“ The same scroll that robs one off the time, saves the other’s “
I wasn’t very quick to join the social media juggernauts squad - the 90’s strict parents you know, well, understandably!
On a practical note, after having that same share of trips around the sun as my parents’, if you ask me, I’ve fairly the same opinion about my 12-year-old daughter exploring the social media universe and being “friends” with just anyone, sharing when, where, what’s up with her life during all the waking hours. The only difference is, my parents were social media novices themselves, so they looked at the social media engagement as just an unnecessary way to kill time. And now, after ‘being there, having done that’, I call it the same and additionally, ‘potentially unsafe’ too.
But hey, that was about personal usage, that too at the fight-or-flight puberty phase and as my opening statement hinted, like every other thing around us, social media too opens up an entire horizon of benefits as the context changes.
Looking from a business perspective, where no measurement of data can be standardized as ‘enough data’ & there exists the tech genie in the form of web scraping ( don’t tell me you are yet to check our foolproof guide to web scraping services ! ) - there’s probably no better way to look into your target customers’ heads & hearts than extracting social media (where they put their thoughts & likes out!) info at the highest possible extent.
Web scraping services - once you type it out on the search bar, the internet throws at you a confusing amalgamation of terms like ‘bot’, ‘HTTP’, ‘DOM Parsing’, ‘Semantic Annotation Analysis’ & more.
Easing your struggle and simplifying the meaning for you.
Let’s start with what you already know - the literal meaning of the word scraping is removing something from somewhere with the help of an object (also called, a scraper),
Now for starters, think of data as that ‘something’ which you scrape from the World Wide Web aka WWW (that ‘somewhere’), using the digital scrapers - Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or web browser.
[ P.S. - Not repeating WHY you should opt for web scraping or WHAT you should keep in mind before developing your custom website scraper since the topic today deserves complete focus on social media scraping ]
Once you have understood the concept of web scraping , you can easily visualize social media scraping just by pinpointing that ‘somewhere’ from WWW to social media.
Put simply, social media scraping is the process of scraping data from social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to name a few), using an automatic data scraping tool, commonly called a scraper.
Knowing the definition is only watching the tip of an iceberg, let’s explore the entire - moving on to the nitty gritties !
Let’s start with the simplified steps !
Social media scraping is typically how a digital scraper (a piece of code) operates over a social media site : let’s check out how!
To start with social media scraping, the scraper requests the chosen social media site for the specific content it aims to scrape by putting the particular URL. As a response, that site will return the requested information to the scraper in HTML format.
For instance, suppose your scraper is looking to scrape Pinterest’s “Top fashion trends of 2020” pin, so it will send a “GET” request to Pinterest with the link to the web page containing “Top fashion trends of 2020”.
Once Pinterest’s server returns the information as an HTML file for the Top fashion trends web page, the scraper will start ‘parsing’ i.e. extracting the targeted data out of it, say- topwear trends, bottomwear trends, footwear trends etc. And exactly here a lot of nifty magic happens when the page is deploying a bunch of protective mechanisms and the scraper has to move through the maze of complex DOM structure or elusive Ajax calls to figure out the right relations and extract the data.
The extracted data is then processed and normalized into a specific format and then stored most commonly in a centralized database for further analysis and usage.
As the owner of a vineyard, your requirements will be nowhere close to that of a transport company’s.
So, exactly what data you need to scrape from the ocean of data available over the countless social media sites, is totally dependent on what the goal of your business is. On a broad level, products or items your target customers are liking / disliking, images, demo service videos, descriptive texts, comments and contact information, like email IDs , phone numbers, other social media IDs are a few examples of the ‘type’ of data you can target for social media scraping.
Social media scraping can only be effective if it’s planned well & you can’t plan it well enough if you don’t have a concrete idea about how the specific networking site works or, how people interact over the platform, to be more precise . How does all these hours you spend understanding the social networks pay off, you ask? Simply by returning the favor back to you through highly impacting insights in the form of native analytics.
Let’s have a look at the top platform-specific areas that you shouldn’t miss scraping !
And quite obviously Facebook scraping is rewarding in uncountable ways ! So, while giving facebook scraping a thought, pay attention to:
Talking about Instagram scraping , there are two ways to go about it, either by focusing on individual posts or scraping instagram for the followers. Look for:
Given that,Twitter is certainly a great space to dig in preferences of a wide range of age groups. Coming to twitter scraping , let’s glance through following potent metrics :
However, a full palette of colors is of no good unless you know how to paint,
So here’s how to put all these data to action !
Factors like mentions and response times & rate are the best bet if you are looking to level your user engagement, customer service & support up by a few notches.
