One out of every six waking minutes is spent on social media. Consumers post, comment, tweet, and like multiple times a day, creating more and more online data exponentially. Social media is a huge contributor to the vast mine of big data which is growing daily; but only 0.5 per cent of big data is actually being tapped for the meaningful insights it can reveal.
Not utilising this data not only means businesses are missing out; it might even be costing you valuable business. Social media analytics can help you truly understand consumers on a more personal level. Knowing what consumers desire in a product, what they want in a brand, what services are relevant to them and even what puts them off, can completely revolutionise a company’s strategy.
How personalised is your approach?
Previously, businesses may have ‘personalised’ their approach to customers based on their gender, age, location ,or perhaps if they have a child. But how much does this actually tell us? Communications with groups of this size will still have to be fairly generic, meaning that it won’t necessarily be relevant or deliver as much value for the business as it could. Big data can reveal so much more, meaning that personalisation is no longer limited to traditional demographics.
To really know consumers on a one-to-one level, you need to know them better. Advanced data insights are revolutionary by helping businesses predict behaviour and respond in the most effective way. It can reveal not only if a customer is a parent, but if they’re expecting. It can inform you not just that they’re going on holiday but when and where they are going – and what they’re planning to do there. You can also leverage insights on life events such as whether they’d like to go skiing this year or if they’re getting married.
And you can also infer their personality traits and characteristics as well as determining their hobbies and interests such as if they’re a fan of Everton Football Club and like going out for drinks in the pub or prefer a club. The more you learn about your customers, the more you can personalise communications and offers which has the power to turn both retention and acquisition marketing on its head.
The big five
Discoveries have been made to demonstrate how important understanding consumers’ personalities is when it comes to predicting their behaviour. Research suggests that money can actually ‘buy happiness’ given that the products and services match the consumer’s personality. This provides strong evidence that both businesses and consumers can benefit from personalisation which segments and targets consumers based on the big five personality traits (extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience). By responding appropriately, businesses may be more likely to make a sale and consumers will be offered products and services they’re interested in at the most relevant time.
The role of chatbots
It’s not just retailers and brands that can harness this information. A consumer’s personality can reveal various things about their behaviour, such as how likely it is that they will be to take out insurance, what job role/environment they will thrive in and what kind of marketing they are most likely to respond to. Utilising big data analytics tools which generate personality scores as well as flag life events, hobbies, and discussions of interest can completely transform your business by personalising automated decisions and predicting your consumers’ behaviour before it even happens.
The recent announcement that Facebook will soon enable businesses to talk to their consumer base using ‘chatbots’ exemplifies the developing opportunities for businesses and marks the next stage in the modernisation of business processes. This capability will facilitate the development of better and more advanced one-to-one relationships and interactions between brands and their consumers. The launch of chatbots in messenger will create opportunities for brands to harness structured data and natural language processing to look at people as individuals rather than just a segment or group of people. As we have seen, the current method of targeting individuals based on them fitting a certain demographic (e.g. female, aged 21-30, living in London) is no longer a viable way of marketing.
Take our example of the Everton football fan. The best time for brands to interact through chatbots may well be after Everton win a game. This consumer could be targeted because they are happy that his team won and therefore be more open and receptive to being targeted by a brand. However, the key is to only target them if the offer is relevant to their individual likes and dislikes. Social media analytics can also estimate an individual’s date of pay based on when they indicate spending activity such as online shopping, therefore providing businesses with the capability of interacting at a time optimised for conversions as opposed to continually throughout the month.
Gaining true insight into your data
A key point here is that brands will only know this about their consumers if they are utilising a big data and analytics tool that filters business data to make it more relevant to the individual customer. This way, they can utilise data insights to target consumers effectively in order to develop and maintain unique one-to-one relationships. Fundamentally, using these tools, brands can get as close to a real relationship with their customers as possible without physically meeting and talking with them.
Big data isn’t just providing new ways for businesses to engage with customers, soon there may not be an alternative. Traditional ways of gathering information about customers are becoming less impactful. There are now more 18-21 year olds on Facebook than on the Electoral Roll and if this is a snapshot into the future, businesses need to take positive action to catch up want and engage with customers and prospects more effectively.
With analytics tools that mine for meaningful insights, businesses can leverage this data in any sector from HR and employee vetting, to lending, insurance and retail. It is time for businesses to step away from generic messages and get to know the individual again.
James Blake, founder and CEO of Hello Soda
Image Credit: Jason Howie/Flickr