How Big Data Has Changed Social Media Marketing

How Big Data Has Changed Social Media Marketing

Big data is not just a buzz word; it is very real and it’s being used by the business-savvy people out there to drive sales and boost revenue. Data is a major factor in most business decisions and it affects how social media and marketing are conducted. Big data will additionally create opportunities in both social media and marketing, and as such it is advisable to be in the know as to what exactly big data is and how it can affect and improve your business. This article aims to provide the knowledge base for your business to be able to engage on social media from an informed perspective.

What is big data?

As many have written, big data is exactly what it says on the can. It consists of masses and masses of information. As such, it is generally, large, fast, and complex. In some cases analyzing it is difficult using normal means. It is a term that has been around for a while but has now gone mainstream with all businesses no matter how small. Businesses are now aware or becoming aware of how big data can affect them and their bottom line or brand. The accepted definition of big data is essentially about the five Vs:

Volume denotes the amount of data that a business or organization can collect from a number of sources over the lifetime of the business. This is data accumulated on a daily basis and if you think that a platform like Facebook has over 250 million posts per hour, the amount of data generated is immense - it’s unfathomable.

Velocity is about the speed at which modern data is transmitted or required. Everyone wants their data in real-time. Transactional data for example needs to be transmitted incredibly fast so that the seller knows to release the goods and that payment for these has been successful.

A variety of data types and the wide range of information have grown and include unstructured and structured numerical data, texts, documents, emails, and audio clips - everything that contains information and can be transmitted.

Veracity is about the data is genuine and true and how trustworthy the data is in relation to its usage. There will be no point in saving and storing data in vast quantities if you are not sure as to the truth and veracity of the information saved.

Valuable, information and data are the new gold and as such it is incredibly valuable, whether it is financial data, demographic data, or competitors’ information. Having this data or information will be able to generate profits, increase customers, and as such is incredibly valuable.

Furthermore, big data is no longer the exclusive preserve of the most tech advanced firms out there - anyone with a website or e-commerce concern will need to be in a position to understand and use this data. A great first step is the MBA business intelligence focus, which will allow you to understand data, and be in a position to analyze it and use it for your business. Building the understanding and knowledge base in terms of what big data is, how to gather it and how to use it for your business should be the chief concerns of the modern businessperson.

We are currently in an age where the understanding and use of data will form the basic requirements for most of the other business functions out there. A great example is the manner in which data will both drive social media and be the factor that defines what is put out on your social feeds. Data and its importance have also meant that the information that you may have taken for granted, such as inconsequential social media posts, are a collection of information related to individuals and their preferences. It’s a marketer’s dream.

Social Media Changes

Over the last five years or so social media has drastically changed. There are now a myriad of platforms and places where consumers and society as a whole share, interact and mingle. Social media is changing entire societies and on a global scale. There are a total of approximately 2.6 billion active social media users. More than a 25% of all adults have a social media presence. Often, they actively use more than two social media platforms. Furthermore, 81% of all consumers make their buying decisions from social media posts.

Business is now a big player on social media. Instagram, Facebook, Snap Chat, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the big business social media platforms that are widely used. These platforms have been at the forefront of businesses realizing that e-commerce without social media doesn’t necessarily work. It’s also not just about being on social media but being able to build a brand and communicate efficiently with your customers and the public in general once you have established yourself on the platform that works best for your business needs.

Social media has become a social marketplace; people now buy products and order services on social media. However, social media has also proven in recent times that it is a viable avenue or route for business-to-business communication and interaction as well. It is not all about the business-to-retail consumer relationship.

Social media is no longer a business choice and those who feel that they don’t need to have a presence on social media will soon realize the error in their ways as profits fall and sales decline.