If content marketing and social selling is what you want to enhance, traffic-oriented metrics like clicks and the source ad campaigns leading to those clicks are going to help.
In case you’ve brand awareness on the cards, the number of followers and engagement would improve your visibility.
….the list goes on since it’s difficult to put the several aspects of a business’s requirements in a single list, so the ‘how’s of using data scraped from social media to serve those purposes are justably many !
However, figuring out scraping which data will be your best bet isn’t a hard nut to crack, all you gotta do is Contact Us !
There’s data everywhere, but add ‘relevant’ to it & voila, there the struggle begins !
Getting desired data at your fingertips is not really a myth, but tactical for sure.
In a world where digital assets are growing in number like mushrooms in monsoon, data comes easy without a doubt. However, newest technological enhancements have made it possible to selectively extract useful information from the huge datastream available all over the internet and that’s what is called ‘data scraping’.
Is it worth investing in developing a social media scraper ?
Let’s check what are the benefits of social media scraping !
The success of any business is directly dependent on how well its time and money is utilized and on that note, reaching out to your target customers with surveys further killing their time, is a classic misutilization of both !
Like you won’t walk ‘em miles barefoot in a world where footwear exists, what’s the point in not using automation when it can curb your time & operational cost in a list of areas with ‘sensing the customers’ pulse’ topping that list?
Bots make scraping enormous relevant data from social media a breeze and the benefits are phase-agnostic, implying, it can help your business understand your customers’ mindset in every stage, be it ‘just launching’ or ‘scaling up’. So, skip annoying your customers with utterly boring surveys (that find their permanent shelter in spam folders, mostly!) and introduce your marketing team to a custom scraping tool to get what your business requires, without getting on your customers’ nerves.
Since data scraping is so easy and quick, it can also be a great tool for mitigating public relations challenges. Think of the times when your business suddenly experienced a competitor from behind analytically crossing you to a considerable margin...or, when negative responses started swarming in from your loyal customers? Scraped data can help you make sense of suh sudden changes. With this data, organizations can have a stronger base for making adjustments that will actually solve the problem, instead of solving what the organization assumes to be the problem.
To solve a problem, understanding it is the first step. When you see your revenues droop or a particular product piling up in your warehouse with no orders coming in for that / a service not receiving any order for a long time, don’t assume the reason, look for it in your customers’ comments & conversations. Scrape what your customers’ are saying about your product or service on social media and convert that into real-time data sets to spot the problem instead of guessing it. That wouldn’t just increase your visibility, but will also steer your business closer to its goal by solving the actual glitch.
Talking about user engagement, interaction is a key & that’s no secret, but how to keep up with all the social networking sites at one go, ensuring your brand-name gets tattooed in their heads?
Since, each platform caters to a different set of audiences, and the ‘likes’ turn to ‘double taps’ faster than we can barely cope with - getting your way amidst almost 3.8 billion social media users can be really difficult...without a social media scraper playing your saviour. Automation plays those smartypantz - crawling over social media profiles, the scraper can pick just who might be interested in your offering, saving your time & effort.
Social media scraping is becoming increasingly popular and by now, you already know why ! While the hunger for social media data extraction has been at a steep rise, it will be more appropriate to call it an uphill battle - as many may be attempting to do it, but only a handful are actually doing it ‘right’ !
The reason lies in the age-old saying, “if it’s easy, it won’t be worth it!” - which in this context implies, you can’t stay on top of the latest market trends, ever-changing customer preferences, and competitors’ social engagement just by mistaking social media scraping as mere teenage stalking. Given that, starting from ‘social networking site-specific blocking mechanisms’ to ‘dynamic page structure’ & several alike, the challenges encountered are many. But the best part is, a well-developed social media scraper has a number of benefits enough to outnumber all the data scraping challenges !
So be it a brand-new startup trying to stamp its footprints in the industry or a matured business looking to conquer its next milestone, social media scraping can help both & all in between - thanks to this 21st century-born idea !
E-commerce, real estate, education, healthcare, marketing..you name the sphere & social media scraping is all set to unbox its benefits to cater to the specific requirements.
Long story cut short, if amidst a pile of other business issues, the following are on top :
Then this is just the right time to plan investing in social media scraping !
Just in case you’re still struggling to spot the starting point within all the shared information - let’s get to that straight - list down the ‘whats and wheres’ of scraping first and the ‘hows’ are on us ! Unlike an Off-The-Shelf scraping tool squeezing your requirements under their restrictions AND actually scraping just what it’s capable of doing and NOT what your business needs - we do what your business truly needs. Our developers will analyze your requirements & build a custom scraping engine to solely gather the exact data that will improve your business’s bottom line and that too in AutoPilot ! Interested?
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