Social media intelligence is the act of gathering information from social media sites, which can be both intrusive or non-intrusive, and collecting data from open and closed social networks. For small businesses, the use of social media intelligence can be a guiding factor in future strategic business decisions.
To succeed at gathering social media intelligence, you need the right tools and knowledge of how to use the information you have gained. To help you do that, we have highlighted 4 ways businesses can use social media intelligence to make business decisions and learn about their customers.
Here are 4 ways to use social media intelligence for your business
Discover your audience demographics
For any business, knowing your audience is key to executing accurate campaigns and personifying your company’s target audience. With tools like Facebook Insights you’ll be able to gain information like age and gender. This kind of social media intelligence will allow you to focus your social media campaigns to those age and gender groups.
You can also validate your business objectives with this kind of information. For example, if you released a product that is supposed to cater to women aged 24 to 35, then you find out from Facebook Insights that the majority of your Facebook Likes come from 25-35 year old females—you’re on the right track. However, sometimes you expect your audience to consist of one group, but the data from Facebook Insights shows something different. Not to worry, as this is also a helpful insight—this will help you adjust your marketing initiatives to speak to the right audience.
Geo-locate your audience
If your next business goal is to expand your business into a certain region, your first step is researching to see if the transition is worth it. Social media intelligence can help you in your research. For example, if you use Hootsuite’s ow.ly shortener you’ll be able to track how many clicks you receive on each link. More specifically, you’ll be able to track where your clicks are coming from. You can then take this information to weigh out your strategic business decisions.
Monitor customer sentiment
Social media has provided customers an outlet to share their opinion on various topics. Some of the popular topics include customer service and product feedback. Tracking customer sentiment allow companies to learn about what their customers like and don’t like, as well as the brand’s stance in the growing economic market. With tools like Hootsuite you can engage in social media monitoring to gain intelligence on how your customers feel about your company, customer service, and product(s). This kind of information will provide you guidance on your next move in providing superior customer service.
Gain competitive advantage
A big motivator for many companies is their competitors. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, having competitive intelligence is key to staying ahead of your competitors. For example, if you and your competitor launched a product around the same time, you can use a ‘Compare keyword’ report, or create search streams in Hootsuite to track who is getting more mentions on social media. Although, this may not necessarily reflect revenue, this can provide you information about who is winning the social media race, as well as listen to what customers are saying about the products. If you see that your competitor is getting a lot of praise for a feature they included, which your product is missing, you can use that information for future product innovation strategies.
Or, if you run a small business—for example, a coffee shop—you can use social media intelligence to gain information about new coffee shops opening around your neighbourhood by using geo-located search streams in Hootsuite. This will allow you to know if you need to adjust your price, offerings, or customer service.