Over the last ten years, social media has evolved to a point where it plays an integral role in most of our lives. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have created a whole new way for people to connect and stay in touch with those who matter most. When Facebook went public in 2012, it showed the world that social media was not only a hip trend, but a potentially powerful business tool with some legitimate value behind it.
With multiple media outlets reporting news about the alleged use of phone records in privacy scandals, the idea of government or businesses having access to our personal data has become pretty controversial. Recently, data visualization expert Eric Fischer and computer engineers at Mapbox, an enterprise mapping firm, released several colored maps showing the impact of metadata — the who, where, and how behind our communications — across the globe. In the process, it was proved that when stripped down for research purposes, the resulting data can be very useful in helping businesses increase sales and provide better services for their clients.
According to the map data, there is much to be learned from a simple 140-character message. By tracking Twitter posts alone, Fischer and his crew were able to create three interactive global maps that look to represent a battleground with marked territories for smartphone rivals Android, Blackberry, and the mighty iPhone. The first map showed tourist travel trends around the world. The second showed a breakdown of languages used in posts. The third revealed the type of devices used for posting.
While the average person may not get much use out of these maps, savvy business professionals can squeeze out a considerable amount of value. Using a combination of all three maps, businesses can more accurately diagnose the conditions of their target markets. Just for the sake of an example, a New York-based managed service provider targeting higher end clientele would learn from the data that iPhones are used primarily in city centers and more affluent neighborhoods, while Blackberry devices are used in major financial districts. With this information, the MSP could technically devise a combination of social media and offline marketing campaigns targeting those neighborhoods pinpointed by the map.
Making Data-Driven Business Decisions
Lately there has been a lot of talk about big data and its potential to make a huge impact. Of course there are quite a few layers to this thing, but the big idea behind this whole trend is using analytics and intelligence to make informed decisions from the corporate meeting room to the operating table. The metadata-made maps we’ve been covering here are built on 280 million tweets from around the world, which was what the team ended up with after getting rid of all the duplicates. With research revealing that Twitter users are posting to the tune of gaudy numbers like 400 million tweets per day, you realize that this project merely teased a small sample of the precious metadata that exists in the social realm.
As technology and channels like social media continue to evolve, businesses must learn to dynamically evolve right along with them. The business that survives and thrives in the future will be one that takes the gifts handed to them, like these maps, and incorporates them into a strategically concocted battle plan.
Chances are you already use social media, but do you know how to really fill out your social media profile?