Challenges and Benefits
Social media data is grossly undermined and undervalued. Consumers are often their unabashed selves on these platforms. The data trail they leave behind is absolute gold. It also makes for great research on what the competition is doing. And wherever there is data, there is data scraping. There is so much you can tell about a person (hello, buyer personas!) by just drawing insights from their social media activities. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the like are providing businesses with a wealth of immediate customer feedback. Manually monitoring them all is a thing of the distant past. Social media data scraping can therefore help you find potential leads and get hands-on voluminous and hidden data. Post scraping data, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning algorithms can be used to understand complex language structures and similarly sort text.
Let us now understand this in greater detail.
For Starters, How Legal is it Really?
These are really blurred lines. Just last year Facebook sued two people over unethical social media scraping. LinkedIn took matters to court as well when they noticed that several fake profiles had been created to scrape web data. LinkedIn claimed that these profiles went against the US federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Web scraping is only legal when it is not permitted or when web data scraping services go against the bylaws that have been put into place. While sentiment analysis is completely legal, using private data to modify your potential consumers’ newsfeed and bombard them with ads might not be the best way to go.
The LinkedIn suit, however, is ongoing. Creating fake profiles for social media data scraping purposes is really frowned upon. Which in essence is what needs to be circumvented. The purpose of scraping, as we mentioned, is equally responsible for deciding what lies in the ambit of legality.
LinkedIn and Facebook usually claim that they are not opposed to scraping data in its entirety, as it is used heavily for SEO purposes, but they have to tighten security measures to prevent anything that violates the rights of their users. The use of scraped data also has to be used for non-competing purposes. Web scrapers can’t defy their robust security. Always take the permission if you have to be in the clear and reveal you’re true motives. Ethical social media data scraping is invaluable. Now that we have cleared the biggest doubts people have and explained how not to use social media scraping, let us revel in the glory that this data brings.
Businesses should be able to assess what customers are saying about their products and their industry at large. It is important to be able to address both positive and negative mentions almost instantaneously to garner the most engagement. This makes the customer feel important and it is a great way of letting them know that you care about them. This takes customer experience to another level. They might have something to say about the delivery experience, the unboxing experience, the feature they love, or the feature they want. All of this is gold for your organization. User-generated content is where real marketing lies.
It is also great to keep track of consumer demands and areas of improvement. Consumers intrinsically trust what other consumers have to say about your brand infinitely more than what you have to say about your brand. Keeping close tabs on what your potential audience is talking about is essential. That is great market research right there.
Scaling Social Data Analysis
Sentiment analysis tools and social media data scrapers can process enormous amounts of social data in a matter of seconds, allowing you to scale up, or down, with equal ease. Even if you’re experiencing high volumes of data, due to heavy season demands or a recent product release, you’ll be able to meet otherwise unforeseen customer demands without having to worry about the cost of hiring new employees or lapping up inventory.
Online Reputation Management
Social media data scraping for online reputation management (ORM) is a huge blessing for businesses. You just have to know who is talking about you (or your competitor). This especially rings true when your brand has a heavy social media presence. If things go awry or a customer leaves an unpleasant review, regular scraping can help you salvage the situation almost instantaneously. You are now equipped to play your own PR. You have to either propel a positive brand reputation or repair a damaged reputation. Bad publicity can be great publicity if handled smartly and quickly. If you have to manually track mentions, you could bid adieu to everything we just talked about. As of earlier this year, over 2 billion people are using social media. This is one of the multiple cases where data scraping truly outshines. It will help you formulate a solid ORM strategy for both promotion and damage control.
Identifying Key Target Audience Segments
Once your business has built a solid base on social media platforms, web crawling and scraping will allow you to quickly find the key demographic of those who engage consistently with your content. This would help you lay down your entire digital marketing strategy.
Furthermore, data can be easily scraped to identify and mark the social media users in the target demographics that aren’t customers yet. This gives you a huge database of potential leads. Drawing insights into what they like can help you convert them through tactical social media messaging.
Monitoring Competitors for Market Research
Businesses cannot be run in silos. It is therefore essential to keep an eye on what your immediate competitors are doing. With social media scraping and sentiment analysis, you can analyze their conversations and cracking how they are interacting with the target audience. And then you can figure if you could provide customers with a better product or service that suits customer needs better or is there a feature that customers love that you could implement in your product?
The Power of Data Scraping cannot be Ignored
Social media data scraping is truly the tech dream come true although with substantial caveats. Left in the hands of novices, there are great chances of it not sticking to the norms laid down by the platforms and getting entangled in a legal battle gets significantly higher. Premium web scraping services take enough preventive measures and are cognizant of exactly what is permitted and what the unwritten rules are. Employ one of these services, harness the beauty and power of social media data, draw insights, communicate, and watch your business turn around. The future is now.