Tips to build and manage social profile data of your users

Online behavior tracking technique has been employed for quite some time by Web marketers, but its tools and setups do not uniquely identify individual users, only designed to group them into specific audience segments; in terms of geographical, gender and usage patterns.

Of course, certain legal provisions do restrict combining online user behavior tracking with offline data sources. So how do businesses get to know each user, rather than as a ubiquitous one out of many? Obtaining the user’s social profile data is the first step. The guide below explains in brief how to access relevant social profile information, even while doing away with some of the hurdles associated with the process of data gathering.

Remember the fact that social profile data is dynamic and complex. It can range from education history and professional affiliations to friends lists and checkins, depending on the particular network.

The data is meaningful only if actionable. In other words, it’s of little value if you are not able to feed it to existing systems like content personalization engines or email marketing tools. It’s relevant when combined with other allied data sources, and not necessarily a substitute to them. What you already know about a user in person through offline sources is equally valuable. The aim is to augment such existing inputs with this new social data source.

Here are some vital considerations to collect, store and manage your users’ social profile data.

Learn to structure & discipline

Devise ways to host social profile data in a flexible, extensible and secured schema. This will make sure it is bound by a set of rules and constraints. For instance, verify that a mail address is accurate as well as unique, that birth date and other details follow a standard format, that there is consistency in maintaining details of zip code, phone number etc. Check that all mandatory fields are present.

Provide multi-channel support

Smartphones now make up a significant chunk of all mobile devices in the US. Smartphone users are that much more likely to access your site on their handsets. No surprise, businesses are keen to build on this trend by providing both web and unique mobile experiences. In other words, it is important to offer multi-channel support for users. Unify user experience across a range of devices, channels and platforms like mobile devices, trusted partner sites, campaign landing pages etc. Develop a holistic, forward-looking and foolproof strategy so you won’t be required to re-architect for the new digital realm.

Think of availability, redundancy plus backup issues

Like most other user databases, your social profile storage system needs to be accessible round the clock. It should ideally be supported by SLAs (enterprise-class service-level agreements), and be well backed up so that your precious data is not lost in the face of sudden disk failures, and most significantly, be redundant. Take steps to counter service interruptions and ensure that social profile data is available in case of unforeseen situations.