Here’s a hard to digest fact – It’s 2021 and if you aren’t proud of your brand’s social media presence, you probably need to rethink your entire marketing strategy. It’s no news today that a robust and promising social media strategy should be one of your foremost marketing priorities.

Why, you ask? Because 3.96 billion people use social media worldwide. That’s more than 50% of the world’s entire population! Moreover, 1.3 million new users joined one or the other social media platform every single day in 2020. So, if you aren’t using social media wisely, you are leaving more money on the table than you can imagine. 

But, is creating a business page and regularly posting on various social platforms enough? Not anymore. To stay ahead of the curve today, there is so much more to social media that you need to learn and leverage. For starters, you must know how to make use of the under utilized goldmine of wealth of data that social media has to offer. Business intelligence is one emerging technology that will help you make the most of social media and turn your brand into a social centric one. 

In this guide, we’ll start with the basics of what social media business intelligence really means and then deep dive into how it can be transformational for your brand. 

What are social media insights? 

Social media insights are nothing but consumer insights that are gained from social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others. These are gathered by analyzing and monitoring product or brand related conversations that are happening on social platforms so that marketers can strategize how to engage their potential audience better. And not just product or brand, these conversations could also be around the needs, aspirations, or problems of a target audience. These insights help brands understand audience behavior and requirements better and devise products or solutions that cater to them. 

Take a look at a snapshot from Facebook insights: 

Facebook insights shares numbers on critical metrics such as views, likes, reach, engagement, followers, and so on, to tell marketers exactly which of their activities are working, which aren’t, and how their audience is engaging with their brand, competitions, and with each other. 

What is business intelligence? 

Put simply, business intelligence involves the usage of various tools, platforms, strategies, and software to transform data and information into actionable insights that can be implemented to make better marketing, business, and growth decisions. Business intelligence takes raw data and presents it in the form of reports, dashboards, charts, or graphs that can be analyzed to understand trends and patterns and accordingly use them for future strategies. 

For example, if an eCommerce business realizes that their cart abandonment rate is extremely high, they would need to leverage business intelligence to figure out actual roadblocks in their online user journeys that are causing customers to drop off. Similarly, business intelligence tools are used to track and monitor all key business metrics for online businesses and present them in a digestible format to decision makers. 

What is social media business intelligence?

Social media business intelligence is the science of leveraging business intelligence to comprehensively report, study, analyze, and use social media insights for making better business decisions. Very often, marketers confuse social media business intelligence with social monitoring or listening, which are more surface level techniques to keep a tab on social media sentiment and conversations so they can be responded to and utilized for later. They don’t really involve presenting the collected data in a meaningful and strategic manner so that various teams can draw actionable pointers from it. However, they are subsets of social media business intelligence and are important steps of the process. 

Social media intelligence, on the other hand, involves digging deeper into insights, analyzing customer behavior patterns and trends, tracking a brand’s social share of voice, creating and understanding audience segments, discovering new potential markets and untapped opportunities, identifying what customers love, appreciate, or hate about a brand, figuring out the kind of conversations the audience prefers to partake in, and so much more – all with the help of business intelligence tools that help break down each and every interaction a user has with a brand and present it in a visual, more understandable, and explicit manner. 

Social media business intelligence is super critical in today’s day and age in improving a brand’s overall health. The entire idea behind this technique is to make the most out of every little and every substantial insight that social media can offer into making a better business decision, tweaking marketing strategies for enhanced results, and delivering superior customer experiences, both on owned properties as well as social media. 

Global behemoths are increasingly dependent on social media business intelligence to tell them what colors/types/styles of their products are more popularly preferred, how customers want to be marketed to, what emotions they resonate with the most, features or functionalities they wished their favorite products had, which category of audiences a certain product is the most sought after in, and much more. 

What is the role of social media intelligence in your brand’s growth? 

Before getting into it, you must understand that social media business intelligence isn’t something you take on simply because it is a norm these days. It has a profound role to play in your business’ growth. Let’s break down the most critical reasons for it: 

Potential crisis aversion and risk mitigation 

They say any PR is good PR, but the same can not be true for a crisis. Infact, one may say, any crisis is a bad crisis, and one on social media, is especially the worst of the lot. Given the unpredictability of the business world, and the art of trolling that the internet generation has mastered, a social media crisis can occur at any given time of the day, for reasons beyond anyone’s comprehension. 

You never know what trend goes viral for the wrong reasons, or what post some community ends up taking offence of. Which is why, it becomes imperative for you to keep a tab on the potential crisis that might be brewing towards your business, and being able to manage it before it is too late to control. And which is exactly what comes under the purview of social media business intelligence. 

Leveraging this the right way gives you the power and control over not just how well you are able to engage with your audience, but also your brand image, follower growth, and other intangible but important metrics. 

Continuous competitor analysis 

If all your business does on social media is to post company updates, marketing content, and the lot, you are doing it wrong. There is so much more that can be done, and the one thing which most savvy businesses do that their unsavvy competitors do not even think about, is to analyze what their peers in the industry have been up to. In short, competitive analysis. 

