Data units that are taken from networking sites usually are difficult to categorize than the ordinary information direct marketers gather in their data mining expeditions. This is explained by the fact that psychographic data from those networks are hard to understand. Social media networkers could sometimes be using fake profiles bearing false information about them. It is therefore important that marketers getting information by social media data mining do it, but bear this fact in mind. There are a number of good practices for collecting data from social networks known as best practices for social media data mining. These practices include:
1. Respecting the privacy of social networkers.
2. Using the data to create prospect profiles-here marketers can collect aggregated, anonymized data to understand what consumers like or dislike about a particular product or service.
3. Append social media data to house files; if a marketer takes Facebook’s advice and invite their friends by uploading their e-mail lists, no more than 500 addresses at a time. This may not work big brands with millions of e-mail addresses.
4. Knowing the quality of followers, friends and connections; Twytalizer and Trst.me are some tools marketers can use to determine whether their fans on social media are engaged broad fans or just subscribers.
5. Befriend influencers; after you have found out which fans of your brand are influencers, those with the highest number of twitter followers for example, you should get to know these VIPs.
6. Expect anything; taking status updates at face value from social media sites e.g. Facebook can be misleading as some updates there barely reflect the real situation on the user.
7. Add social media icons in other channels; add for example the Facebook ‘’like’’ button to your company homepage, this turns on your company’s webpage into an e-newsletter.
8. Create a proprietary social networking site.
Social media data mining has become so powerful and lucrative that governments around the world have begun to scrutinize the need for regulation in this space, especially with respect to protecting the privacy of their citizen’s that post data to these networks. While some amount of regulation is needed, what is a matter of concern is when legislators of the free world start demanding social networks involuntarily hand over their user generated content in order to enable central governments to carry out their own citizen intelligence and data mining programs. Social media data mining has enhanced the process of gathering information from the customers of the modern day companies that in the past was a cumbersome exercise for companies. In the past it used to take too long for companies to get information from the free markets and in some instances information from some faraway places never reached the researchers. The main problem with social media data mining is with regards to privacy of the social networkers. This problem if addressed exhaustively will make the whole practice be a scrupulous one.