Social media marketing provides valuable insight into what consumers are doing to interact with your brand on the Internet. Incorporating social media into direct response campaigns will help to provide valuable insights about your target demographic to better segment your email list and capitalize on social influencers for your public relations efforts. These key learnings obtained via social media marketing can also help to improve targeting in your digital advertising efforts, as well as allow for sentiment analysis surrounding your brand via social listening.

Consumer Social Profiles

Johanna Blakeley, in a 2010 TED Talk, discussed how social media research should allow companies to start targeting more effectively. The focus, she said, will shift away from traditionally used demographic data points like age, gender and location. Instead, Blakeley predicted it would shift toward determining what people are actually interested in – what their hobbies are and how they spend their time.

Social profiling through social media helps determine what subject matter is discussed within your community. Social media marketing also provides a great sample of your target consumers and profiles them based on their interests and behavioral traits.

These behavioral traits also help direct response companies shy away from making assumptions. For example, will someone who likes automobile products like car toys as well? Social media provides the evidence necessary to create a consumer profile.

Insights such as these can help build your marketing strategy, campaign planning, support key influencer identification and public relations efforts. Use analytics from sites like Compete or Quantcast to analyze the traffic at your site to gather a robust audience profile. You can do the same to conduct a competitive analysis about your competitor’s consumer base.

Improve Targeting and Content of Investments

Socialmediaexaminer.com puts is tactfully: a direct marketing campaign done right involves identifying your target audience, creating compelling one-on-one communications, and having a clear call to action laser-focused on “What’s in it for ME?” with “ME” being the customer.

Paying close attention to usage models and interpreting customer data makes all the difference in utilizing the right message in the proper channel. Adage.com reports that spikes in social data show response times and discussion patterns, reflecting significant company news and how it filters through the social media options. By using and interpreting this deep level of data effectively, direct marketers can combat negative product discussions very quickly, driving a sale with information addressing the concern.

Real-Time Social Listening

This real-time monitoring of customer and prospect comments and feedback can extend beyond the consumer comments, driving brand messaging and offers for direct mail, e-mail, ad placement and content on landing pages to overcome objections and convert sales.

Customers are increasingly turning to social media to decide what to purchase, and from where. In a 2012 survey examining what company offers consumers preferred to receive via social media, the results demonstrated that 84% preferred coupons, 69% preferred sampling new products, 61% like perks such as free shipping and 53% enjoyed getting sneak peeks at new products.

As a marketer, don’t jump in feet-first with a social media plan. Be sure to first lay the foundation for a social media direct response marketing program with the right tools and data strategies. Optimize on the front end and measure accurately on the backend to follow your sales funnel and stay in tune with your social community.

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