This is the second part of an interview conducted with Jeremy Waite, Head of Social Media at Phones4U. He spoke to us for half an hour on what he views as the key relationship between Big Data and Social Media. To view the first part of the interview, click here, if not read on for more insights from Jeremy about how SME's can effectively use the data they're gathering, without spending a fortune on the technology to capture it all.
How do you implement a strategy where you're taking a customer from acquisition all the way through the lifecycle?
"It's really, really not about the numbers. We are the biggest mobile phone supplier on Facebook at the moment. We have 400,000 fans on Facebook, if I was distracted by the big number and thinking I was doing a fantastic job then I'd be completely missing the point. Anyone can go out and buy 200,000 fans on your Facebook page from a media company. The hard part is thinking this is about engagement and not about acquisition. How do you give them content on a daily basis that means something and is relevant, rather than let's just go and build up some numbers on the page. You can go to a company and buy 10,000 fans but it will mean nothing. Get 100 good followers, and those followers will have 130 friends. The good stuff is in the small numbers."
HTC Cha Cha Case Study:
"We ran a campaign last year about the HTC Cha Cha, which was the Facebook phone and the competition was "How well do you really know your friends?" knowing on average people have 130 – 140 friends on Facebook. Each level of this competition asked you a different question about one of your friend and we are talking very low single figures who actually knew anything about their friends on Facebook. What city did they live in, did they like the Foo Fighter, are the married are they in a relationship, you accept random additions into your social circle, it was a fascinating insight into fan acquisition and friend acquisition. Jon Snow on CH4 said "We feel like we're becoming very connected with our big social networks, when actually were becoming more and more distanced for real genuine relationships." You talk about ROI, but how can you put a value on a relationship, what's the ROI on your mum, or on your dog?"
Big data seems to have the most effect in retail. A lot of these can afford to spend money on Big data tools. Can SME profit from implementing a big data strategy?
"On a personal level, I've worked with a few small brands; if you use social media you've got your finger of the pulse. If you're engaging with you customers on a daily basis and having genuine conversations, you'll find out who your customers truly are anyway and that will add value to your business. The key is to find some mechanic to feed that information in. I've seen small business manually adding their data to excel spreadsheet because they know the value of their fans is so high, Â£200 – Â£300 per fan; it's worth you taking the time to record that data.
Too many people think that building a community and engaging with your customer are the same thing; we talk about engagement all the time, with a view to we need to build a community of our fans and small businesses are very guilty of this as they're listening to social media guru's saying it's all about community, replying to a post, replying to a tweet, has nothing to do with building a community and it's not going to add any value. If you are genuinely involved in a conversation with your customers, and working in chartrooms or forums where they're spending their time, having that conversation with them, then the equity is really in that conversation and that relationship, not in the data that comes out of that. Don't put the cart before the horse, you need the data and you need the CRM, but that's worthless without the relationship in the first place. If you want to do that as a small business, my advice is to get in the trenches, work really, really hard at talking to your customers all day long. And have someone that works 10 hours a day that their sole responsibility is to talk on these forums, news groups, twitter and Facebook and you'll soon see the results of that coming back in with sales, share of voice and sentiment. You can use something like social sprout, which is about 9$ a month, that will track the impact of your brand and your share of voice.
You can manage roughly 200 conversations a day with a Social Media Exec, if you're adding value and content depending on what your business is, that's a huge return on investment, what you pay for that persons time vs the value they're going to give to those customers."
What are your predictions for 2012?
"Big data is going to be an even bigger topic in 2012 simply because there are now tools out there that enable you to track the data and the conversations that you are already having, what's the value of fans, what's the value of a twitter follower, all those tools exist now, but very few people know how to use it effectively. We have introduced a new tool this week, there's less than 250 brands in the world using this kind of technology on Facebook, in order to genuinely asses the value of a fan, what they've done, their level of influence, what their friends have done, it allows us to target them with relevant messages, and then acquire all of the data from within their social graph, cross reference that their personal demographics, such as what car they drive, where they go on holiday, where they go to eat, that's massively powerful once you get all that data working together.
In 2012 there will be some early adopter, some big businesses who will take the risk, once people start to see the benefits of using data in this way. This time next year, I'll be able to see which of our fans are influential, which are active, how much money they've directed towards the business, the value of every fan, how much we've saved in media by fans sharing great content for free, so technically, if we're doing our jobs properly our media budgets are going to drop because it's all going to be about engagement and not about acquisition any more. The key is having a CRM platform that harnesses that data and shows it in a way that you can actually understand it and do something useful with it.
A lot of social is still â€˜suck it and see', and this will still be the case next year, but what it will mean because of the tools we have at our disposal and the understanding and analytics that we have around our data, campaigns that didn't work, we can stop much quicker, we'll be able to learn a lot faster. You make the data work for you to make your campaigns work, in my case, I have analytics at the back of our campaigns that means I can walk straight into the board; this is what we did in social, this is what we got back, can I have some more money please, this is how I managed to get the budget to go from where Phones4U were in 2010 to where we are today. We now have one of the biggest budgets for social media, this would never have happened if we had not put data at the heart of our social media strategy."
Looking Forward to Big Data World 2012?
"I'm really looking forward to Big Data World; I'm most looking forward to seeing what other people are doing in the same space, it's amazing at the moment how many of the big brands just don't get this. I think that next year is genuinely going to be all about data and ROI. Social's going to become a lot geekier, a lot more about the numbers; we'll be more suspicious about Facebook and more inquisitive about things like Google+ and brands are going to want to know the exact value and return from where they are spending their money. It will be interesting to see what other people make of it and what their perception of social media is. Social Media fatigue is setting in right across the board, so without having something useful behind it, people are just going to get bored and move on, or do nothing. It will be interesting chatting to people about what they've don't that did work, what didn't work as well and how we can learn from each other."
If you're really interested in this topic and are looking to move your company forward using Social and Big Data, then click here to learn more about our Big Data World 2012.