Sure, most users understand that Facebook and other platforms don’t exist to give us cat memes and Buzzfeed quiz results. Like radio and TV stations, the way social media makes money is advertising. However, unlike TV, radio, newspapers, and other media, social media can provide advertisers with a lot more data. Anywhere we browse online, our history follows us. Looked at a kayak on Amazon? You’ll see that dang boat in every page you visit. And, now that “they” know you are looking at kayaks, you’ll also get served a host of ads for related products. Or maybe products related to the demographics of people who buy kayaks.

But looking at the recent issues surrounding Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, and the general population’s reaction, we can see that people don’t take kindly to “backdoor” tactics. And we don’t blame them. Most of us are used to a certain level of data sharing, even if it’s getting more and more targeted. But what can brands do to respect privacy while still leveraging information to provide great social media interactions?

More listening, less scraping

It sounds too good to be true, but you can learn a lot from your market if you spend some time really listening. You don’t need to rely on third-party data mining to find information that helps you sell your product or service. Simply “listening” to the posts of your audience can reveal a lot. Many people talk about the brands they’re loyal to, and many more complain about the bad experiences they’ve had. You can leverage that data into your own messaging and campaigns. Searching Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can yield a lot of information (try it here) without making people feel like you’ve stepped over the line.

Using AI and machine learning

These tools are the key to really listening and being able to turn that data into something you can use. Using AI and machine learning, your brand can comb through millions of profiles looking for the people talking about your brand, product, service, or some need they may have. This allows you to listen at a scale you couldn’t match with a human team. It would take a lot of people to make up a team that can listen the way AI can—and we’re willing to bet you don’t want to spend your budget on that many people.

Engage by helping individuals

Thinking about data and individual perception, especially in the wake of the latest Facebook scandal, it’s easy to see why people are up in arms. The data mined was used for political ends. It’s controversial and something that makes most people feel uncomfortable. When you listen, learn, and then help, you come across with a much more positive impression. Sure, it may feel odd for a brand to reach out directly to someone hitting the gym, cell phone shopping, or voting, but when that brand offers a kind word and a discount? The helping aspect is key to giving a good impression to target social media messaging.

Want to learn more about how KickFactory can help you leverage data and find in-market customers without negative associations? We can help. Contact us today for a free demo.

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