The social graph is a powerful new way to determine how to find social media users who are most likely to engage with your brand. 33Across CEO Eric Wheeler explains how the process works.
iMedia Connection: Your company, 33Across, accesses data from the social graph to help brands improve their online marketing strategies. First off, how do you define the social graph for the purposes of your analysis? And how do you see this consumer relationship data impacting brand marketing?
Eric Wheeler is CEO and co-founder of 33Across.
Eric Wheeler: Social network analysis is applied to the data about the strengths of ties between nodes in a network to arrive at a social graph. A social graph is the resulting structure underneath a social network. There are many types of "graphs" that are interesting to marketers, such as connectivity graphs and sharing graphs.
The powerful opportunity for brand marketers is to target users who are strongly connected to brand fans or brand site visitors -- those users are much more likely to engage with advertising from that brand and are more likely to purchase that brand.
iMedia: How do you gather the data you use to compile a social graph for a given brand? And how do you determine which data will be important for a brand to be aware of, and which is just noise?
Wheeler: 33Across enables marketers to anonymously identify and target people with strong real-world connections to their existing customers. Our Social Proximity segments are uniquely generated for each marketer using social graph data from websites who partner with us. The result is large, high-propensity targeting segments consisting of people with similar age, gender, interests, and purchasing behavior. We then target that custom network across the web. In terms of what data is most important for brands, we've already built in targeting that captures only current and reciprocal relationships.
iMedia: In your opinion, what is a key aspect of social marketing that brands aren't paying enough attention to?
Wheeler: Brands are not activating the implicit social connections that exist around their customers and fans to improve customer acquisition, retention, favorability, and customer loyalty. Our SocialDNA platform uncovers an amazing amount of anonymous data about the social network characteristics around a brand's audience and makes it all actionable.
iMedia: Often, social media conversations are overly dominated by a few voices. How do you determine whether they accurately reflect the feelings of the silent majority?
Wheeler: Yes, there are often a few fans and or detractors that are always present, and many things can be done to drive increased advocacy from these groups across the social web. Our strategy is to capture a much larger audience of social connections that we use to improve advertising targeting and relevance for users. Effectively, we become a bridge for the marketer from "earned" social media programs into scalable paid media.
iMedia: How do you recommend brands determine which platforms are worthwhile for them when conducting their social media conversations?
Wheeler: The question here is, "Where should a brand conduct their social media conversations?" The answer is wherever their customer is most receptive and engaged, which could be on social networks, on the brand's site, within blogs, or across your advertising program overall.
Jodi Harris is senior editor at iMedia Connection.
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