The new year is drawing the gap closer between social data and its impact on the way we do business. In speaking with many of our customers and peers, our team has gathered three major social management points of focus for the first half of 2014.
Big Data Becomes More Scientific
If 2013 was the year for Big Data, 2014 will present us with a more scientific grasp of social data--the data gathered through social sharing. Access to greater amounts of social data, including previously difficult-to-access historical social data, opens broader opportunities to streamline marketing efforts and measure campaigns’ impact. Data has become available through companies like Gnip, who provide “firehoses” of social data--even greater amounts of information than what’s available to regular users.
Using filtered enterprise data and analytics, marketers now expect to drive advertising through clearly defined, pre-determined channels and turn “targeted marketing” into something a consumer would be willing to accept as “relevant data”. The days of solely depending on broad demographics such as age, gender, and location are over, as we can now peer into a user’s online presence, habits, and social context on a much more granular, and even predictive, level, and provide them with material based on their interests. Marketing professionals are now commonly finding themselves incorporating data and tech into their roles.
We’re no longer casting fishing nets - we’re directly shooting thin and powerful arrows.
Death of the Guru
With the intelligence that enterprise analytics and larger amounts of data provide, social media management has moved away from that one intern in a back office who built a Facebook page and tweeted one-line posts. Social media management now represents a deeply analytical and accepted corporate marketing practice, and yesterday’s “gurus” have fallen behind demonstrable, practical sources of information. As the science behind social data evolves, marketers will continue to streamline their practices to optimally interpret and use information.
“Marketers will increasingly bring their business to social technology partners that use data effectively”1 speculates Forrester Research in their report, “Predictions 2014: Marketing Leaders Put Insights To Use”, indicating that data’s quality will be a determining, competitive factor in marketing spend. Heightened expectations for data delivery and its potential will be driving marketing in 2014.
The Evolution of Customer Service
Customer Service has neatly tucked itself under brand perception, and upped its own business value. Because of the wide-open forum of social channels, companies have their dirty laundry aired out for them daily. The way a company responds to a negative customer comment, surprisingly, has become slightly more significant for brand equity than a poor customer experience itself. Customers, it seems, are willing to forgive and even praise a company in the event of a fast and satisfactory response.
To address this spotlight on customer service response and effectivity, social customer service teams are being developed and trained to add value to brands and have a positive impact on online market share.
Where We’re Headed
Moving forward in the upcoming months, I feel we’ll see social channels continuing to reflect an increasing number of brands with a very strategic, data-based social presence, and a steadily rising competitive bar in the practices and delivery of social customer service. It’s never too late to jump into the social media management game, as there are plenty of books, conferences, and Twitter feeds that offer helpful information to get started. Even as the social wheat is separated from the guru chaff, SMM will readily scale to make room for brands and practitioners that bring authentic engagement and integrity to the table.
1 “Predictions 2014: Marketing Leaders Put Insights To Use”, (Forrester Research, Inc.: Dec. 30, 2013)