Big Data Scams Aside – Why Your Users Will Still Share Their Social Identity Data



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This is a guest post by Higinio Maycotte, CEO of Umbel

It’s no secret that big data is becoming a big deal. A few years ago, an on-site Facebook login was innovative and attractive, even to the consumers sharing their social info. Now, with recent security threats (think the NSA and SnapChat), consumers are on high alert. Add that to the fact that many social platforms are losing audiences to more anonymous platforms (again think SnapChat with Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy’s reluctance to sell to Facebook, a platform that has been losing younger audiences since 2011), and suddenly getting individualized data about your user becomes a much more caveated task.

No brand wants to cultivate a sense of distrust among its users, but to increase the bottom line, personalization, thoughtful campaigns, and the like are becoming more and more necessary. Can you count on users, then, to simply tell you what they want? We wouldn’t have the Mac or i-anything if you could.

“People don’t know what they want until you show them,” Steve Jobs told Business Week in 1998, and Apple’s success under his guidance is proof. The same is true with how a brand utilizes an individual’s data points, often by showing that user content he or she is more likely to share, products he or she is more likely to buy and introducing him and her to a tailored web experience.

So, how do you get the consumer onboard? These three founders, CEOs, and social media specialists break down the challenges from a consumer’s point of view.

Offer Incentives — Ones People Actually Want

“Users will give you just about anything for the right incentive,” says Peter Sena II, founder and executive creative director at Digital Surgeons, a digital marketing agency specializing in creating better brand experiences. “If you offer them a personalized or concierge experience [i.e. customized promotions, access to curated content or “invite only” experiences], they won’t think twice about hitting the connect button with Facebook or Twitter.”

Aside from giving them access to a customized site experience, and then delivering on it, the speed of login makes a social media sign-in appealing.

“Simply clicking the Facebook Connect button over a lengthy signup process is a great emotional driver for a user,” says Sena.

Assure Privacy — And Mean It

Honesty and transparency are necessary, if you want to gather social data from your users. Speed of login and delivered curated experiences can only take you so far — and most sites are already offering both those options.

“Privacy concerns first come to mind,” says Sena. “Users are opting out of being tracked wherever possible.”

With big data scandals on the brain, users want to know now, more than ever, what their social data will be used for. Essentially, brands need to explain why they are gathering it, and keep true to what they say.

“Reassure users that their information is safe,” says Jacob Shriar, growth manager at OfficeVibe, an employment engagement platform. “As the brand, you choose what information you collect from their social identity. Only collect what is necessary, and explain why you are collecting what you’re collecting. Brands need to strike that balance between relevancy and not being too creepy with what they seem to know.”

Convenience – Make It Your Priority

“The absolute number one thing that drives consumer experience is convenience,” says Ashley Baboota, a social media consultant for multiple tourism and hospitality agencies.

And if your social login isn’t offering a convenient solution to real world problems, then no one will sign up — even if you’re delivering on privacy and speed. In 2013, 17.4% of web traffic came from mobile, and that percentage is predicted to increase as smartphone prices drop and WiFi coverage expands.

“One of the beauties of mobile is that it’s real-time,” says Shriar. “Brands can really target their users with relevant stuff. Imagine being in a shopping mall and, as you’re walking by BestBuy, for instance, you get a notification for a 50% off deal valid for the next hour.”

Social login isn’t for everyone, and shouldn’t act as a barrier to your content. Don’t forget to give your users an alternate option for connecting online for those who prefer not to use their social accounts.

Now, your social login is positively affecting your user’s life and it’s helping other brands optimize on customer opportunities. Your brand essentially becomes the search engine, the advertisement and the map — all in one. Combine convenience with speed, customization and security, and attracting users to opt into social identity data sharing won’t just increase your own bottom line — it will improve the customer experience and their perception of your brand.

Was it exactly what they asked for? Probably not, but your brand can make it better than what they thought they wanted. That’s how you get users to give you their social identity data: create experiences that utilize that data to their benefit.

Want more on privacy and mobile consumers? Check out our events focused on privacy aspects and mobile here. Then, get your pass for SMW NYC.

As the great-grandson of the Mexican general who shot off Pancho Villa’s leg, Higinio “H.O.” Maycotte embodies the spirit of a true revolutionary. His infectious passion and uncanny ability to predict the future has led him to found many successful start-ups including: Flightlock (acquired by Control Risks), Finetooth (now called Mumboe), and one of the first online non-profit media organizations, the Texas Tribune. He leads the Umbel team with one eye focused on battle tactics, one eye focused on long-term vision, and one eye focused on his iPhone. H.O. studied electrical and biomechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

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