5 Perspectives on Data-Driven Social Media Marketing

By: Natascha Thomson, MarketingXLerator

April 13, 2017

Data-driven marketing is not just a buzz term, it’s a real business need for those who want to stay competitive.

Closed-loop attribution is still the elusive Holy Grail that each marketer dreams to achieve. But data analysis requires human intervention and it’s easy to mistakenly select metrics that are not delivering the full picture or are misleading.

To crack the code on closed-loop marketing and understand how marketers are implementing data, I’ve collaborated with my friend and peer, JC Giraldo. We reached out to our networks to get insights from some of the industry’s brightest minds, by asking the following: Everybody talks about data-driven marketing. Are you using data for your social media marketing efforts? How does it guide your decisions?

Laura Martinez Molera, regional marketing manager, HubSpot

At HubSpot, we base all our decisions on data, from the color and text of CTAs to the content of our nurturing emails. We gather information from our consumers such as the most visited websites, sources of our traffic (organic, social media, email, etc.), the best topic for blog posts to get conversions and the best time of day to publish. With all of this information, we analyze and extract conclusions, so every time we create new content, we apply these findings to optimize the results.

A common practice is that we create Smart Content on our emails so we can offer personalized content based on consumers’ past preferences, to create more targeted and relevant experiences.

For example, I can easily adapt an email based on the response to the last received email, if they opened it, clicked it or converted on it. For the people who clicked but didn’t convert, I create a retargeting campaign so I can give them more information on the topic to continue nurturing them and, eventually, help them convert.

Learn more from Natascha Thomson at The Social Shake-Up, which will be held May 22-24, 2017, in Atlanta. Brand communicators from Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, The Home Depot, Nissan, Arby’s and many more will speak on a breadth of topics from content marketing to measurement to Snapchat strategy.

Simon Kemp, founder at Kepios and global consultant at We Are Social

Whenever possible, I use data to help my clients in their marketing work, but I make use of it in my own efforts too. It doesn’t have to be ‘big’ data to make a difference though; simple insights can often add real value too. For example, understanding which kinds of content drive different kinds of outcomes has particular value and I use simple social media data to identify these insights.

I’ve noticed that my longer, more in-depth posts like this drive many invitations to connect on LinkedIn, but often result in few basic responses (such as likes) compared to my more simple social shares, like this one. Obviously you’ll need to work out what you’re aiming for in terms of outcomes for this to be most useful to you. But I’ve found this basic data has helped me grow different kinds of audiences—with different kinds of value—on different digital platforms.

The data also suggests that there are certain times of day and days of the week that perform well, but I find that this kind of data can be dangerous. If you always post at a similar time, it gets more difficult to broaden your network or audience beyond the one you’ve already established. However, knowing when certain kinds of content work (or don’t work) makes it easier to plan important updates and shares.

Shilpi Agarwal, founder & chief social data analyst, Social Strategi

Data is abundant. Everyone agrees that you can’t create a winning social media strategy without knowing your KPIs and constantly looking at data. But the winning components are contextual and relevant data.

I look at social media data from this perspective: I try to understand the stories hidden in this data, what it reveals about our social media fans, followers, our customers, their behavior and our competition. Next, I look at how I can apply these social data insights to business growth, which guides my decisions.

JC Giraldo, founder, Podcast and Business

Everyone is talking about data and its benefits but the most important thing is what we will do with this data. As a podcaster, I am constantly checking my data, at least three times a week, for each of my episodes and their performance, both during the broadcast and after an episode has been posted.

MarketingXLerator, Natascha Thompson, CEO,

Natascha Thomson, CEO, MarketingXLerator

This data allows me to (re)direct my strategy toward my listeners or even create written content related to my episodes to increase the reach of my podcast. My podcast platform provides me the information about how, when, where or from which platform (device or browser) somebody listened to an episode of my podcast. Data is essential in deciding the next steps in our marketing strategy.

Shino Tanaka, digital media consultant 

Absolutely. You must use data to inform, develop and adjust your social media marketing efforts. This data impacts scope, timing, budget…so it’s a significant part of the decision-making process. Ultimately, if you better understand your audience through data, you can leverage it to create more meaningful campaigns.


Natascha Thomson is the co-author of “42 Rules for B2B Social Media Marketing” and blogs regularly on sites including Social Media Today, LinkedIn, Medium, PSDNetwork, SOTGC and Yerdle. She is also an adjunct instructor in advanced social media marketing at UCSC Extension Silicon Valley, and CEO of social media marketing consultancy MarketingXLerator.

Connect with Natascha: @NaThomson

At The Social Shake-Up