Speaking at the MicroStrategy Social Media Marketing and iCommerce Summit in Monte Carlo today, Solis said marketers are not using data available via social media to understand their customers, objectives or measure ROI.

Solis, principal at research advisory firm Altimeter and author of marketing book Engage, said brands need to start considering the return as being, “actions, reactions and transactions”.

“It can’t just be about conversation,” he said. “This has to be at the beginning; what is it that you want out of it [social media]?”

Solis said brands’ lack of understanding about who their customers are is holding them back from being able to use social media to impact their bottom line.

He added that brands should use their own proprietary data, as well as tap into the social data of their consumers by using tools, such as APIs, or influencer measurement tools, such as Klout or Peer Index.

Segmenting users through data would aid a brand’s use of social media, said Solis, with focus on “a data golden triangle of social media, mobile and real-time”.

Solis also claimed that brands’ lack of understanding of different customers or the complexities of different social networks was actually making them “anti-social”.

Earlier at the conference, data and technology firm MicroStrategy announced a set of new tools to help brands build apps and commerce tools using social data.

The Gateway is one of the latest firms looking to leverage social data available on a brand’s Facebook fans to inform brand CRM, marketing or sales strategies.

Michael J Saylor, chairman and CEO of MicroStrategy, said: “CEOs across many industries are committing their enterprises to establishing social media strategies, but very few have a clear idea of what to do, and even fewer have the technology to carry out their vision.”

The company also launched a consumer-facing product called Alert, a mobile app that imports a person’s Facebook Likes into it, allowing people to more easily keep tabs on the brands, celebrities and events they are interested in. The app also lets brands provide a m-commerce service that delivers users with messages based on their demographic and location-based data.

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