Today’s post is written by Jennifer Roberts.

I was riding up one of the canyon roads in Boulder, Colorado a few weekends ago.

I wanted to use the ride to work out how to write an article linking my online social behavior with the concept of a social consumer. But my high-end Sella Italia Lady saddle was distracting me; it was uncomfortable.

I refocused and thought about my online behavior and how narrowing perspective to include only my social media behavior provided an incomplete view of me as a social consumer.

Looking at my social media profile, a cycling company might analyze my behavior and identify some key attributes, such as:

  • Intentions. I share my fantasy about a cycling powered adventure a la The Path Less Pedaled wearing Rapha cycling attire.
  • Demographics. I describe my daily commute in Boulder riding my single speed on my blog.
  • Interests. I visit and leave comments at trackosaurusrex to stay ankle deep in the hip and trendy, and velodramtic to feed the romance of a long, hard ride.

A company analyzing my social signal might think that I’m a boutiquey cyclist who is open for adventure but generally makes it to the coffee shop dressed in full cycling regalia. But do any of the above social media clues provide enough insights to suggest that I intend to make a new saddle purchase, specifically a Brooks B17s?

What the Social Media Signal Leaves Out

I can share pictures of my rides, description of trails, and my favorite riding treats but unless I choose to divulge on a social media platform that I dislike my saddle and intend to purchase a Brooks, that information may remain hidden.

The sales funnel begins to resemble the game Whac-A-Mole, where I, the consumer, appear to emerge quickly, make a purchase, and then disappear again.

Understanding a social consumer requires recognizing there are other data elements that should be integrated:

  • Transactional. My purchase on Ebay of an ebony-colored, supple new Brooks B17s saddle, which is so smooth I all but slip off it going uphill.
  • Offline. I attended one of the volunteer sessions at Community Cycles, where you learn to earn a bike by donating your time.
  • Email. I signed on to receive the Brooks Dispatch so I can read how to become a more Tweedy rider.

The intent of this post is not to minimize the importance of social media nor the ease of identifying and integrating other data points into our marketing efforts but to keep in mind that social only represents one view of the customer.

Ultimately, it’s about the consumer’s experience, and identifying those key metrics that provide insights into the feelings, preferences, and behaviors a customer may express or act upon when interacting with a brand or product.

What an organization chooses to monitor and analyze will vary, but expanding your analysis beyond social media can provide a much richer understanding of your social consumer.

Are you integrating online monitoring with offline monitoring? What have you learned?

Jennifer Roberts is the marketing and content strategist for Collective Intellect, a social and enterprise text analytics company. When I’m not trying to understand the affect of social media on business, I write about my cycling adventures, tweet about my favorite Americano spots, and post pictures of my favorite trails.

Are you using measurement to properly track your social media and media relations goals?
Please join us for our next webinar: Media Relations Measurement,
with Johna Burke of BurrellesLuce moderated by Gini Dietrich.
Thursday October 27 at 11:00 a.m. CT.
This webinar is $50 and you can register here.