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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

    More by this author

    Anthony Carranza

    Educator, contributing writer and experienced journalist.

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    Last Updated on October 18, 2018

    10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

    10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

    When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

    Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

    People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

    These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

    1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

    Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

    To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

    Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

    When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

    Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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    2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

    Things go wrong when you run your own business.

    Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

    Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

    Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

    Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

    If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

    3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

    Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

    As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

    Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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    After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

    Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

    He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

    4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

    No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

    It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

    You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

    Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

    An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

    5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

    You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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    As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

    Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

    Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

    You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

    6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

    In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

    Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

    • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
    • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
    • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

    By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

    7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

    Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

    As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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    8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

    No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

    Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

    9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

    Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

    If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

    10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

    Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

    Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

    If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

    The Bottom Line

    Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

    Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

    Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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