Studying your competitor’s social media strategy can open a gold mine of insights for you as a marketer or business owner, right from being able to understand where their focus is, to knowing how the package, position, and promote their products and offerings.

Despite the popular belief, achieving this through a robust social media business intelligence is not all that tough. You just need to be willing to put in a little more effort (which you should if you really are serious about taking your social media game to the next level).

Do you wish there was a trend you were able to latch on to before your competitor did and blew it out of proportion? Or do you have a popular one which you missed out on while the rest of the world capitalized on it like it was the internet’s gold rush. Whatever it is, one thing that social media business intelligence can help you ace is identifying upcoming trends that would do great. 

Today, almost all of social media is being the most creative to pick a topical subject, and creating engaging content around the same. Which is why everyone from the fortune 500, to young startups invest so much into it. But, and again, this is another misconception, you do not need deep pockets or investor funding to be able to afford a tool that can help you achieve the same. We will get to it later in this article, but for now, know that you can achieve what Durex or Wendy’s does with its social media.

How social media and business intelligence go hand in hand?

If you are wondering why you even need to think about integrating business intelligence with social media, allow us to break it down for you. Let’s understand how coupling business intelligence and social media can do wonders for your business and brand: 

You get to build and scale a company wide competitive intelligence program 

What comes to your mind when you think of conducting user research or understanding the customer purchase experience? Sitting through hours of session recordings, interviewing customers, conducting focus groups, incentivizing customers to fill out long surveys, and going over Google Analytics over and over again – if that sounds like an accurate estimate of what audience/customer research typically entails for your business, you need to give social media business intelligence a shot. 

Social media and business intelligence have the power to present you with all the information you would ever need about your target audience as well as customers by tracking social media alone. The massive volume of conversations happening on social media at any given point is a virtual goldmine of insights that serves as excellent fodder for any and all strategic decisions you might need to make. It gives you a competitive edge and helps form the foundation of a robust intelligence program that will redefine how you collect, track, and analyze social data. 

You get access to valuable primary research data for your marketing campaigns 

No marketing campaign can be planned without extensive market and user research that guide your efforts and ensure you are putting your money on the right thing. With social media business intelligence, that preliminary research is always accessible to you without having to go out of your way to start it from scratch. What this means is that social media business intelligence gives you a ready repository of insights to base your campaigns on. This includes understanding audience sentiment and emotions towards a certain topic, idea, or hook as it would tell you whether or not a marketing campaign is likely to work based on how users have reacted to it in the past, the conversations that have happened around it, and what worked and what didn’t in the past. 

You get to streamline your social ad performance 

If you own an online business in 2021, you are probably already running social media ads to reach your potential customers. But, how effectively are you able to do so? The answer to that question depends on a myriad of factors, but your efforts can certainly be amplified if you are able to target your ads better and more granularly. Combining business intelligence with social media gives you a sneak peek into who your target audience really is, what their behavioral and demographic attributes are, which of your products are popular among which customer segment, and other valuable insights that you can directly use to improve your ad targeting. This will also ensure you don’t end up spending your budgets on something that isn’t likely to work and get the most bang for your buck. 

Guesswork and hunches are completely out of the question; you get access to some invaluable insights that can drastically improve the performance of your social ads by ensuring they are granularly and accurately targeted and are engaging and relevant to the receiver. 

You get to optimize your content marketing strategy 

While creating a content marketing strategy or plan, you are bound to struggle with questions like – what does my audience want to read? What do they care about? What are the most pressing issues in their lives? What are some concerns they wish were gone? Despite conducting primary and secondary research, there could be some blind spots that you are not able to reach in terms of figuring out what to write about that your audience would happily spend their time on and appreciate. Utilizing business intelligence for social media can fetch you answers to those questions. 

By constantly tracking and monitoring social media for relevant conversations and discussions, you will most definitely run into some interesting ones that give you insights into the gaps that your content could fill. This means you will find tonnes of ideas and boundless inspiration for your next content marketing strategy by analyzing what people are talking about. You can not only use these to feed into your strategy, but also rest assured that you are creating content that your audience wants to read and not something that would inadvertently interrupt their online experience. 

How can you gather social media business intelligence data? 

Step 1: Social listening and monitoring 

Social listening and monitoring is the very first step of social media business intelligence as it involves collecting data from social platforms and forums to track and observe every interaction and engagement that your audience and followers have with your brand. This is done on the basis of brand or product related keywords that you can track and uncover every conversation surrounding your brand on these platforms. Social listening and monitoring would help you understand your overall brand sentiment including what people are talking about you, what are their emotions, their motivations, apprehensions, likes, and dislikes, their problems and roadblocks, and so on. 

Social listening also helps collect competitor data so you can better understand what they are up to, the strategies they are leveraging to drive engagement, and the mistakes that they are making. 

While this data is also commonly used to take immediate action and crisis management, in this case, we shall talk about the merits of social listening and monitoring to later integrate it with business intelligence and drive business modifications, adjustments, and innovations. 

Use your dashboard to record your brand’s performance on social media for key metrics and KPIs, so you can later use this data to uncover trends, patterns, and information by leveraging intelligence for decision making. 

