- Social Login Buttons: Making the link between social and offline consumer data is key to harnessing the vast amount of unstructured data in the world of social media. There are endless approaches to making this link, but the easiest way to start is by enabling consumers to make the link themselves between their email, name and address with a social ID like a Twitter handle. You can leverage the social media platform's API and build your own buttons, or leverage a product like JanRain's turnkey offering.
- Social Media Monitoring/Listening: Once you have linked the social world to your offline consumer data, it is time to start mining the unstructured world of social media for marketing gold. Many companies already have a social listening solution in place for market research and public relations use. These platforms can be repurposed to identify buying signals, life stage events, hobbies and interests. Be creative on the choice of topics. Limiting yourself to only "I'm buying a car next month" leaves a lot of opportunity on the table when you might also include "I crashed my car last night" or "I don't think my sports car has room for car seats." If you don't have a capable tool in house, here are a few options to check out: Converseon, Attensity, Collective Intellect and Visible Technologies. Another similar service worth taking a looking at is PeopleBrowsr. They have a slightly different mix of services and could be a nice way to augment your program. Make sure you perform strict due diligence on vendor data and security practices to ensure you comply with your own company's policies.
Once you have identified what you think are the right capabilities and built some scale on your social linking program, you can perform lookalike modeling to scale up the results to other, similar prospects. Over time, you can add more sophisticated linking and signal sources like mobile apps and loyalty solutions. As an added benefit, these platforms will automatically link the consumer's information to social and mobile insights, thereby adding scale to your matching program and adding new layers of intent signals. The most important thing is gleaning intent and building a historical database of richer affinity and interests to augment the data and insight you are already working with.
Be constantly asking, "What does the person want? What do they love to do? Who are lookalikes? What is happening in their life?" When pondering these and similar questions, you'll match possibilities with the traditional data attributes you already work with to qualify each lead and make sure the content you send is relevant to not only the interest, but considering the demographic elements, will ensure the message makes the biggest optimal impact.
So the next time you sit down with your team to develop the next phase of your social media strategy, suggest leveraging social media to improve your current marketing efforts. If you start with these basic steps and start learning how to incorporate social signals into your marketing efforts, you will be ready to increase your customer engagement efforts sooner while preparing to take advantage of the more robust platforms on the horizon when they become readily available.