Advantages of social media for businesses

  • Social media has the largest possible audience in one place and at one time. Any business that can capture the attention of social media audiences can harness the power of social media. The number of people using social media means that it has now replaced the online shop, the chat group, the newsletter, and more.
  • It can create as much accessible data as required. One of the greatest advantages of social media is that it allows you to be creative with your content. You can also choose how you share that with customers. The key to this is also ensuring that you customize content to each social media platform. Don’t think that something suitable for Facebook will work on Instagram. Any business marketing strategy has to understand the best type of content for each platform. This is crucial in order to attract the right customers.
  • Social media is a direct connection to your audience. It’s immediate and current. This kind of connection, if done properly, not only builds customer loyalty but also allows a direct line to customer feedback. This also means you can get feedback almost immediately because most customers are now online all the time. So, if there’s a problem with a product or service, you are likely to hear about it before it does too much damage to the brand.
  • Content that goes viral can be the best way to build a brand. While this might sound like an obvious point, remember that it is also not an easy thing to achieve. Viral campaigns are organic and you cannot force them. So, while they are effective, they are also outside of your control. It is often about being in right place, at the right time, with the right product.
  • Businesses can monitor and record all social media performance on a daily/monthly basis. One of the biggest advantages of social media platforms is that they come with excellent analytics tools that allow you to track, collect and analyze data from your social media accounts. This allows any business to understand what content is engaging customers and what is missing the mark.

Understanding the different uses and the possibilities that big data will present to those who use social media for advertising is key. You can meet new customers and clients as well as interact with business partners and suppliers. Not to mention, using it for lead generation. Social media is now all about business. If your business is not on social media then you may very well be losing customers and clients. The social media platforms themselves may like to disguise this fact. The younger generation out there may still think that social media is about building and sharing friendships online. It's about being able to see what your ‘friends’ are doing, what’s hot and happening, and what’s not. Yet, even in this ‘social’ process, there is data that can be and will most likely be used for business purposes. For example, target marketing and advertising.

Big data and social media

It is thus be expected that big data would have had an impact on social media. As big data peaks and reaches the 44 trillion gigabytes mark, 80% of this data is unstructured and most of it comes from social media. The type of information that a business can gather from social media is immense. Yes, it is unstructured. But, it does take some analysis to make sense of it all. Volumes are often such that you are able to mine the kind of information you need. Therefore, allowing you to plan for future products and services, plot geographic reach, and determine when to release new products.

Most of the big data that we as a society collect and collate is from social media.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

This is where your business can use social media platforms to build your brand. Additionally, use social media to sell to these customers. Initially for posting content and fulfilling marketing briefs, social media is now for the business to share their work. You can integrate, and involve yourself in conversations about current products, and future products. This allows businesses to get better at what they do. Thus, firms can better meet the needs of their clients or customers.

Having the details that big data can provide can help your customers’ needs. It also helps your potential customers, as it improves marketing and advertising campaigns.

The key to social media marketing is tailoring the content for each of the social media platforms. Each platform has a different audience. As such, the content should be written for them and speak to them. That is if your business is to adequately engage and interact with those on the platform.

Another trend on social media is the use of the influencer. This has proven to be a high-risk, high-reward endeavor. Engagement rates on social media platforms have been dropping. However, businesses are recognizing the rising power of micro-influencers or nano influencers. These influencers, usually with 25,000 followers or fewer, have the highest engagement rates among social media users. Businesses that can tap into that kind of engagement level can drive any marketing strategy and benefit sales numbers.

Cyber security, big data, and marketing

Social media hacks have become big business for cybercriminals. As this article shows, big data is all pervading. It is everywhere from e-commerce to social media marketing, and as such, also a target of cybercriminals. Big data information is sensitive. From, demographic data, transmission data, to all the security questions for all your passwords. If your business uses social media for marketing to gather, store, and analyze, it is essential to have a cogent cybersecurity strategy. This will actively protect your data.

Final remarks

The business world has changed more in the last 24 months than it has in the last 20 years. Some of these changes are contextual and forceful. However, others have been the culmination of the ongoing improvements. The development of technology and more specifically, big data, is continuing. Your ability to source as much information as you need on your clients, customers, and even future or possible clients is a feature of the modern business world. Using it is key, and the best way to do this is through your online marketing campaigns.

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