Monday, December 19th, 2016 | 5 min read
There’s no shortage of data on social media. For marketers, this is both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand, it gives them a lot of information about their audience. But on the other, this data is spread across channels and touchpoints, making it tough to synthesize, analyze, and, well…use at all.
That’s where the term “siloed data” comes from. The data you need is out there for the taking, but it’s so separated that you can’t make heads or tails of it.
The challenge is clear, and marketers know that they if they don’t find a solution, they’re going to get left behind.
You need data in order to understand what your customers want, how they go through the buying process, and how you can reach them with relevant, targeted ads. You also need it to improve the customer experience, which, according to Altimeter’s 2016 report, is the new top goal for social media marketers.
The question remains: What’s behind this issue of siloed data, and how can you fix it?
Here’s what you need to know.
It’s hard to gather data from different channels when you don’t know who is actually responsible for each channel.
As Altimeter found, digital marketing and advertising teams are struggling to coordinate with each other, making it tough to integrate data and understand each team’s function. This also creates “power struggles for who ‘owns’ social advertising budgets at different points in the traditional marketing funnel.”
Social commerce platforms like chatbots and messaging apps should be powerful tools for completing the buyer journey, but they aren’t generating as much success as expected. Social teams think poor coordination is at fault. In fact, 72% of strategists said that, in order to improve results, “responsibility for social commerce has to shift from the social team to e-commerce teams.”
Clearly, marketers can’t combine their data until they decide who owns which data and who is responsible for each consumer touchpoint.
Even if marketers do know where to find their data, integrating it is just too time-consuming.
Social teams must keep tabs on channels such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest—and then divide them into paid content and organic content. That’s overwhelming on its own. But when you consider other teams, you’re now dealing with print ads, video ads, email lists, customer service platforms, and any number of traditional marketing methods.
How do you integrate this information? Setting up spreadsheets can take hours. Hosting weekly meetings might help, but by the time you get your numbers together, you’re already behind the trend and missing out on delivering timely results.
As Altimeter notes, each team’s expertise is different, but they go hand-in-hand. The advertising team has segmented audience data that the social team needs. And the social team has a pulse on real-time conversations. In order to drive success for the company, they have to learn to work together and combine insights.
To streamline data integration, many marketers are partnering up with social enablement tools. Altimeter found, however, that many of these tools aren’t helping. They’re just making the process more difficult.
For one, social platforms are innovating at a rapid rate and social enablement tools can’t keep up. Just think about Facebook Live video and Instagram’s new Snapchat-style stories. In order to communicate with their audience and improve the customer experience, brands have to be on top of these new features. But many social enablement tools are just slowing them down.
Brands are also looking for social enablement platforms that can sync up with distribution and listening tools they’re already using. This makes it tough to find just the right one. As a result, marketers either end up settling for an option that doesn’t fit their needs, or they go back to the drawing board and waste more time.
If marketers want to break down data silos and stay on top of the customer journey, they do need to find a social enablement partner—but it has to be the right one.
This partner has to innovate at a rapid pace, create dynamic audiences in real-time, and publish targeted messaging all on the same platform. In order to stay on top of new features, it also has to have strong relationships with top social channels.
Overall, this influx of data should be seen as a blessing, not a curse. And it can be, if social teams pick the right partner to coordinate with and help them make the most of these numbers.
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