Defining & Applying Social Media Intelligence

Yesterday I posted about how important it is to use social media to monitor the brand conversations going on out there. I’ve just been reading a whitepaper from Forrester titled: “Defining Social Media Intelligence” which lists in detail how social media intelligence can be applied in an organization.

The author, Zach Hofer-Shall provides real examples and includes services and programs in his examples which can help you apply social as outlined below. You can download the whitepaper here.

Reputation management
This is one of the more obvious applications of social media monitoring and perhaps one of the most powerful.

Brand protection
Monitoring online discussions can help brands detect and react to copyright infringements globally.

Competitive research
Social media can be very effective at monitoring what your competitors are up to with new products, but more importantly, how people are reacting to those products and how they think your offerings match up with them.

Market Research
While social can be a rich source of information for market research, the author correctly notes that this can be tricky because of skewed samples and questionable data validity. However, I would suggest that it can be a great way to decide what the important research questions are and where you want to drill down in your focus groups and other research activity.

Display and targeting
Knowing where your potential customers are hanging out is certainly a good way to decide what sites to buy advertising on.

Informed marketing messaging
If you listen to what people are saying about you and how they say it, you can use that information to help you optimize your marketing copy in your campaigns.

Campaign measurement
With social media you can actually monitor the discussions about your latest ad campaign in real time.

Consumer segmentation
Social media monitoring can help you better understand the personalities/profiles of your market. It could be as simple as reading the person’s profile or googling them or perhaps checking out their tweet history.

Influencer marketing
Social channels are a good place to indentify influencers online such as bloggers with a large following. Reaching out to these individuals can really pay off if you have a good product or service for them and you do it right. By doing it right I mean not pitching them as you would a journalist. With bloggers and social influencers I believe it’s more effective to engage them offering insight and honest perspective on a given issue (tweet to them or leave a comment). Once they don’t see you as a corporate shill, they’ll be more likely to react positively to you.

Customer support
Social media has always been a powerful tool for consumers to have their say about good and bad experiences. When someone is frustrated, being on social, engaging them and offering clear paths to a resolution are good for the customer. It’s also good for your brand because other consumers are listening to see how well your support and resolutions work.

Lead generation
People ask a lot of questions on social media channels and that can be a lead. If someone is asking about a product or service which your company happens to offer, that’s a lead you can act on.

Product innovation
I’ve mentioned this in the past. Listening to how people are using your products and what they do and don’t like about them can help you improve what you have to offer.

One last point
Of course all this info is useless if the data isn’t shared with departments across the board. As the report points out, marketers have to do a better job in sharing this kind of data.