Its amazing to see how social media has so quickly transformed the marketing world, not to mention the realm of advertising and public relations. We went from talking about how to build a Twitter account a few years ago to now expecting social media to do some heavy lifting.
And much of that heavy lifting is in the form of data collection based on online discussions and engagement. Companies are trying to keep up with these emerging social interactions by monitoring what is being said about them online but can’t seem to grapple with the fire hose of data that is coming at them. Most of them are just trying to make sense of properly engage customers and haven’t quite figured out how to use the information that is coming back at them.
From what I see, most companies, not named Ford or Dell, are still hesitant to really embrace social technologies and aren’t quite convinced of its relevance to their business. Either that, or they haven’t the faintest idea how to craft and implement a strategy that incorporates branding, business lead generation, quality customer service, and consumer insight.
Many companies these days have a social media presence but they aren’t really tying it to their overall business objectives. Its just hanging out there on its own. They throw up a Facebook page or sign up for a Twitter account but don’t really have a strategy on how they engage with people or what type of data they hope to glean out of social interactions.
Without any prompting, customers are openly sharing information that would otherwise have taken months of surveys and focus groups. And they’re doing it for free. This has prompted the growth of a relatively new field called Social Intelligence, which harnesses the insights found within social media data to better understand customers and inform marketing and business strategy.
McKinsey & Company, one of the world’s biggest consulting firms, as just recently partnered with Neilson to provide this service to clients, so you know there must be something do this. (Nielsen Joins Forces With McKinsey For Social Intelligence Consulting)
Social Intelligence is quite an easy concept but one that isn’t being fully utilized by most companies. It involves these three basic steps:
- Monitoring social media
- Collecting and analyzing the content
- Using the insights to inform your strategy
Companies are just beginning to figure out the first two steps but have yet to figure out the third and, what I’d consider to be, the most crucial step. Zach Hofer-Shall, an analyst at Forrester Research recently published an article called Defining Social Intelligence which he encouraged companies to start taking online conversations seriously to better utilize the data coming from their social channels.
I think Zach and Forrester are on to something. Thus, you should be seeing more and more demand for services that link social data to business insights.
Here are some interesting articles I’ve found on the subject:
- Add Ratings And Reviews To Your Social Intelligence Strategy
- Defining Social Intelligence
- Social Intelligence Meets PR
- Online Social Intelligence