This sponsored post is produced by Kevin White, the director of marketing operations at Gigya.

Data is undoubtedly shaping the future of business. With more than 2.5 exabytes of data being created each day (HBR), brands that don’t harness consumer data to guide customer experiences and communications just won’t make it.

Permission data

But data collection must be managed in a conscious and purposeful manner, because the data you collect from customers — and how you collect it — speaks volumes about your values as a brand.

Don’t think so? Let me offer a personal example: In the middle of filling out a stack of “mandatory” paperwork to buy a new car, I came across a request to release my personal information to a slew of third-party vendors. To the dealer’s surprise, I noticed — and politely declined. In one fell swoop, this particular auto brand lost my trust, and you can imagine my reluctance to fill out the remaining forms.

Accessing social data

With nearly three in every four people on the Internet owning at least one social media account (Pew Research), social networks have undoubtedly been the catalyst for today’s data avalanche. Social graphs house valuable data around consumers’ real-time locations, relationships, media preferences, favorite brands, and more, making social data a treasure trove for marketers.

Many of today’s most successful brands are leveraging Social Login to capture these rich social insights in a permission-based manner. By giving people the option to login to your site or app using their existing social media accounts, your brand can request access to specific social data points in return.

With Social Login in mind, Facebook’s recent permissions update highlights the importance of explicitly asking for the right permissions at signup. Here are a few tips to help you refine your permission-based social data strategy and build a reputation as a trustworthy, customer-centric brand.

Be selective

Reject the outdated and careless notion of simply enabling as many permissions as possible and sorting through the data later. Customers always have the right to ask “Why do you want to know?” And the more times they have to ask that question, the less likely you are to earn their patronage.

Be purposeful

All requested data points should relate back to a larger marketing strategy. Each collected permission should serve the purpose of creating a better user experience and ultimately deliver value back to the customer in the form of more relevant content and more engaging visits. Let consumers know the benefits of sharing particular data upfront!

Be transparent

When logging in socially, customers will be able to see a plain-language disclosure of all of the permissions you require. Maintain this level of transparency by giving users a designated page where they can review and edit the data they have agreed to share at any time.

Be patient

Consumer trust is earned over time. The richest sources of data often come long after the initial signup, when customers begin directly sharing their views and insights with your brand in the form of comments, ratings, and reviews. Avoid asking for too many data points up front and bake plenty of opportunities to gain additional permissions and insights into your user experience.

For more insight around how to responsibly collect and apply social data, download our white paper, “Making Sense of Consumer Data.

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