive phenomenon, every time when we think that marketers are satiated and we began settling down with the innovations, somebody brings some new terminology and the haste begins from square one. We are talking about this because this has repeated once more and the term is called “Big Data” which also has the potential to have significant impact on Social Media.

Big Data refers to vast amount of data in a structured and unstructured form having five dimensions- volume, variety, velocity, value and veracity. Volume depicts the quantity of that which is massive you can call it as mountain of data and millions of terabytes surging around. Variety is about multiple arrays of data in structured form, unstructured form, multi-factor and probabilistic like audio, video, click streams, social media and various others. Velocity defines the speed with data is collected and processed. Value whether statistical, events, correlations and hypothetical. Veracity in terms of trustworthiness, authenticity, reputation, availability and accountability. These 3 Vs collectively helps in framing right data management strategy.

What makes Big Data so Big and How does it affect social media?

As per some report, 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past two years. And it will only get big as traffic from smart phones, PCs, and tablets keep on outpacing. It is reported that 87% of world’s population are the mobile subscribers and 604 million users log-in to Facebook monthly from mobile devices and 84 million users access Twitter via mobile. With so many subscribers on social media increasing every day volume of digital content is also increasing massively.

Although information gathered from social media websites are unstructured and it is so huge in volume that it is impossible with human efforts to collect, process and manage such an enormous data but all these are never-before-analyzed data that could reveal crucial information about consumers- from how they arrive at purchase decision, to what products/services they may need in future. All it is needed is making use of tools to make sense of activities performed by people on social media platforms, bringing it together in a structured format and making it useful in marketing sense.

Every day people communicate around brands. Numerous of likes are recorded, comments are posted, posts are pinned on Pinterest, tweets and retweets are made, chick-ins on Foursquare, pictures are shared on Instagram, videos are viewed on Youtube all these activities adds to a variety of big data, but analyzing them is a tough job when even in the presence of so many advanced software applications the behaviour behind these comments, likes, and sharing is unreadable in marketing sense.

How big data supports social media marketing?

Big data brings in a series of change and it majorly advise brands to eliminate guesstimating, hiring fresher to curate its Facebook timeline or Twitter feed or any other social profile, instead it focus more on gathering data on its customers and prospects. And big data is a helping tools for you in this:

  • Who buys from you?

Market segmentation is not enough anymore to target your customers but to target messages  in a more productive way on social media you now need to understand more about customers in terms of their behaviour, preferences, concerned issues, things they talk of, places they go, topics that excites them, etc.

  • How your customers feel?

Big data improves the usefulness of your message in customers as well as in your favour by gauging sentiments and emotions of consumers around your brand and your competitors.

  • What they want?

Every brand tries to get answer to this, big data don’t answer this but it shows a more clear way to understand your consumer needs and wants which no other source can provide you. By striking their interactions, their buying behaviour, things they talk about, places they visit, etc, big data can help you in reckoning customer’s demand.

  • How do they get the Information they need?

Big data helps you know a great deal about how your customers satiate their information needs. By knowing there information source you can wisely select the platform to send your marketing message and customize your message as per the platform and mood of customers.

  • How do they arrive at the buying decision?

Marketers always make efforts to know the process of customer’s buying cycle right from the beginning in an exact manner and this is a treasure of information and its access will help a marketer in efficiently conducting a social media marketing campaign that too separately in accordance with the stage of buying cycle.

Now the question arises should you use big data for your campaign to get an answer to this you should first find out answers to following questions; do you need to know how your customers feel? Do you want to go beyond internal sources for data collection? Do you want to boost your customer loyalty? Do you want to know what your customers do when they are not engaging with you in any way? Do want to know your customer needs and wants? Do you want to know where they go, what they talk about, what they eat, etc?

Now if the answers come out to be yes then big data is definitely your requirement. It is going to fetch big business thus ignoring them is not going to be a smart decision. And the best way to learn about your customers is social media thus social media ‘big data’ can serve you esteemed insights about people’s behaviour. By giving you such clear and deeper understanding about customers and also their relationship with your brand big data can help you choose the most suitable social media platform and ways to fine tune your messages.

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