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Q: How are you using social data to grow your business or get special customer insights?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. Founded by Scott Gerber, the YEC promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to unemployment and underemployment and provides entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship and resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth.

A: AddThis Equals Social Growth

AddThis makes it quick and easy to add share buttons to your site for all the common social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. In addition, they send weekly emails with tons of data, including which products were shared the most, which services were used the most, etc. We gain tons of valuable insights from these reports and get our products out through the shares.

Josh Weiss (, Bluegala (

A: Bitly for Links

We avoid using regular URLs when we post to social media channels. Using bitly or another trackable URL shortener tool can help you understand what your followers are interested in most, since bitly can show in-depth analytics about your links.

Doreen Bloch (, Poshly Inc. (

A: Find Out More With Facebook Polls

The best way to straddle the line between creating content and conducting market research in today’s social world is by issuing poll questions to your fans on Facebook. Facebook has recently made this easier to do when posting an update to your page.

Logan Lenz (, Endagon (

A: Brag About It a Little!

Collecting demographic information and including it in your pitch decks tells your clients exactly who their hard-earned dollars will be targeting. Using Facebook Insights, Google Analytics and MailChimp’s Analytics360 WordPress plug-in, you can gain better insights on who your users are, and who your products and services are serving.

Matt Wilson (, Under30CEO (

A: Track Popular Topics on PostRank

I love PostRank — it’s easy to install, and it allows you to track which topics and blog posts are hitting the mark and which ones are falling flat. PostRank tracks social media engagement, comments and links. It then gives a score to each of your blog posts, giving you insights into what people love reading from your company.

Nathalie Lussier (, Nathalie Lussier Media (

A: Compete Through Conversation Trends

Gather social conversations related to your brand, competitors and industry, sort out topics by context and sentiment, and do a good old-fashioned SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Once you know how you’re perceived in the market in comparison to your competitors, you’ll have a better picture to move forward and position yourself according to your best strengths.

Allie Siarto (, Loudpixel (

A: What Are Your Buzz Words?

I look at historical marketing data from social media to determine what phrases people are using when interacting with my service. Reading this data can unlock keywords you may never have considered or insights which might not be obvious. If you do it right, you can find out what words customers are looking for and what times and channels are best for publishing those words.

Lucas Sommer (, Audimated (

A: Learn How to Brainstorm

Surveys and polls are helpful to get a general feeling of customer sentiment, but they are limited. Napkin Labs is a startup out of Boulder, Colorado, that has created the Brainstorm app. This tool allows you to have discussions with customers — and facilitates fans talking to one another — to share ideas. So you don’t just get ideas, you get insights.

Aaron Schwartz (!/ModifyWatches), Modify Watches (

A: Discover New Social Connections

The most prominent people are affiliated with multiple boards, associations and university alumni networks. By reviewing these contacts ahead of time, you can identify mutual friends as well as ideal introductions that they may be able to offer.

Garrett Neiman (!/CollegeSpring), CollegeSpring (

A: Link Up Directly

One of the great aspects of social media is that it allows you to connect directly with your audience. When we have questions or are seeking feedback, we’re not scared to ask people directly. It’s free and very accurate market research.

Nicolas Gremion, Paradise Publishers (