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Marketing with Cyber Social Terrains

How companies use data-driven marketing to quickly implement digital developments and ensure their business success

January 20 2022Björn Radde

Finding the right influencers

It is more important to know how relevant and authentic brand ambassadors – influencers, key opinion leaders (KOL) and the like – and their followers are, as well as the networks they use. Data-driven marketing provides the answers with cyber social terrain maps.

Finding suitable brand ambassadors

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The disruptive influences that are currently resetting our world and value systems make it essential to respond to market requirements with more speed and precision, and to embrace a more empathetic customer experience.
To identify trends and brand ambassadors you have to:

  1. establish your position in the webosphere;
  2. evaluate topics, KOLs and target audiences and
  3. link the two with coordinated objectives and measures.

T-Systems solved these challenges with cyber social terrain maps.

Social media under scrutiny

A brand’s cyber social terrain is the specific social media environment that it inhabits. We are seeing continuous growth in social media marketing. KPIs on influencer reach and awareness can be based on fans/followers/subscribers, shares or retweets. But how informative are these KPIs when it comes to the account and follower network authenticity?

Faced with a plethora of KPIs, my colleague Uwe Klose, Vice President Marketing Strategy & Operations at T‑Systems, considered how audiences could be more effectively mapped in terms of sociodemographic criteria. “Always focus on the customer” is one of his mottos. “With data-driven marketing we can gain a better understanding of our customers, make more informed decisions, and design more targeted campaigns. But that’s only possible with integrated marketing and integrated tools,” said Uwe Klose.

Data-driven marketing establishes focus

The answers we found with 3D network structure analyses go far beyond social listening. Solution providers such as Graphika use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to create virtual, three-dimensional cyber social terrain maps. They focus on the issue of how brand communities form, and how they can be utilized for digital marketing, public affairs or to identify disinformation campaigns.

T-Systems teamed up with Graphika a few years ago for a very good reason, and we have been partners ever since. To generate attention on platforms like Twitter you need a clever strategy. Focusing on relevant topics, content and channels in the social media environment is far more effective than an across-the-board approach. And to do that you need to identify potential champions and customers on the basis of reliable data and data analyses.

Identify relevant influencers

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Graphika’s advanced machine learning algorithm scans platforms – such as Twitter – according to certain search criteria such as brand name, or search terms such as ‘security’ or ‘sustainability’, to create galaxy-like 3D maps. Each star, or node, represents one social network account. The end of the process, which involves the analysis of structural anomalies, is people-supported. Here are a few key insights into the method:

Seed lists are used to set the analysis framework with pre-defined terms, hashtags or URLs. One of T‑Systems’ objectives was to identify T-Systems security-related network structures. The algorithm then filtered up to 15,000 highly relevant accounts out of the data base. Each account has its own specific network and an underlying cyber social terrain with a reach running into millions.

Deep dive makes it possible to focus on individual network environments and answer questions such as: Which of the influencers here have an affinity with the focus term? Then you can identify KOLs with a high level of activity, authenticity and mentions, or large networks, who are the best prospects as brand ambassadors in a marketing campaign.

Suitable content for social media

Further down the road in the media monitoring or media planning process, media indicators provide information about the best places to post ads and content. For example, they monitor the presence and influence of certain media in common interest networks.

It is even possible to answer questions about a specific Twitter account: Who exactly are your corporate profile followers – and who aren’t? This is an excellent source of information for social media managers in the strategy development process.

Achieving success through monitoring

We can use the results for all kinds of digital marketing applications. Key terms and media that are identified can be used for targeted topic planning, for website SEO, for slogans and advertisements, or as campaign hashtags. On the other hand, the use of highly authentic social media accounts that are relevant for other users boosts influencer marketing success.

It can also make sense to set up an own social media expert network on the basis of data analyses that closes the gap to the consumer as the link between the brand and its communities. At T-Systems, these experts are a nexus of communities sharing their knowledge on relevant B2B topics such as connectivity, digitalization, cloud & infrastructure, and security.

Acting fast digitally

Innovation and technology-driven sectors are always dynamic. Players and trends are changing faster than ever before. Organizations that don’t take the time to understand what things are changing in their markets – particularly in times like these – will underperform. Tomorrow’s business success depends largely on whether companies can adapt to keep pace with digital developments. The front runners will be the enterprises that know their terrain and use the insights gained from modern analysis tools to make their decisions.

About the author
Björn Radde, Vice President Digital Experience

Björn Radde

VP Digital Marketing & Innovation, T-Systems International GmbH

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