Marketers are still trying to figure out the social media data puzzle

Discussion
Photo: Getty Images/Tempura
Jul 19, 2021

MarketingCharts staff

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of articles from MarketingCharts, which provides up-to-the-minute data and research to marketers.

Social media usage has grown since the start of the pandemic, providing a plethora of opportunities for marketers who utilize social media data. But what are they using that data for?

More than half (55 percent) of marketers are using social data to understand their target audience, per a report from Sprout Social.

Indeed, when asked to rank the top ways social data informs marketers’ understanding of their customers, the top three included: showing them how customers use their products and services; showing them what customers dislike about their brand; and telling them what customers like about their brand.

Marketers also responded that they’re using the data to develop creative content (48 percent), support other departments (39 percent), analyze trends (32 percent) and assess campaign performance (29 percent).

A potential disconnect was found in an accompanying survey of consumers, which showed that even though about seven in 10 use social media to interact with brands and many expect brands to read and analyze what they post, only 26 percent of marketers say they use social data to foster relationships with customers.

While 88 percent of marketers say their social media strategy positively impacts their bottom line, only one-quarter are reporting results to their manager or team and only 15 percent are using social data to measure return on investment (ROI).

Eighty-six percent of marketers say they are using competitive insights from social media to identify new business opportunities and yet only 10 percent are using that data to inform business decisions.

When it comes to overall organizational views of the value of social media data, fewer than half (47 percent) consider social media a resource that influences strategy for multiple teams while a similar share (46 percent) consider it to be strictly a marketing resource. Only eight percent say social media data is a resource for organization-wide business intelligence.

Asked to describe their cross-team efforts in regard to social, 50 percent of marketers say they maintain occasional communication and collaboration with other teams, while 17 percent operate in complete silos.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the best uses of social data for retailers and brands? In what ways are they under-utilized and what are the hurdles to making better use of them?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"An effective social media strategy will include multiple facets from individual connections to industry trends to future planning."
"Social media is an excellent way for brands to understand psychographics of their consumers. However, brands actually have to read the post..."
"Oh wow, this data is shocking. Under-utilization is laid out in the chart: informing business decisions (and strategy) and fostering connection with customers."

Join the Discussion!

10 Comments on "Marketers are still trying to figure out the social media data puzzle"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

Social listening is both an art and a science brands have yet to perfect. Social data is best utilized by identifying white space opportunities for brands (e.g. watching where brands aren’t a part of social content but could be) and by analyzing what type of user-generated content drives shares and engagement.

Jeff Weidauer
BrainTrust

Social media offers an always-on channel for rich customer communication, but it’s still treated as a novelty by many marketers. An effective social media strategy will include multiple facets from individual connections to industry trends to future planning.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

The importance of social media cannot be understated. It has influenced elections, founded movements and impacted vaccination rates, so failing to fully integrate it into your retail business model is perilous. Most social content I see coming from brands and retailers today is more akin to ad campaigns or marketing messaging, which is one sided and too often not engaging — talking “at” the customer rather than “with.” The most effective social strategies I’ve seen tend to operate well below the 10,000 feet corporate brand language and engage directly with the customer about thing that matter in their daily lives. I would like to see marketers use data to help customers better understand how a brand or product fits into the context of their day-to-day life, help the visualize the end result, and offer two-way communication for the purpose of building/supporting communities.

Christine Russo
BrainTrust

Oh wow, this data is shocking. Under-utilization is laid out in the chart: informing business decisions (and strategy) and fostering connection with customers. Creators garner millions of followers by engaging with the most active. I actually like to see ROI at the bottom of the chart because with social data (and many other martech investments) it is often hard to measure ROI. Too often, management can use that as a reason to not try new, innovative and creative strategies.

Jenn McMillen
BrainTrust

With cookies on the downswing, this is the next wave of personalized marketing.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Authenticity and storytelling are becoming increasingly important as brands and retailers leverage social media along with social listening. The customer journey is no longer a linear path, and there are limitless touchpoints where brands could interact and engage with consumers across both physical and digital channels.

With the emergence of TikTok, Instagram, and other platforms, social media has become a very organic method of communication, engagement, and community building for all brands. The key component of this is to consider that social media is here to stay and is an entrenched part of our daily lives. The imperative for brands and retailers is to determine the best path to attract and retain an interest in your product offerings.

With email quickly becoming a very outdated model, digital marketing and social media insights are the path to solving the social media data puzzle.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

Social media has myriad of uses and benefits, from 1×1 conversations in real-time and campaigns to promote new offers to identifying trends and opportunities over time. Combining social data with other sources can turn insights into action for brands that invest in a holistic information management strategy.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Two data points stand out from this study:

  • only 26 percent of marketers say they use social data to foster relationships with customers.
  • only 15 percent are using social data to measure return on investment (ROI).

Marketers should realize these two are related. If you’re not leveraging social media to build long-term customer relationships (and therefore increasing lifetime customer value), then you’re not going to see much ROI on your social spend — no wonder it’s not being reported or measured!

This isn’t a short-term activity — it’s a long-term plan that requires investment over time. If you’re not measuring it, you won’t know if you’re succeeding. Social listening tools are making it easier to do this, but the key isn’t just the listening part — it’s using what you learn from listening to help make better decisions about how you engage with customers the next time. That means you have to be willing to adapt campaigns on the fly based on feedback. As with most retail tech, agility is critical!

Rachelle King
BrainTrust

Social media is an excellent way for brands to understand psychographics of their consumers. However, brands actually have to read the post vs just taking everything in aggregate and trying to find a silver bullet. Social media is an under-utilized platform at building 1:1 relationships. While it’s certainly not possible to engage with every consumer individually, brands can certainly make more of an effort than they are. Consumers actually believe they are communicating with brand teams when they send social media messages. It’s not that much of an ask for brand teams to listen (read), if only occasionally.

Matt Krepsik
Guest

One way for brands and retailers to utilize social is as part of a larger omnichannel strategy. This starts with creating a data-backed strategy to engage consumers in a more personalized way. Once brands and retailers understand their consumers – what they’re interested in and the specific products/categories they care about – they can use advanced shopper targeting data combined with high-quality creative to reach shopper audiences on a deeper level. From there, it’s a matter of testing, learning and measuring to see what kinds of tactics their audiences respond to and how they can use those learnings in future campaigns.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"An effective social media strategy will include multiple facets from individual connections to industry trends to future planning."
"Social media is an excellent way for brands to understand psychographics of their consumers. However, brands actually have to read the post..."
"Oh wow, this data is shocking. Under-utilization is laid out in the chart: informing business decisions (and strategy) and fostering connection with customers."

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