Big Data Analytics and its integration with Social Media
Updated: Feb 12
We all know that social ads and analytics are invaluable in digital marketing. Most of you might
be reading this article because of the same reason. This is why we need to create a streamlined process around gathering data, analyzing it and drawing actionable insights from it. Social Media has become a vast reservoir of data of all forms, almost synonymous to Big Data. Since social media is the ongoing buzz, let’s see how we can integrate all three elements: Social Media, Big Data and analytics.
Designing strategies around Social Media and Big Data
Social Media is a treasure filled with unstructured data. It is a legit source of customer details which can help you derive actionable insights. This data is often subjected to analytical pipelines that use text processing, sentiment analysis, machine learning algorithms and heuristic analytical processes to create meaningful insights and recommendations for the business. Thus, you can use it to create a sound social media strategy based on the insights obtained. What’s next? Identify the key factors and metrics you want to use to measure the performance of the business. It will help you observe consumer-driven results.
How do you do that? The obvious next step is to create the content, services and products that resonate well with your customers. Since your portfolio is the heart of your operations, you should use insights drawn from social media for the same. Then, identify your target customers and provide your content, services and products to them.
Any analytical project cannot be completed without assessing its aftermath. Thus, it is necessary for you to check the effectiveness of the analysis and the strategy. This can be done by identifying some key metrics, like revenue, profit or even market share. Monitor your performance before and after the implementation of the analysis and you will be able to assess its effectiveness. You can use this assessment to refine your strategy and improve it as need be.
How do we maximize the effectiveness of a Social Media strategy?
It is not enough to just take off-the-shelf algorithms and products and create an analytical pipeline using those. You need to learn how to maximize the potential of Big Data analytics and social media strategies. Let us see how.
Identifying the target audience and appropriate timing for marketing
Have you ever observed a trend in your social media activity? Do you happen to use Facebook every night before sleeping or read Quora answers every morning? Such trends are very insightful to data analysts and content marketers. You can track the activity of your audience and profile them based on their time of day of the activity and amount of time spent on these platforms. You can use this data to offer the best content to your targeted customer at the right point of time.
For example, if your target audience is the mass of undergraduate students, you might find high online activity in the evenings and late nights. Thus, this time might be perfect for your posts to get maximum visibility.
Gauge competition and create content for ‘slow’ hours
Social Media can help you gain an advantage over your market competitors. For instance, if you are a footwear and apparel enterprise, you might have learnt that not a lot of people shop for shoes or clothes early in the morning. However, some do. Your competitors do not refine their online content at these odd hours thinking it will not be useful.
If you can tailor your content to push some posts, campaigns and offers at these odd hours, the small fraction of the audience that looks for shoes and clothes early in the morning will access your content. That will be a small success for your content marketing strategy.
Use Analytics for automation and creating algorithms
The power of analytics can empower you to create the most promising content for your audience. Social Media Analytics can help you analyze all content that is being generated by your users and other industry trends. You can use these insights to generate appropriate content. You can also use analytics to predict what could be the best time to publish your content.
What more? You can use technological and analytical platforms like R, Python and SQL databases to automate the entire analytical pipeline. This will help you monitor the trends on a real-time basis. You can also create dashboards to monitor the effectiveness of your social media strategy.
Big data generated by and on social media can also help you do some advanced market analysis. For instance, by taking advantage of the insights draws from social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Quora, you will then be able to develop novel business strategies, stay ahead of the market and your competition and tweak your existing marketing efforts to improve your revenue and profits or optimize your costs.
Study competitor performance
Social media and Big Data analytics can help you assess your performance against the general market trends and the effectiveness of your competitors’ marketing strategies. Once, you create dashboards to profile the performance of your industry across various facets, you can monitor them on a real-time basis.
Business domain knowledge and some advanced analytics coupled together can help you identify what the next upcoming trend is, what can be done to gain maximum profit when the trend arrives and even learn what your competitors might be doing simultaneously. The application of this aspect is often seen in e-commerce and online retail platforms. Ever wondered, why Amazon, Flipkart and other online retail platforms have their major sales campaigns advertised and launched at the same point of time every year?
Get in touch with your customers
One significant advantage of using social media platforms to reach out to your customers is that you can get their direct feedback and suggestions on your products, services and content. You can use advanced text analytics and text processing algorithms like topic modelling or frequency analysis to derive the major themes of your customers’ viewpoints.
You can then use this learning to design your next campaign or content. This will also create a better online experience for your customers which might win you their loyalty and effectively, a healthy customer lifetime value. This, of course, will help you maintain a good market share in the industry. You might have seen how some online media and entertainment platforms host certain shows and movies and design campaigns and offers for their customers because they see a huge window of opportunity to maximize their success in this.
Discover latent and hidden issues with your business
While we are the subject of customer feedback and suggestions, let us see what else that can help you achieve. Have you ever incorporated your customers’ feedback and then seen an upward trend in your performance? Social Media Analytics can help you do that well in time before you even realize there is an opportunity for improvement. We call this ‘identification of latent issues‘. Often, it is pretty late before businesses like you realize what is going wrong with your product, service or content. By then the customers might have already identified this opportunity and gained traction with the customers.
Big Data analytics on your social media traffic can help you stay ahead of your competition by uncovering these hidden issues while they are still in the nascent stage.
Data Analytics is not a very new concept
While data analytics, big data and social media analytics have gained popularity as terms in the recent past, the process of designing solutions using data is a pretty old concept. Before computation became common in this field, people used to identify their critical business goals, derive and calculate metrics around them and use media advertising, survey response and financial data to assess their performance.
What should you be doing?
Big Data analytics and Social Media awareness is now an essential aspect for businesses to incorporate into their regular operations. You should be recruiting the appropriate personnel
to establish your analytical team. But before that, you need the foundation to lay an analytical pipeline on: Data! How do you get the data to start your analysis on? Although there are
open-source algorithms to scrape data from websites, social media platforms, and other documents, it can get a little tedious for you.
Companies like Datahut provide services to extract the required data for you, from the source of your choice and give it back to you in a structured and readable format! You can then use this data to run analytical algorithms on them.
However, before doing all this, there is one primary pre-requisite you need to fulfil. You need to develop a data-driven mindset for all your organizational and operational processes. This change in the outlook should be ensured across all professionals inside organizations. They should then be trained on how to use specific analytical tools and platforms. You can only use data to improve your company’s performance if you have the right consumers for it!