Social Media Intelligence: what every marketer should know

How do you make sense of the millions of social posts that happen every second? Social Media Intelligence (SMI) platforms, and the right analytics skills, could have the answer.

How do you make sense of the millions of social posts that happen every second? Social Media Intelligence (SMI) platforms, and the right analytics skills, could have the answer.

In a span of a minute, millions of posts, images, and tweets spring into existence on social media. Businesses need to make sense of these social media conversations if they want to stay relevant – there’s no way around it. Sorting through that amount of data, however, makes searching for a needle in a haystack look like child’s play.

The analytic tools available today tend to exist in silos, prioritising metrics for engagement on the platforms themselves. As a result, businesses are often unable to measure broader audience sentiment and work out its underlying causes. Even the largest marketing teams can only analyse a fraction of conversations on social media and other sources such as blogs and forums.

This is where Social Media Intelligence (SMI) platforms come in. These platforms perform an array of functions – monitoring, aggregation, and analysis – to build a clearer picture of what audiences are saying. Unlike native social analytics tools, SMI platforms sift through conversations on multiple channels, providing as complete a symphony of what people are talking about as possible.

Listening with relevance

When it comes to social monitoring, SMI platforms are designed to aggregate conversations from multiple content channels. This allows marketing teams to see and track all brand mentions in one place.

In-built keyword filters further narrow down content to certain phrases, sentiment or products. Because relevancy has always been king, SMI platforms with Boolean operators allow searches to be more effective and accurate when distilling results.

Having all this information at their fingertips allows marketers to quickly “trend-jack” popular topics, act against negative sentiment to create loyalty building opportunities and engage customers on a more personal level. Monitoring can even be used in creative ways, such as using competitor engagement to your brand’s benefit.

Diving deeper into data

Social media monitoring has even more value when combined with analytics technology. Analytics algorithms can make sense of the raw data in real-time; in other words, who is saying what, why they are saying it, where they are from and if others are also saying the same thing.

These insights benefit marketing teams in many ways. Marketers can target content to audiences that won’t ignore them; adjust their paid and owned strategies to align better with real-world trends; and channel budgets into areas with proven ROI.

But it’s not just marketing that benefits from these insights. Marketing teams can collaborate with product teams to fix problems, work with customer relations, or even advise R&D efforts for future products and services.

Information into intelligence

Marketing teams have the means to get all the information they need, but that’s not the end of the story. They also need marketing strategists to convert the insights into actions, and factor in social media data as the litmus test of success.

In fact, this is where the real “intelligence” in social media intelligence begins. This isn’t easy.

The ability to study these insights and work out where best to begin comes from years of practice and experience that are typically not available to most enterprises. Brands looking to use SMI should consider agencies with in-house data scientists or analytics teams, as well as content and social media strategists to turn the insights into practice.

As always, track record in delivering ROI and innovative results should determine marketers’ choice of agency.

As audiences are becoming increasingly social with – and vocal about – your brand on their social media channels, it is imperative to quickly engage them in a more informed and personal manner.

Social media intelligence platforms may be a means to an end, but with the right skills, they might propel your business to social stardom.

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