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The Offline Power of Social Media Data

Published: May 15, 2013

Author: Cody Vest

market segmentation data
The abundance of social media data has been widely publicized. Unfortunately, many business owners and brand managers don’t realize that a lot of this information is available to them for the price of an hour or two of data mining.
Here are five ways, just to name a few, that this data can help, and a handful of ways to get you there quickly.

1. Market Behavior Analysis

One of the greatest values of social media, as far as I am concerned, is the astonishing amount of data available based upon behavior on the various platforms. Using just the basic options within the Facebook Ads tool (facebook.com/ads/manage), you have a wealth of information on your market and their interests.
Utilizing your page admin rights, you can simply put in unique interests, then transfer the number that Facebook generates in the upper right corner into an Excel grid and divide by total fans to get a percentage that tells you how various interests overlap with your brand’s audience.
You could go further and break that down by ZIP code or state, or age, or one or more of the Facebook prebuilt categories. Note here that these numbers do not merely reflect active likes, but even status mentions, shares, and comments on brands that users haven’t liked. It’s pretty sweet!
Additionally, if you use Google Chrome and really want to get serious, the recently released Facebook Partner Categories can even give you buying behavior using the same basic math.
partner categories data
There is more to this, and methods of actually getting competitive market data are available too. It’s a bit too complicated to write into an article, but it is important to at least recognize that with the right Facebook consultant, you can get these numbers if you want them.
The data discovered here is bigger than just social. This is data that agencies pay big bucks to obtain for building offline campaign elements.

2. Easy Market Segmentation

As mentioned above, knowing what your audience is buzzing about is huge, but to be able to break down that data into age ranges and geographical locations is amazingly powerful.
Using the math mentioned in the first point, you could go ahead and break that down by ZIP code if you are a local brand. From this, you can build a deep understanding of your market at a level that, 30 years ago, only the biggest brands could afford.
Again, the offline/real world effect of this can be huge. Need to attract more seniors?  Use Facebook to discover what motivates them and what they like, and look at those brands to understand your options.

3. Competitive Audiences

Another simple method of gaining competitive insights is to enter larger brand categories into the precise interest tab in the Ads tool. You can get a sense of how many of your fans are defecting to your competitors.
Of course, with the Ads tool you could target competitor fans, but this holds true offline as well. Understanding the lay of the land in marketing is something that the big guys spent big money to discover in years past. The playing field is becoming far more level as social data becomes widely distributed.

4. Consumer Modeling

By running the numbers above, and doing it en masse, you can also discover the top affinities among your fan base. This ultimately allows you to build accurate consumer models by which you can better target your audience with offline and online advertising.
consumer modeling
You can uncover a pretty clear picture of who your fans are, and what moves them, by understanding their top likes and interests.

5. Look-Alike Modeling

If you know someone who understands web coding pretty well, you can also get them to build a way for you to identify your top fans using the Graph API. The Graph API holds all the activity that has happened on your page, and by mining that data you can quickly discover both who is most active on your social pages, as well as who has the most friends on Facebook and is most active among high fan count followers. These are often called influencers.
The visibility allows you to reward them accordingly on Facebook, as well as celebrate them when acting offline.
Creating buzz is half the battle in a cluttered market. To think it can be that easy!


It’s surprising what information has become available to business owners and brand managers in this era of social media. Unfortunately, not many know about it.  Fortunately, you do. The potential impact for brands both on and offline is extraordinary. I have seen it with my own eyes.
Give it a try, and let me know how it works for you. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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