Social Media Data Collection & You!

Social Media Data Collection & What You Need to Know

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the cost in personal information that occurs by participating in online social media.    It’s a “free” relationship that we initiate and companies are now starting to understand the complexity of managing social media data that is collected.  We should all take some time to understand the following 3 lessons learned from companies that have not done a great job in protecting this data in the past.

1. Awareness is the Beginning.

It’s increasingly important for companies to fully understand how social media interactions with mass consumer bases actually work and to question how they can be more responsible stewards of their customers’ data. Much of society views all 3rd parties that receive personal information as malicious.  However, there are brands that depend on direct social media contact with consumers.  Understanding why that information is needed and how it protect it is key.  For some businesses, their direct marketing strategy is based on the data that is gathered and customers do benefit greatly from this approach.

2. Fair Exchange Increases Consumer Willingness.

For the companies that rely on direct marketing strategies, eliminating this type of data collection is not realistic and would be a detriment to their business model.  Loyalty programs are based around this type of data and as time passes,  consumers are more comfortable sharing this information.   One recent survey indicated that 87 percent of online shoppers are willing to trade personal information for better shopping experiences. The shift in customers allowing this data exchange and enjoying the benefits has allowed marketers and consumers to develop more personalized relationships.  All of this is based on in-depth access to consumer data.

However, the recent events at Facebook have thrown a wrench in the works. A subset of bad third-party actors, such as Cambridge Analytica, has created an issue that affects ANY company working with social media.   As a result, Facebook has stopped development work of thousands of third-party apps that access its users and their data. This means that hundreds of well-known brands, including the trusted vendors that help those brands manage their customer interactions, have also had to stop or slow up the improvement, support and maintenance of their social media accounts.

While this is problematic, it’s not unwarranted as we would all agree that more transparency is needed when it comes to how our personal data is used.

3. Adaptability is key.

Many companies that work with social media are well versed in the best way to handle this data and can adapt quickly to new regulations and changes.  Most major companies employ 3rd party platforms to handle their numerous social media interactions.  For these companies, changes in regulation and and protocol are much more easily managed.

However, there are major differences in legitimate 3rd party third-party vendors and the illegitimate data harvesters.  Understanding these differences and how companies manage their data will be the driving force behind how a company proceeds.  Do they choose a customized program that meets their needs specifically or a standardized platform that can be more easily adapted to changes in regulations?

In general, companies will have to provide transparency into their data collection and be prepared to have a platform in place that can quickly and easily adapt to new changes in policy & regulations.

Contact us for more information regarding compliance and what you can do to make sure you are protected.  For more information regarding this topic, you can view the source for this blog post and dive deeper into the subject matter.