5 Game-changing ways to prepare for a cookieless world

Khoros Staff

As social media marketing evolves, we must prepare for the rapidly approaching cookieless future. Instead of relying on third-party cookies, brands must embrace more direct strategies for gathering audience data. Can brands create sustainable social media strategies that build trust and foster meaningful connections in this new era? The answer is yes, with the right mindset.

Here are five practical tips to help you get started:

Embrace data privacy and transparency

The impending cookieless future resulted from concerns around user privacy and data protection. For brands, transparency with audiences is critical. People appreciate clear, straightforward information on how their data is being used (think: a dedicated email, pop-ups, or even SMS — not long, jargon-filled documents). Gain people’s confidence by showing you have nothing to hide. Also, reassure users that their data is in good hands. Make privacy education a priority so your audience can feel confident connecting with your brand.

Here are some best practices brands can follow:

  • Share your privacy and cookie policy: Make it easy for users to understand how their data is collected, used, stored, and shared with a comprehensive policy on your website. Keep it accessible and in simple language.

  • Provide consent management: Give your audience the power to consent to data collection and offer personalized options for specific purposes.

  • Give opt-out options: Provide the choice for those who do not want to share data by ensuring they know where to find your privacy policy.

  • Notify of any changes: Let your audience know about data collection through clear messages like cookie banners.

  • Implement user-friendly dashboards: Offer user-friendly dashboards for managing personal information — allowing them to review and update information quickly.

  • Partner with privacy advocates: Consider enlisting the help of privacy advocates to show people your commitment to data privacy. Join webinars, contribute to articles, and actively participate in data privacy-related discussions.

Prioritize first-party data

While third-party cookie concerns are abuzz, remember the power of your first-party data. When phasing out third-party cookies, first-party customer data will be social media marketers’ best source for creating personalized, targeted campaigns.

Consider these five steps when reviewing your first-party data strategy:

  1. Conduct a data collection process audit: When gathering information from website visitors, prioritize key details that offer insights into your audience, for example, their age range, location, preferences, interests, and purchase history. Having these facts helps you understand and segment your customers better.

  2. Analyze existing data sets: Your first-party data holds so many insights that may have been previously overlooked. To spot patterns and trends, use this to dive into your brand’s web and social media analytics, CRM, heatmaps, and user behavior analysis tools.

  3. Identify data gaps: Check your existing customer segments and pinpoint where information might be lacking. Consider what insights you could be missing that will help you better understand your customers needs and preferences.

  4. Fill the gaps: With your newfound data knowledge, you can collect what’s missing through surveys and feedback forms and integrate that into your existing data for a complete 360-degree view of your customer's journey. In filling these gaps, the insights you collect will empower you to make better decisions. Here are a few more ideas!

    1. Email lists: People love rewards! Use segmentation to communicate directly with your audience and offer relevant incentives like exclusive content or discounts in exchange for their data.

    2. Lead generation: Create compelling gated content that encourages users to share their data for access.

  5. Personal profiles: Encourage account creation to gather essential information and effectively segment your audience.

Social listening for a new era

While social media monitoring focuses on specific metrics, social media listening goes beyond that, giving you insights into public sentiment, your competitors, and the industry. Think of it as having a pair of highly attuned ears — always listening to what the world is saying about your brand and enabling you to be responsive, agile, and proactive in your approach to customer relations and brand management.

Combining Khoros’ social suite with Talkwalker’s deep listening allows you to analyze and garner insights from billions of consumer conversations in up to 187 languages from 150 million texts, images, videos, and speech sources. Social media listening becomes essential in bridging gaps left by the absence of third-party cookie data.

Are you new to social listening? Here are some quick tips if you’re starting or want to refresh your strategy:

  • Understand your consumers’ interests and lifestyle: Evaluate conversations on relevant topics, trends, and emerging interests you’ve assessed from your audience to help make those personalized content strategies.

  • Monitor brand mentions: Track sentiment for your brand across different platforms to gauge public perception and adapt how you speak to your audience (and even address common concerns).

  • Influencers and advocates: Locate the people praising your brand online and start building relationships with them. These people can be compelling in amplifying your brand message and expanding your audience through peer-to-peer trust.

  • Stay on top of industry trends: Keep an eye on your competitors and general industry shifts to stay in the know and adapt your marketing strategies to set the brand apart.

  • Engage your audience: Actively respond to comments, address concerns, and participate in ongoing discussions to show you have an active presence in your brand’s digital persona — further building trust and fostering loyalty.

Strengthening organic and community-driven efforts

Khoros helps businesses build brand-owned destinations, called communities, for customers to engage, self-serve, collaborate, and educate each other on their products, experiences, and services. Owning the data within these communities can be a valuable first-party data source to amplify the efforts of your social media campaigns.

Build and nurture engaged online communities:

An active online community of passionate fans provides valuable feedback, suggestions, and support to a business by providing a sense of belonging. Engaged community members can become brand advocates — sharing positive experiences and influencing others through word-of-mouth. Online communities also produce valuable user-generated content (UGC), which helps to build trust further and impact searchability. Creating a community gives the brand an owned space to collect data and insights, builds brand awareness, engages customers, and decreases reliance on traditional advertising.

The power of community data:

Building an engaged community gives you invaluable first-party insights into what your customers love and care about. Armed with that knowledge, you can create spot-on social media campaigns personalized for your thriving community. Recommend the right products at the right time effectively, offer exclusive promos, and dish out content that speaks directly to your audience’s needs and interests. It's all about understanding your customer's preferences and giving them a memorable experience with your brand.

Inspiring user-generated content (UGC):

UGC garners high engagement and builds stronger connections with your audience. You can use your community to amplify the brand message, boost engagement, and inspire others to create more content. Imagine a fitness brand encouraging customers to share workout photos with their products. Use this user-generated content in social media campaigns by adding a more authentic, personal touch to your brand.

Tap into the power of authentic storytelling and user recommendations by encouraging your community members and loyal customers to share their experiences.

Influencer power for authentic reach:

Like brand advocates, influencers will become your brand's secret weapon in the future. It's all about collaborating with the right influencers whose values and style match your brand.

Imagine a fitness apparel brand teaming up with fitness influencers that have an active social media presence. As people trust and admire these fitness enthusiasts, they are more likely to pay attention to the products they use instead of being marketed traditionally.

Finding influencers to partner with who genuinely connect to their audience does wonders for your brand exposure!

Partner with Khoros for a social media management suite

The cookieless future will profoundly impact brand social media strategies, meaning social media marketers will need help targeting and tracking user behavior for advertising.

The solution is to focus on first-party data and build direct user relationships. By embracing data privacy, taking advantage of social listening, strengthening organic and community-driven efforts, and exploring alternative targeting methods, marketers can continue to impact the business through social media strategies.

Check out our award-winning Social Media Management solution if you need a reliable partner to plan and execute your social strategy.

Anticipate the cookieless era by partnering with an award-winning, best-in-class social media management provider.

For more insights and tips on how to navigate the social media landscape, take a look at our brand new Surthrival guide, full of expert insights on optimizing your social media strategy.

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