Why Marketers Care About Your Social Influence, part 1

Posted on June 10, 2012

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(Part 1 of a 3 part post)

All Data Matters

Social Media is alive and well and political campaigns are heating up and using social media to promote, market, and push their agenda and like any good arms race, you can’t afford not to collect available data on your users and supporters. Platforms like Salesforce, CoTweet, and Hootsuite already allow organizations and marketers to see Klout scores in their databases and in their social media flow.

This isn’t anything new, but social media changes the playing ground. History shows us that political campaigns in the U.S. have particularly obsessed over this type of data. Think about the 2004 presidential election, when some entrepreneurial staffers on the George W. Bush campaign developed a micro-targeting strategy to identify influential voting blocs like the now-famous “independent soccer moms” based on hundreds of data points from consumer activity and voting histories.

In fact, in the last eight years, the amount of data that firms like TargetPoint and Catalist, which sell information to politicians, has tripled, from 300 unique data points on each voter in 2004 to more than 900 today.

Last week I wrote a blog and reposted an article about how social media is playing a huge roll in this year’s election. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is reportedly on the brink of a related breakthrough in digital campaigning — tying multiple data points together to provide more comprehensive profiles of voters to enable smarter campaigning. A project called Dashboard will integrate strands of voter, donor, and online supporter data typically housed in separate databases. If Dashboard works, the information a volunteer phone banker collects in a conversation with you about your likelihood to vote will be added to your donation history and email response history. A staffer will then be able to decide if you’re worth including in a door-to-door canvass. The volunteer who knocks on your door could already have an idea of your passions and interests from the tweets linked to your database record.

The value path for this information may not be clear to every organization, but you can’t play the game or experiment if you don’t have the data.

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