A state-of-the-art marketing database without knowledge is like a new subway system without any commuters. Sure, it’s shiny, but it doesn’t accomplish anything. Where, then, do you get the data to populate your leads’ records? Increasingly, marketers find the answer in social media.
Information about Information
Social media has a bit of an image problem with marketers using conventional data collection methods because it’s hard to quantify without a marketing automation system tracking the data. It’s notoriously hard to monetize, and that’s still true – but that isn’t where its power lies. Social media opens a window on people’s behavioral activity, giving you deep insight into where your leads’ activities can be monetized. In that regard, it’s a little bit like a book’s table of contents: This condensed form doesn’t contain all the information itself, but it points the way to where the information lives.
Leads and Followers
Another reason social media’s vital to database marketing is that it instantly connects you with the influencers in your audience. How do you spot them? Many marketers make the mistake of going after the high-volume social media accounts instead of the truly influential users. Surprisingly, the most influential people aren’t always the ones with the most likes or followers; sometimes they’re the ones who post only a few updates a week because the rest of the time, they’re researching options and going on fact-finding missions. Marketing automation software watches leads’ on-site activity and links it to social media signals to pinpoint the leads whose behaviors and social media presence align.
Some aspects of your leads’ decision-making processes are tough to see from a distance, but if they’re on social media, they’re practically handing you a pair of binoculars. They’re telling you where their interests lie, what big decisions they may have coming up, and who they’re talking with about their options. The major social media channels also help define audience segments because they’re already connecting the dots for you, bringing together disparate data points to create a more cohesive image of a user. With analysis via social media, you piece together a web of interrelated individuals, too, giving you a heat-map of interest over time among followers.
The Portable Person
Leads are sometimes hard to pin down. They take new jobs, gain new titles, earn promotions to new positions, go through company reorganizations, get married, and otherwise confound your database marketing plan. What doesn’t change much is the social media footprint they leave behind. Marketing automation software that’s connected with multiple social media channels keep up with changes in leads’ lives and decision-making capabilities by watching what people take with them: their social media accounts. Automation can also link accounts to other data so you don’t lose track of customers as they move.
Database marketing is very much a “what have you done for me lately?” industry. Without timely, accurate data, everything you do stalls. Email becomes undeliverable, newsletters get lost, and the valuable data you’ve amassed leads to a dead end. Social media channels make it easy for people to update their information – and better yet, they do it voluntarily. You and your marketing automation system only need to keep up with what users are sharing with you anyway to maintain your customer records.
Social media channels also excel at giving you direct feedback. Combined with the analytical power of big data technology that tracks behavioral activity, you can get a phenomenally clear picture of what led to your latest major success. Once you know how to make the magic happen, you’re able to do it again and again until it’s no longer magic, but science – data science.
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