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Tapping into Social Media Data for Branding, Marketing and Business Efforts

Tapping into Social Media Data for Branding, Marketing and Business Efforts

Have you ever noticed just how much social media has changed in the past 5 years? According to the Pew Research Center (PRC) just seven percent of American adults used social media back in 2005. As of 2015 the PRC confirmed that number grew to 65 percent, which is an 829 percent increase. This is brings us closer to our topic: tapping into numbers. We’ve seen a clear shifting in focus from quantity to quality. The only “quantity” that matters today is the data behind any social media marketing strategy. Analytics. Facebook Ads. Twitter Analytics. Instagram. Pinterest. LinkedIn. Each platform has a back-door to analytics and data.

Stats by Worldometers.info reveal that 250 million blog posts, 40 million tweets and 280 million Google searches. This only confirms that using the right tools and data can help in understanding KPIs such as engagement, brand awareness and lead generation. “Going for a data-driven approach allows a business to visualize the customer journey and better equip their products or services targeted for the different social media networks”, explains UXmatters magazine. This infographic explains how to perform social listening and how to capitalize on analytics.

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Hearing Consumers Through the Social Media Din

    As it shows, there are five crucial steps: listening, integrating, analyzing, engaging, and acting. Today the ‘social media web’ works for a brand only if the brand listens to their customers and followers. And while it may be challenging as a business owner to analyze everything on your own, you can always look for help, because data is just that important.

    Word of advice: Before taking the plunge to engage use everything in your advantage. This can mean findings from reports, other studies, social experiments – anything works. Gather as much intelligence and assemble a team dedicated towards bringing customers through this channel. Because now more than ever, social media has the potential of a social sales funnel if done right. Don’t rely on just an existing audience and existing customers, instead design a real purchasing experience, from perks to gamification and loyalty programs for the community.

    Using Effective Social Media Tactics

    First off, build your brand around social devotion. In other words, respond within a reasonable timeframe, give your customers the feeling of value as a return on their own investment. Secondly, grasp well how each social channel works and what tactics are known to be successful. In a succinct report compiled by Ascend2 and Research Partners, the most effective social media tactics used seem to be:

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    • Creating compelling content
    • Posting on social networks
    • Managing website content
    • Advertising on social networks

    Creating compelling content means being great at storytelling. This helps in separating your business from the rest and achieve that sense of uniqueness. Don’t be afraid to find your own style and tone. Make your shares less in number and better in terms of quality. Respect the time of your audience. Build a website that is clean, clear and responsive, not only to your audience’s device, but also to their needs. Be generous with budgets. Larger budgets provide the ability to advertise and reach a larger audience. From Facebook to Twitter ads, sponsored posts on Instagram, LinkedIn ads and more, be ready to invest a couple of bucks on a monthly basis. For e.g., one of the rules in Google’s Partnership program is actually linked to how much a company spends on AdWords on a monthly basis.

    Case studies, exploiting the benefits of small data and unleashing the potential of social media channels

    Top platforms like Twitter and Facebook get massive traction, but they don’t always work for everyone. Instagram and Snapchat, through mobile photo-sharing and video-sharing services, have seen ‘runway’ success. Just Instagram alone, since the acquisition of its parent company Facebook, has had over 400 million active accounts and 40 billion photos shared. To learn from your competitors check out Instagram for Business, a page which provides more than 80 case studies, from worldwide brands.

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    But we’re seeing an increase in demand for local brands and small businesses. “Although big data offers companies thrilling new opportunities to learn from customer behavior and discover unknown correlations, it is important not to forget the qualitative part of consumer analysis.” says datapine Managing Partner Jakob Rehermann.“Excited by the new insights big data offers, some managers tend to blindly act based on the numbers presented to them. But equally important as the question of what is happening, is to understand why it is happening – finding the cause of the relationship. SMEs have realized this and have successively started including smaller, more detailed datasets in their analyses, which they can explore in-depth”.

    Two other platforms worth mentioning are Pinterest and LinkedIn. With Pinterest shifting and changing the way social e-commerce works for businesses, it seems 75% of Pins comes from businesses and a remaining 25% from users. This Pinterest business blog post reveals just how much business potential the platform has for startups and SMEs in particular.

    Separately, LinkedIn has become a vibrant professional social network. As Socialbakers explains, LinkedIn isn’t just a social channel to connect employers to potential employees, but also a great way to gather professionals in one place, create groups, pages and content that reflect the brand’s mission, vision and voice. With the way groups work, LinkedIn offers the perfect environment for customer support, community growth and brand development.

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    Takeaways

    Social media channels are on a constant move in terms of communication, behavior and interaction, which brings us to the way a brand can be up to date with chances and shifts. Only by gathering data and analyzing it can a brand understand the history behind its successes and failures. Data can reveal old patterns and predict future ones, provide a deeper understanding of causal relationships and effects, as well as identify potential associations between variables. Even Twitter started providing standard reports on audience demographics, which demonstrates that once a brand forms and grows an audience, the next step for business growth is to analyze and explore it. q.e.d.

    Featured photo credit: Victor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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    Anthony Carranza

    Multilingual writer and journalist covering all things technology and productivity.

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

    10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

    Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

    You have to work hard to develop the right skills

    If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

    1. Make your presentation short and sweet

    With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

    JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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    2. Open up with a good ice breaker

    At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

    • Joking
    • Tugging on their heart strings
    • Dropping a bombastic statement
    • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
    • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

    You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

    3. Keep things simple and to the point

    Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

    4. Use a healthy dose of humor

    Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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    It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

    5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

    Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

    6. Practice your delivery

    Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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    7. Move around and use your hands

    Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

    8. Engage the audience by making them relate

    Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

    9. Use funny images in your slides

    Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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    10. End on a more serious note

    When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

    As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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