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Social Media Value Many Marketers are Missing

By Erin Lynch-Klarup

It’s no secret that increased social media participation has given B2C marketers unprecedented access to customer data.   With just a customer email address, the right “data crawler” goes through blogs, networking sites, video sharing sites, and other social media outlets to report on a customer’s age, location, gender, social site participation and more.  Collect this data for thousands of customers and you have some potent information.

In our conversations with marketers, we’re coming across a variety of creative uses for these data sets.  At the most direct level, marketers are using social data to choose the best social media sites to invest in.  Some are discovering that their customers are spending time on social sites they (and their competitors) weren’t aware of—and are moving quickly to capitalize on these undiscovered opportunities.

Beyond these direct applications, some marketers are using data to test, map and extend the viral reach of their social media initiatives.  Insights about viral reach are becoming key building blocks for marketers to make the case for social media internally.

At a more complex (and potentially far more powerful) level, marketers are combining social and transactional data to build predictive profiles of high-value customers.  They are finding that the revenue or cost-to-serve dynamics are quite different for customers with different social graphs.  A recent BusinessWeek article about online friendship connections touches on one example of this: a person is actually a better credit risk if their friends’ credit scores are higher.  

How are you using social data in creative ways?

MLC Members, For in-depth examples of social data applications, check out our Marketing Use Cases for Social Media Data.

Comments from the Network (2)

  1. Phil Goodman
    on January 22, 2010

    Collecting Data is one thing, knowing what it means beyond the normal demographics is another. This kind of data doesn’t tell you what generation these people are, nor their mind-set. Generational marketing research is what companies need in order to apply the kind of message they use to reach these people for them to be effective. Everybody has a personal life, how much do you want to know about them to sell your product or service?
    Social site data shows age, location,gender, social media participation plus other information. But it doesn’t tell you how to reach them and their peer group as a generation.

    Generational messages and banner ads will give you a better shot at tracking your social media ads and messages. For a better understanding of what I am saying, go to

  2. Wide Angle » Cutting Edge Uses of Social Media Data
    on April 27, 2010

    [...] Use social data to identify behaviors and demographics in your current customer base – and target your marketing campaigns to similar people. I touched on similar possibilities in my previous post on Social Media Value Many Marketers Are Missing. [...]

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