The rise of Big Data, and Big Data integration, is very much of interest to those who want to leverage the value of social media data. This is data from social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and many others, that not only show trending topics but very deep insight into the minds of those who may be purchasing products or services, market trends within a specific product space, and the ability to make fairly accurate predictions around changing attitudes of specific demographics that determine future behavior.
Indeed, there are many social media experts who make a good living gathering and interpreting this data. However, as this information becomes more available, and integration technology more capable, perhaps it’s time to understand how you can create your own data analytics that incorporate social media data.
The concept is rather simple. Take your existing operational business data, such as sales of a product over a period of time, which could be replicated in a new data store, or perhaps accessed through a data virtualization engine. The data is consumed into either a data visualization tool (visual) or perhaps within data analytics services (non-visual). Here is where this and other data sources can be analyzed, or, in other words, mashed-up, to compare and contrast the data to determine nuggets of information that will be helpful to the business.
The social media data can be replicated from the social media data providers to new data that is stored within the enterprise, or perhaps accessed directly from the social media data provider using data services that most provide. The idea is to look at massive amounts of data, existing as structured or unstructured data stores, to determine patterns that may be relevant to the business. For instance:
- The ability to determine the success of a new product line based upon the number of times it’s mentioned on Twitter in a positive way, as related to sales data.
- The ability to understand the demographics around who’s the ultimate user of a product or service by monitoring new video posts on YouTube, as related to sales and customer data.
- The ability to spot issues with product quality, and quickly correct them, by monitoring posted complaints before they affect sales of the product.
The key here is to get started in the use of social media data, which requires a sound data integration strategy and key enabling data integration technology. The ability to leverage historical or near-time information is a critical strategic advantage that most organizations will benefit from. Of course, data integration is the key to success.