Friday, November 30, 2012

The Art of Social Intelligence

Social Media

Social media is an exceptionally powerful tool for companies, with most companies now having a social media presence, they now need to measure the data and use the results to implement relevant and effective business strategies.

The speed in which technology is growing and improving can be daunting and increases pressure within the business, but look at it from the other perspective – it creates many opportunities. Social media can provide businesses with new insights into the way consumers, markets and competitors behave, you just need to use the data from Social media to your advantage.

What is social intelligence?

So, what exactly is Social Intelligence? Social Intelligence offers a vast amount of social consulting through the data analysis of social media, presenting businesses with strategies for moving forward and gaining commercial advantage within their market.

Social Intelligence is a relatively straight-forward concept but one that is not currently being used by many companies. The three main steps to Social Intelligence are:

  1. Monitoring social media
  2. Collecting and analysing the content
  3. Using the insights to develop and improve the company’s strategy

The need for social intelligence

Why should we be sitting up and taking note of Social Intelligence? Well, we all know that the way our businesses are perceived through social media is highly important but what many businesses still have not caught onto is that the way we are perceived by our social audience can be tracked, reported and then implemented into commercial and strategic decisions, helping our businesses to move forward and improve.

Using this type of information is nothing new, for years businesses have been presented this information and data through market research, surveys and their own data, but now, with such a heavy reliance on social media, this is changing and Social Intelligence has the ability to provide the answers more accurately and more efficiently.

The activity analysed through social media can help businesses to better understand what is happening in their marketplace – this is not as easy as it sounds. Due to the high volume of interaction through social media platforms and the vast amount of data, it is difficult – wading through all this data and reporting on the most significant parts needs to be done by an expert.

How does Social Intelligence help your business?

The use of social media in order to help business strategies is invaluable. In this day and age customers openly share information through several social media platforms, this is essentially free market research for a business’s products or services, competitor analysis and customer feedback – it is a goldmine for businesses.

Social Intelligence allows businesses to:

  • Monitor the brands reputation and competitors brands

  • Enables them to carry out quick responses to customer complaints and questions, be that through social media, forums, or blogs.

  • Use customer feedback to harness new product development or new service.

  • Great for market research.

Social Intelligence can also provide companies with early insight into market trends which they can then use to develop a strategic approach. For example, Social Intelligence could be used to notify companies to an emerging trend among their competitors allowing them time to implement a pricing advantage.

A business can use the results provided by Social Intelligence to enforce smarter marketing decisions and develop a better understanding of how to respond to their customers and prospects. In turn, these results can be used for their business forecasting, helping the business to predict future requirements which will save them money and also to assess current or prospective future requirements.

By analysing the conversations through social media and finding out exactly what customers and clients are saying about the company and/or its brand, it can help to form a better understanding of likely future service they could provide. Companies may be worried about this but they can use Social Intelligence to analyse negative comments from customers – things they didn’t deliver, and turn this negativity into an opportunity to plan new services and offers to increase sales.

Hypothetical Example


To sum up the advantages that Social Intelligence can bring to a company let’s look at a hypothetical example. Take a big toothpaste brand – for the purpose of this exercise this is a fictitious example and brand name, purely to relay how great Social Intelligence is.

Imagine the toothpaste is a household brand named Sparkle! The toothpaste market is a very competitive place and brands must work very hard on their marketing and advertising to stay on top of the game.

Sparkle has been the nation’s favourite toothpaste brand for generations but has seen a drop in sales over the last few years. They are at a loss of what to do but have a rough idea that they want to use their social media platforms to help drive sales.

They bring in a Social Intelligence consultant to help them; the consultant monitors their brand, collecting data of the trends in the market place, what customers are saying about the Sparkle brand – positive and negative, and what people are saying about the competitors.

Once all the data has been collected the consultant presents his/her findings to Sparkle and puts forward a strategic plan for boosting sales.

Market trends: It was found that in the past year sales of toothpaste for sensitive teeth have tripled.

Competitor Analysis: Sparkles main competitor brought out a sensitive range which customers loved, however felt it was overpriced in comparison to the original range.

Sparkles brand reputation: The main comment which came back was that their toothpaste was fantastic and adored by many, but customers wanted to see a new sensitive range.

Through these findings a strategic plan was put in place to develop a new sensitive range, with a lower retail cost than what their competitors were offering.

This example is quite a simple concept but provides you with an idea of how successful Social Intelligence can be to implementing strategic business plans.

Listening to the needs and feedback from customers and clients through Social Media has really taken off with many businesses. We predict that many more businesses will begin implementing Social Intelligence into their strategies and look forward to this concept flourishing and making a difference too many market places.