For all that social media has going for it – and there’s a lot – finding ways to gather the overwhelming amount of data available to marketers, and then leverage it in ways that actually make a difference, is no easy task.

Audience targeting (that’s scalable) requires knowing how to sift through big data for the most important bits and pieces – you know, the kind that offer actionable insights about the people who use your product, the people you hope to convince to use your product, and your competitors.

The complexities are mind-boggling, especially when many brands are relying on social listening techniques and products that barely scratch the surface.

Consider a metric such as mentions – something that tells you how many people are talking about your brand. But what exactly are they saying? Is it positive? Negative? Without context the measurement is basically useless. What about comments? Sure, there’s more info to be had there – if you have the time to go through them all. But you probably only know how many comments have come through. That’s not much to work with.

Now, think about how you’re targeting your messaging. Are you just blasting every one of your followers with generic posts day after day? Are you filtering by gender, age, and location thinking that’s enough? Because it’s not even close.

You want to be a snowball, not an avalanche

The demographic breakdowns of old don’t cut it anymore. Social marketing needs to be highly personalized in order to be effective, and the only way to achieve that is by using conversation mining on social media to pick up on nuances that can help you create audience segments within segments.

Doing this manually would be impossible. Luckily, conversation mining with NetBase is a snap.

Here is just some of the information you can use to create focused segments to target:

Want/need behaviors – Refine by gender and geography, and then start digging more deeply for those who use your product, those who own it, and any cross-selling options you have.

Complaints – In this case, you’re looking at competitors, and focusing on any consumer complaints your product solves.

Category – Think broadly for a moment, because in this case you DON’T want to be too niche; you’re not “gourmet ice cream,” you’re “ice cream.” Now, tweet everyone craving a scoop.

Activity – Do you sell ski equipment? Find people who love to ski, or participate in winter sports. If they don’t know about your brand yet, or have a complaint about the one they currently use (see above) you can introduce them.

Desired benefit – Consider someone wishing to switch to non-GMO foods. You can narrow your search to include want, buy, need, and switch behaviors – filtering positive responses will show results for those looking to switch TO non-GMO foods. Or you can use our emotional analysis tools to filter positive or negative emotions about your search terms.

Unmet need – Using keywords and phrases you can find those who want what you have to offer based on not receiving it elsewhere; the phrase “my necklace broke” could prompt your jewelry company to talk about your lifetime warranty, or the quality of your products to those looking for a better brand.

Being everywhere all the time

The other big hurdle to consider is timing. Certainly in the case of the ski equipment company mentioned above, you can find those who love skiing, go back a year or two for all the data available, and then target this audience as ski season approaches.

But you also have to be able to communicate in real-time, and be able to predict future trends as well if you really want to compete.

Consider Millennials, whose favorite two letters are arguably “rn” – which stands for “right now.” That’s how they want everything. And that’s when you have to be able to market to them.

To do that, you’d use NetBase to gather info about their want behaviors, as well as the intensity of their emotions surrounding those wants – like pizza and sushi, to name two examples. Millennials love and crave these foods “rn.”

But you wouldn’t stop there. Because you want that edge that no one else has, so you’d notice any other trends in these posts – mention of Netflix, let’s say – and now, you really have an angle to work as you offer that pizza delivery coupon.

And all of this with a few clicks – in real-time.

The real trick, of course, is using this data to inform on trends so you’re ahead of the competition. To notice over the course of a few months that pizza isn’t really making the cut anymore – but every variety of wings is suddenly the new favorite Millennials craving. If you’re a pizza joint without wings on your menu, guess what you should think of adding? And you want to do it before your neighborhood competitors do, right?

Or as the Millennials say, “rn.” Because waiting just means someone else is going to get there first.

Want more examples of how NetBase can give you an edge with social intelligence? Schedule a demo with us!