In order to have a successful business today, you must establish a thriving presence on various social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest). However, in order to accomplish this, you need to know what strategies work and which to avoid. For that, you need information.

Big Data provides you with not only the information you need, but also the means to completely drown you in a sea of data. Yes, Big Data is great, but it can be a bit overwhelming. Okay, make that very overwhelming. So what’s an ambitious business to do when it wants to use Big Data to improve social media performance? That’s what you’re about to find out …

Why Analytics Matter

One of the biggest advantages and, consequently, biggest disadvantages of social media is that there are so many platforms and ways of establishing and maintaining a viable online presence. On one hand, that’s a good thing, since it means you have a lot of options for how to handle social media engagement. On the other hand, with so many choices, how can you know what the right ones are? In fact, with so many choices out there, the chances of going in the wrong direction increase accordingly.

That’s why any business worth its salt is paying attention to the available metrics, which in turn are a part of what makes up Big Data. There are web listening tools out there that keep track of the volume of mentions, top domains, sentiment activity, and most-used words. In addition, there are platform-specific metrics that deal with how many shares, followers, likes, views, retweets, and other stats.

It’s through the above examples and others that a business gets the idea of just how effective their assorted social media efforts are. By having an accurate measurement of audience reaction as seen by the above metrics, a business can see what works and what should be dropped.

Visualization Is The Key

So even though we’ve established that analytics are important in establishing a social media presence, we still need to figure out how to read all of that information. That has always been the challenge of Big Data; presenting such a large amount of information in a way that is actually useful to the business that wanted the data in the first place.

This is where visualization comes in. Visualization in this case is defined as any manner employed to help users understand Big Data information by means of rendering it in a visual format. The majority of people process information better when it’s presented with images- graphs, charts, and the like, rather than with text-dense paragraphs. By seeing information rendered by graphics, it becomes easier to notice patterns, correlations, and trends.

As the article “How to Collect & Visualize Big Data Insights from Social Media” says, “Once visualized, valuable insights into what’s working and what isn’t in social media engagement with your target audience becomes clear.” In fact, here’s a short video that takes the article and gives a specific example.

Practical Application

How does this visualization get put to use? Maybe you have a table that shows a breakdown of age demographics as they pertain to who visits your Facebook page. Or perhaps there’s a chart that shows if readers prefer to respond to surveys or if they like having a daily quiz question. It could even be a graph that shows which topics your subscribers share or retweet.

The bottom line is, acquiring Big Data information and using visualization to render it into a useful form will eliminate the guesswork of where, how, and when you should be focusing your social media efforts.