Saturday, 5 June 2010

MINING THE SOCIAL GRAPH

Social CRM has become the next buzzword you'll have to master.

You'll need to know:
  1. A bit about Facebook and Twitter; and
  2. A little about CRM strategy
  3. A lot about data analytics

The problem with the current hype around social CRM is that there are lots of people evangelising their skills who know about point 1 (Facebook and Twitter) but know little about CRM, and data, and the 40 year old science that sits around it.

We - in digital - are fond of re-learning the lessons of advertising over and over again. Our contempt for traditional advertising obfuscates our opportunity to learn. Social CRM is still in its infancy, and is better described as social direct marketing. Lester Wunderman - generally considered the father of direct marketing- introduced a "direct marketing" approach to service his clients, using the medium of clients’ mailboxes as a way to develop a more personal connection with potential customers than general advertising had previously found possible. Exchange the word mailbox for Facebook account, and add the fact that your friends can see and act on these messages in your mailbox, and we are talking social CRM.

Twitter is generous with data, but Facebook is a closed shop. Once the data that is trapped inside the Facebook API is released, social media strategists will need to take a crash course in data strategy. Segmentation and targeting will become more important. Remember recency, frequency, and monetary value (RFM Analysis)? Lifetime value modelling. Use of regression and Chi-square. Add to these techniques the maths that surround graph theory and you can see why I've been calling for a new class of professional to tackle this complexity. The Digital Economist will be key to deciphering the changing landscape of advertising. The list of data and CRM techniques is endless, but if social CRM is to pay for itself, social strategists will need to master these techniques and invent a few of their own.

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