Step 2: Analyze the collected data

This step involves making sense of the enormous amount of data you have collected. You would need to set benchmarks for your key metrics, analyze data, establish trends and patterns, and start filtering it for your audience segments, product cohorts, and other intelligent segments. This is the stage where you look out for upcoming industry trends and marquee events that you can leverage and scrutinize discussions and conversations about your products and brand and accordingly bucket them.

You can start involving various teams including sales, marketing, and customer support to examine data and start analyzing it for their actionable insights. 

Or you can make use of a social media business intelligence tool like Radarr that will do all the heavy-lifting for you, bringing all the data onto one dashboard.

Step 3: Extract insights from the collected data

In this stage, you must involve your business intelligence team to comprehensively report, dissect, and slice and dice data to create advanced and sophisticated segments that can be analyzed to drill down complex insights that can be incorporated into business strategy. Here, you must use mature software tools to create reports, charts, graphs,f and other visual representations to uncover valuable information that couldn’t be found in plain sight. 

This happens to be the most critical step of the entire cycle. Be sure to not look at data in silos or in isolation. Instead, take your time and create comparisons, combinations with other data points, and think comprehensively about how data can be leveraged for various business functions. Don’t rely on obvious or surface level insights as the goal of social media business intelligence is to dig deep and discover information about your customers, target audience, and brand you wouldn’t normally find otherwise. 

Step 4: Incorporate and utilize the gathered insights 

Finally, the only task remaining is to properly share data with various teams that could benefit from it. Not just that, here you also put to use the information and insights you have gathered to ensure your marketing, sales, and growth strategies are in line with customers’ expectations and demands, you have incorporated the key takeaways from the exercise into your day to day customer interactions (on social media or otherwise), and you have built a clear and crisp pipeline of insights that you can steadily utilize for future decision making. 

How do you choose an intelligence tool? 

Well begun is half done. And the first step to achieving success with social media intelligence is zeroing in on the right tool. However, there are more tools in the market than it’s feasible for you to evaluate. Each with its own nuances, USPs, and processes. So, how do you pick one that is best suited for your use case? Here are some of the criteria you can assess the tools you have shortlisted on: 

Features and functionality

Social listening
Social monitoring 
Business intelligence
Prediction using AI
Intuitive reporting 

These are all features and functionalities that social intelligence tools offer. Some specialize in one, some in the other. But, which of these would you need to accomplish your business goals? Could be one or all of them. What are your specific use cases that you need social intelligence to solve for. Your task is to first create a wishlist of the features you absolutely want so you can look for a tool that perfectly fits the bill. Be sure to take detailed demos of each of the tools and speak to sales representatives about your requirements so you make an informed decision. 

Maturity and sophistication 

Would you need a tool that offers basic features to help you get started or would you rather go for one that is robust and sophisticated and has a range of features suited for mature social media teams? You will have to make the decision based on your requirements. No matter what your answer, be sure to choose a tool that aligns with your needs so you don’t end up disappointed. 

Pricing and value for money 

You might want the fanciest tool out there, but you also have to be reasonable. Therefore, before you begin evaluating tools, make sure you finalize your budget and then go out hunting for one. You want to make sure that you purchase a tool that best meets your requirements and also fits your budget. 

Radarr, for example, is a social & digital intelligence tool that we are sure would do both. It is a cloud based solution that integrates seamlessly with your social handles, listens and monitors conversations, and gleans real time data, news, trends, and insights to help you understand your brand sentiment, share of voice, brand health, and monitor your campaigns and social KPIs. It presents data intelligently so you can use it to build and tweak your strategies and turn your brand into a social centric one. 

With Radarr in your arsenal, you can not only track relevant conversations, analyze sentiment, and engage constructively well in time, but also predict upcoming trends that you can leverage to prepare for the future and stay ahead of the curve. Radarr uses social intelligence to make social media marketing worthwhile for your brand by arming you with every data point, statistic, trend, and insight that you need to know to gauge your social performance and improve it with each passing day. Still confused? How about you take a personalized demo to make up your mind. 

Frequently asked questions about social media intelligence 

Is social media intelligence the same as social reporting?

Social media is not the same as social reporting. While social reporting involves gathering actionable insights by regularly tracking social engagement, reach, and awareness numbers, social intelligence comes way after and refers to putting the information gained from social reporting to good use. Social media intelligence involves various teams analyzing social reports deeply and using them to take better informed and more promising business and growth decisions. Put simply, social reporting answers the question ‘what’ is being said about a brand on social media, social intelligence answers ‘why’ it is being said so. 

Is social media intelligence the same as social listening?

Social listening is the process of closely monitoring likes, tweets, mentions, and comments to gain an understanding of the overall sentiment and emotion regarding a particular brand, the amount of buzz and hype it is generating, and the conversations surrounding it, on social media. Social media intelligence, on the other hand, is an extremely descriptive and detailed way of keeping social data at the forefront of all business decisions, analyzing why the numbers are so, and extracting deeper insights and trends from social data. 

Ready to leverage social media intelligence to grow your business? Book a demo to see how Radarr works.