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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Enhancing Social Network Intelligence



I was browsing the internet to see how companies have come up with several strategies to make their social media presence felt. I had already written about how social networks are beings used by debt collection companies to track delinquent customers.

My insurance company (auto & home) is pestering me to add it as a friend on Face book – which is really annoying.  There are definitely better, more subtle less annoying ways to befriend the right customer or prospect.  I want to discuss one such methodology.

We can extract useful insights from social media data by combining it with what we already know about the customer from other databases such as credit bureau, rewards and loyalty programs, public records, credit card authorization data, etc.  A smart coupling of any of these databases with social media data enhances quality of social network intelligence (SNI).

Let me walk you through a hypothetical example to elaborate my viewpoint.  Mr John is a Marriott rewards member with a Marriott rewards credit card. He has accumulated significant reward points over the years.  He is active on Facebook where his posts include several dinner outings he has enjoyed with his significant other. Let us examine how we can convert this social media post into actionable intelligence or Social Network Intelligence (SNI).

Data on John’s stay at the Marriott as well as rewards card usage is captured by Marriott and Chase Cards and mutually shared.  When we combine transaction level data i.e. card authorization data with John’s Facebook posts, we have an intelligence multiplier. We can authenticate or validate his favorite cuisines by cross matching social media posts with credit card authorization data with the following information:

a)    how many times in a given period did John eat out
b)    how much did he spend 
c)    the restaurant  and (hence the cuisine) he frequents

Here two important points have to be noted

1)    Social Media posts is tracked for actual willingness and the ability to pay for choice of product  / service – cuisine in our example
2)    By this validation , we have converted a social media posts into social network intelligence -  euphemism for  actionable intelligence

Social networks provide a wealth of information, but often in its raw data. For example John’s posting about his favorite dinner outings viewed in isolation may not be as powerful as when we know if he has actually spent money and how much on his dinners.  When combined with other databases, social media posts enhance its commercial usability.

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