You’ve probably already heard of it without knowing precisely what it means. Social Media Intelligence can be defined as the transformation of raw data, extracted thanks to the conversations gathered on social networks (but also traditional networks such as media, TV, radio…), into information. The information gathered allows economic actors to take better decisions in many areas (marketing, communication, innovation, customer relation…).
This a more or less complex process which requires not only a technical, technological and intellectual expertise, but also a reflection on the needs, goals and also on the targeted results. To simplify: listening to the Internet users’ conversations on the web is not very complicated in itself, as long as one masters the Boolean language, feels comfortable with social media listening platforms and their configurations, and as long as the notions of semantics, keywords and other hashtags are not all gobbledygook. But rushing headlong without a precise action plan and a clear strategy is useless.
Listening, yes, but for what purpose?
You’ve necessarily already heard about Big Data. Free access data available on the web is exponential. It is rising so fast that in 2000, it was estimated that data shared on the Internet would reach 57 times the total number of sand grains present on Earth (Source: advisory firm IDC).
It is essential to ask the right questions before starting a listening and analysis process of conversations on the web. Indeed, the possibilities and learnings, which can be drawn about a company, are infinite. Below a short, non-exhaustive insight should help you to understand and evaluate your needs and/or goals in terms of social media intelligence.
Monitor/protect one’s online reputation: It is the ABC and often the first reason for the implementation of a social media listening system. It consists of monitoring, estimating, analysing all references of a brand, a product, a service and to be able to take action as soon as possible in case of attack, in order to prevent potential bad buzzes or image crises.
It is called crisis prevention and social media intelligence is essential in this process in order to be able to evaluate the reach of a bad buzz, to identify active communities/influential actors, to find communication channels or to adapt one’s way of communicate…
Undertake marketing studies: competitive intelligence, perception studies about a product or a service, the identification of communities and/or of marketing issues (expectations, needs, behaviours of the consumers, impediments to buying…)
The strength of this information and learning is their authenticity: they are not coming from “classical” opinion polls or surveys but are the result of a comparative listening of internet users’ spontaneous written exchanges.
Predictive analysis: It enables to detect, thanks to the analysis of weak signals, new opportunities of development (innovation, R&D, communication…) for a brand, on its own market or new ones. It also enables to detect new trends coming from other areas (cultural, geographical…) in order to anticipate them.
Social CRM: the real-time listening on social networks not only enables to answer the clients’ questions/problems in a very short time, but also to analyse their reactions and to measure the impact of corrective actions on the brand’s perception.
Improve the supply chain management by identifying which features/functions of a product are the most important for a user and, in this way, to anticipate the actions/improvements on specific points.
Social media intelligence also plays a key role in the optimization of campaigns and media planning (for which conversations listening and the identification of communities allow a better targeting and also an adaptation of the advertising message), brand content, inbound marketing, SEO…