How to Gather Actionable Customer Data With Social Media by@syedbalkhi

How to Gather Actionable Customer Data With Social Media

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Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site.

Do you want to learn how to gather actionable data from your target audience with social media?

If so, you're in the right place! Social media is an excellent place to grow, maintain, and build trust with existing customers and prospects alike.

Globally, over 4.55 billion people use sites like Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, and that number is expected to grow over the next several years. 

Plus, the vast array of social media marketing tools offered through these platforms means there are more ways to connect with your audience than ever before. Connecting with people when they find your account is great, but it's not enough to run a successful business. 

If your goal is to thrive, you have to extract data from these encounters and use what you learn to fine-tune your products, customer experience (CX), and various marketing strategies. Today, my goal is to share several tips you can use to obtain actionable, value-packed data from your visitors. 

Are you ready? Let's get started!

Determine Your Goals and Metrics

Before you can start finding things out about your audience, you have to figure out what you want from your social media marketing strategy.

Establishing clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you break your large goals into more manageable tasks and help streamline workflows across your company. 

For instance, you may have a broad goal like reaching 100,000 followers. Once you understand what you hope to achieve, you can start thinking of smaller daily tasks, like engaging with 20 existing followers, that will bring you one step closer to your goal. 

Other common goals include: 

  • Boosting event registrations.
  • Turning followers into site visitors.
  • Increasing sales.
  • Enhancing brand awareness.

I suggest creating documents for your team that outline long-term goals and measurable analytics that can help determine if a project is on track.

Our social media team meets and goes over the documents every week to see if adjustments need to be made. The ability to collaborate and see the big picture has made a significant difference in our social media marketing efforts. 

Ask People to Share Their Thoughts on Hot Topics

One of the easiest ways to find out what your followers are thinking is simply asking them to share their thoughts. Weekly polls and questionnaires can spark interesting conversations, which will lead to people coming back to read your latest posts. 

The key to making this technique work is to focus your question or survey towards your followers' specific goals, pain points, and interests. An online pet store wouldn't survey their followers about sports, right? Instead, the marketing team at a pet store might ask, "what's the biggest struggle you have as a dog owner?" 

This targeted yet straightforward question can provide the team at this company with a wealth of information. You can take this same principle and apply it to your business. 

Research hot industry topics and ask your readers to chime in with their suggestions and thoughts on the topic. Don't hesitate to share your opinion first if you want to jumpstart the conversation. Encouraging followers to talk to you is a great way to learn what they expect from your products, services, and brand as a whole. 

Join Relevant Communities

There's an excellent chance you can find countless relevant communities to join across all social media platforms. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram all have ways to connect with other like-minded people and have discussions. If you're willing to seek out these groups and become a pillar in the community, you could learn a lot about the people who visit your online store.

But why wouldn't you? Research shows that online businesses with a social presence see, on average, 32% more sales than those without. 

I suggest starting with your most popular social channel. Look for relevant groups, and start reading through the posts shared by the community. If you see questions that can be answered through your experience, or a link to a blog post on your website, don't be afraid to chime and help. 

Not only will you help someone who is showing interest in your industry, but you're also increasing the odds of securing a sale. An impressive 59% of people use social media when they need shopping inspiration. If you're at the right place, at the right time, you can quickly turn a window shopper into a full-fledged customer. 

I like to keep track of common complaints and issues I encounter while in these groups. So, for instance, when I'm looking for groups centered around email marketing, I pay attention to what kind of problems users are experiencing every day. If you can identify the patterns among these users, there's a lot you can use to develop buyer personas for your brand. 

Host Q&A Sessions

Another great way to learn from your followers is to host a live Q&A session.

These events give you a chance to talk to your audience in a face-to-face setting and can lead to more traffic and engagement. Currently, 43% of consumers say they want even more video content from their favorite brands, and Q&A sessions fall into that category. 

I found that announcing your live event at least two weeks before you go live is the best move. When you let everyone know in advance, people can make plans and free their schedule to see you speak. You'll also have extra time to market to new customers and people who followed you a long time ago but may have forgotten that you exist. 

When announcing your Q&A session, include a contact form that visitors can use to send you questions. I also remind our audience to submit their questions three times each week leading up to the presentation. 

During your Q&A session, answer all of the questions submitted in the weeks leading up to the event. You'll also want to give people some time to ask additional questions based on your answers. 

I recommend recording these sessions and watching them afterward. Listen to the type of questions participants asked, and try to find ways to fill these knowledge and success gaps in future marketing campaigns and product updates. 

Work with Social Media Influencers

Finally, social media influencers are a powerful way to better grasp the needs of your audience. Essentially, influencers are people that review your products or talk about your brand on social media or a personal blog. Their goal is to promote your product to their audience, usually with the goal of collection commission through affiliate marketing.

When partnering with an influencer, you must find someone with a target audience that aligns with your brand. It wouldn't make sense to promote your product to a group of people who don't need it. They should also have content that resonates with your visitors. 

Choosing influencer partners is tough, but once you decide, you can use these experiences to gather valuable customer insights. Let's say the audience of the influencer you choose is really into your product. They all want to buy it but voiced some of their concerns in the video's comments section. 

You can take this knowledge with you when you launch your next campaign and make sure there are no unanswered questions or concerns next time. 

If you're curious about how influencer marketing can impact your sales, consider this; around 130 million people tap on sponsored Instagram posts every month. When you put it in context, it's no wonder 9 out of 10 big brands choose to work with social media influencers. 

Final Thoughts

Gathering information on your audience is a time-consuming yet essential part of running a business. As your brand grows, you'll find plenty of new opportunities to connect with your audience and build rapport through social media. 

Pay close attention to what people love and what they hate. Use this information to fine-tune your brand over time, and you'll have no problem boosting sales and engagement through social media. 


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