Gary Vaynerchuk, a social media marketing brand consultant, spoke out against shameless sales pitches on social channels at the Ad Age Digital Conference earlier this week. Ask yourself, how frequently is your social media strategy about pitching product? If you answered “any at all,” Mr. Vaynerchuk is here to say, “you’re doing it wrong, homie.”

Well, he didn’t say that, but he did point out a valuable use for social media that is often missed by brands: DATA. So… what exactly should you be doing?

How to Get Audience Insights from Social Media Marketing

Use social media to see what works, what doesn’t and what the people want. Here’s how.

1. Implement a Giveaway that Asks for Consumer Experiences

One of our clients, a headphone company, wanted to launch a giveaway campaign. We saw an excellent opportunity to get some consumer data using social media, so we designed the giveaway to ask the public what comparable product by another brand they used before they made the switch to our brand. They submitted their testimonials by linking through from Facebook and Twitter, and the story with the most votes won a prize package that included their newest headphone model. It was a win-win situation because the winner received a product before it became commercially available and because we received priceless insight into how our customers felt about the product, i.e. which parts of it really mattered to them, why it surpassed its competitors, etc. This is a social media WIN.

2. Tailor Your Engagement

Social media is a two way street. It is popular for brands to ask questions on social media but often it is not related to the brand. Throwing up a photo of a leprechaun during St. Patrick’s Day and asking your fans how they’re celebrating that day is OK, but how about asking them if they followed a rainbow and found a pot of gold, what fantasy product would they find from your brand? You’ll be able to gather from your community a potentially future product that they’re looking for or a problem that they are looking for you to solve.

3. Show Your Product, But Stop Talking About It

One tip that Gary Vaynerchuk often speaks of is to show your brand and your product but don’t push too hard the message you’re trying to get across. Not every social post should be an advertisement, instead your content should inform and entertain your audience. A good rule of thumb to start with is to post 80% related, but not product-based content and 20% self-promotional content. This is called the Pareto Principle.

4. Engage with Your Consumers About Them, Not About You

It’s not all about you, even if you wish it were. Look at who’s following you on various channels and target the people who have a lot of social media clout themselves and reach out to them (you can do this stuff easily from a program like Hootsuite). Ask them questions to find out what they like. Most people react well when a company they follow reaches out to them.

This is a great opportunity to learn something about the people who follow you and to look great on social media. If the person has a ton of followers, they’ll all see your interaction and associate your company with something human — rather than a faceless entity.


Tesco Mobile is really good at this.
Eventually, companies such as Yorkshire Tea, Jaffa Cakes and Cadbury joined the conversation to potentially gain a new customer.

Hopefully, you have some ideas for how to change up your social media strategy for better insights. How would you feel if an annoying dude followed you around and asked you to buy something once an hour? You’d probably slap him before lunch. Now, how would you feel if a smooth operator followed you around to show you cool stuff you liked? How would you feel if he asked you questions about yourself and really appeared to be listening? You’d probably feel good, real good. You’d probably feel like you made a new friend.

That’s what social media success feels like, brothers and sisters.

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