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What is social media intelligence?

What is social media intelligence?

It’s been said again and again that businesses derive incredible value from being active on social media and by investing time and money into social media reporting, analysis, and data combining. Social media is changing the business world as we know it and altering the way companies are handling their digital marketing strategies. Because of this, social media intelligence has become invaluable in business decisions.

But does looking at a chart of fan growth, spikes in likes, or other basic metrics from your online presence benefit your social media intelligence?

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What’s social media intelligence?

Let’s start with the definition of social media intelligence.

There’s a mass influx of social media data produced and requested by companies across the world daily, and many of those companies monitor that data for information that makes a difference for them, like the amount of times their brand is mentioned or what the overall attitude is toward their brand. Keeping an eye on that is important - but that’s monitoring, not intelligence.

Social media intelligence can help dig out data on your social media activity like the number of mentions you get, the engagement or potential reach.

Example of mentions, engagement and reach figures on Talkwalker. Source: Talkwalker, Share of voice

Pulling data and doing a quick analysis as to why things are happening, is definitely not social intelligence. Using data to critically analyze why, is social intelligence. It’s way more than just pulling the numbers and taking note: social media intelligence exists to ask why.

Social media intelligence consists of the decisions and actions that come after your initial social media reporting. It allows you to act on your insights and work toward becoming a social data driven business based on the conclusions derived from your social media reporting.

While reporting and monitoring your social media stats is important, the next step is even more crucial. Looking toward the future and deciding what choices you can make (based on your social media data) that can help benefit your business. Social media intelligence helps you create a central intelligence zone that can reach its tentacles into every department of your company to help them make better and more beneficial decisions.

Social media intelligence is taking your reporting and analytical-mindset to the next level. Sure, you can see the increase in followers for the month of November - but why? Did you post more engaging content during that month? What kind of content did you share?

Making the leap from simply viewing your analytics to asking why things happen is the most crucial part of social media intelligence.

How do you gather social media intelligence?

Now that you understand what social media intelligence is, I know that you’d like to reap the benefits for your company. Which, leads us to the next question, how do you gather social media intelligence?

Reporting on your social media data is a relatively easy chore, but social media intelligence is taking it a step further. Adding value to your report by adding layers of intelligence begins with thinking and asking “why.”

To begin with, you need data collected by Web Crawlers and Application Protocol Interface tools (API, for short). As you already know, this is not on its own intelligence. By taking data that you’ve captured and overlaying it with other data points, you can merge metrics and use this comparison for data. If that sounds like a swirling tornado of social media jargon, I’ll lay it out step-by-step so you can understand how to begin gathering social media intelligence for your brand.

Phase One: Listen

  • This stage is about collecting your data and organizing it in a standardized, easy-to-digest way to ensure that its manageable. At this stage, it's likely that you're beginning to understand the potential of gathering social media intelligence, but you've not figured out how to track the sentiment and conversations surrounding your brand.

Example of Sentiment analysis on Talkwalker showing how social media intelligence can detect a positive or negative sentiment around product features or a brand: here the iPhone.

Example of sentiment and share of conversations for iPhone features on Talkwalker. Source: Talkwalker, Quick Search

  • This is where you initiate brand awareness, such as figuring out how to track online mentions of your brand, industry keywords, and competitor analysis. The best way to do this is to figure out which dashboard you should use that can give you a broad overview of your online presence. Simple dashboards will highlight key metrics and familiarize you with social media key performance indicators and help you get more comfortable working with listening platforms.

With social media intelligence you can find the number of results over time for a brand on Talkwalker.

Example of the amount of mentions for the keyword "veganuary" on social media over time. Source: Talkwalker, Quick Search

Phase Two: Start analyzing

  • When you have a stronger understanding of what sort of data you should be collecting and how it can be analyzed, you’re ready for the second phase where you’ll use the collected data for a variety of functions. This stage requires a firm-grasp on social media awareness and analytics, with employees understanding social media analytics.
  • In this phase, you will learn how to use social data to track the performance of your campaigns online and across all your social channels. Additionally, you can establish your KPIs to act as benchmarks for previous and future campaigns.
  • Here, you can begin tracking keywords that represent reputational risks and set up intelligent alerts to make sure that you’re a few steps ahead of potential crises. Additionally, you can analyze topics that are trending or use filtering to critically examine specific discussions about your products and your market.
  • To get ready for the third stage, you can begin using more advanced filters, tools, and operators to improve your insight accuracy.

Phase Three: Advanced social media analytics

  • This is one of the most exciting stages in the social media intelligence gathering process – combining the systems you’ve set in place with analysis to find correlations between data sets, insights, and using those to make important decisions.
  • Here, your social media intelligence grows immensely. Instead of using it in a straightforward data manner where it’s isolated, you combine it with other data to do a multitude of things that can benefit your business. Think about the possibilities: you could predict inventory, determine customers’ opinions and tastes based on location, track valuable information, and determine customers’ conversations about your brand.
  • This level of data usage will require you to be an expert and perhaps form an analysis group so you can get the most out of your intelligence plans.