Marketers, Help Facebook Users Manage Online Identity

Marketers, the new buzz phrase for you is personal identity management. That’s how you’re going to get information from customers over Facebook.

Forrester Research believes users of social networking sites like Facebook will gain much more control over how their online data are shared, and which companies will gain access to it, to avoid moments of, “How do they know that about me?”

The research firm invoked last fall’s uproar over on social data company RapLeaf collecting and selling social network users’ data, and pointed out that a year later, collection and use of that data remains mostly unregulated.

However, several government agencies are turning their attention to the topic, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Department of Transportation, and the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority.

Forrester’s suggestions for customer intelligence professionals seeking to harvest data on potential customers are:

  • Incentive: Since they will no longer be able to buy data, customer intelligence firms will have to entice potential customers to provide it in exchange for perks including merchandise, services, discounts, special offers, etc.
  • Be clear: “With consumers in control, 50-page privacy statements with deeply hidden sections around social media won’t work,” Forrester said, suggesting that being open and honest about how data are collected and used will help them avoid access being denied or other negative reactions from consumers.
  • Use it wisely: Since potential customers will have the right to withdraw their data permission at any time, customer intelligence firms must focus on true targeted advertising and not let opportunities fall by the wayside.

Forrester’s “How Personal Identity Management Will Change Social Marketing Relationships” report concludes:

Customer intelligence professionals will evolve their understanding of social media and combine it with their legacy knowledge of collecting customer data to drive this initiative forward for marketing. But to make this possible, customer intelligence must learn more about social media to understand what value means in interactive channels.

Cross-functional teams will emerge, drawing from interactive marketing’s expertise in building in social channels and customer intelligence’s experience in capturing and managing customer data. Personal identity management won’t happen overnight, but customer intelligence teams should start planning for social data, building these relationships now in preparation for the changing customer data landscape.

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