A Social Media Anthropologist goes Data Mining

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As a child, I was known as “Snoopy”, the kid who always found the gifts before Christmas. I loved uncovering the truth and being in everyone’s business. So, when Facebook arrived on the scene in 2004-2005, you better believe it was like finding the mother-load of poorly hidden gifts in my mom’s closet. All the snooping and spying I ever wanted. It was all in one place and all at my finger tips. I spent days checking in on high school friends whereabouts, discovering who got fabulous or famous, and whether ex-boyfriends actually died or went bald.

It would appear as though my love of snooping..or..”researching” is now a highly regarded measure of productivity, better known as Big Data. Big Data is a way to better understand human nature through numbers, frequency, patterns, and relationships. Every time you log on to the web, you are being tracked and calculated. Right now, you are regretting viewing that last video you watched, fearing that a Google-nerd is judging you in an office somewhere in silicone valley or worse, reporting you to the FBI. Depending on what you are in to, this could be true. But my guess is that the Google-nerd is checking what keywords you typed in the search engine and finding more videos related to what you just watched to keep you coming back for more.

Marketing is in such a state of flux, right now.We have moved from “look at me and what I’m offering” marketing attention tactics to “look at you and what I can do for you” marketing strategic dialogues. More and more businesses are spending less and less on large-scale, poorly aimed, and flashy advertising campaigns. Yes, frequency and reach are still important but there needs to be a highly defined and grow-able target audience to engage with.

Between TV, internet, print, radio, out-of-home and mobile marketing, there is a lot of clutter to cut through. Analytics are helping figure out where your audience is spending their time, money, how to find them, and get them to act. The action of  getting an action is the sweet spot that analytics offers. All social media platforms have some sort of “insight” or analytic function. These tools help the user know when their audience is at their highest available reach-ability, how many “Likes”, “Shares” or “Follows” were received hourly or daily, and what was the most acted upon post.

I love analytics but I feel that they fail to capture emotion. I like to take a span of time on a social media page and track what made people react (see top of page for example). What is it about a certain post or image that caused a response or interaction. Once you spot the relationship between the post, comments, likes, and follows you will be able to better target your message and content to deepen the engagement with your audience.

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