In the world of online media, various concepts exist around big data. We often speak about social listening, social analytics and social data. The word social is somewhat misleading; it’s not only about listening to social media channels but also to other online channels like blogs, news sites or review sites. Social listening is about listening to any public online data source. It brings you insights about the mentions of your brand, organization or relevant keywords about your line of business. A lot of companies use some form of social listening these days and create reports based on the gathered data. But are these reports really used by the organization? Often the answer is no.

Managers quickly review these reports and hit the archive button. There is no real value in it for management. The CMO of social technology vendor Brandwatch explained it quit nice lately: it’s about the What, So What and Now What of social data. The What is the information, the report. It’s purely data and misses the “aha”. It is of no value for internal stakeholders, managers or directors. These reports commonly show the amount of mentions of the brandname or amount of visitors of the brand’s website. Great info for the online marketeer or social media manager, but useless for managers outside of the online domain. A lot of these reports are only about soft KPI’s like followers, likes and retweets and are lacking valuable insights.

The So What is about insights and findings based on the data. A spike in mentions on a certain day, caused by campaign X or announcement Y, accompanied with examples of the mentions. Or a raise in negative sentiment on a certain day and time, accompanied by the mentions that caused this sentiment. Reporting on the Net Promotor Score (NPS) or a sudden raise in mentions about a specific retail location are also part of the insights report. These kind of reports are becoming more valuable for management, but still lack real value.

Social intelligence is about the Now What. The decisions that we make, based on the insights that social data brings us. The actions that we take to influence the results positively. Social intelligence is the key to add real value to social data. It shows all internal stakeholders what customers think of your brand and enables them to make informed decisions.

Social intelligence is the key to add real value to social data

For example we could train employees of a certain retail location in customer satisfaction if social data shows a lot of complaint about this location. Or we could use the data to analyze the needs of your customers and make it a valuable insight for product development. We could also predict demand of our product based on analysis of historical data. There are endless possibilities if you are able to retrieve and analyze high quality data.

Social intelligence is also about high-end technology. In the past a simple social listening platform with some graphs would be enough to analyze data of our owned channels. Today we need more advanced technology to listen to any online mention about our brand. The technology has to bring us high-quality data and real-time insights in dynamic dashboards. In a way that we can collaborate with others in the organization to analyze this data and make informed decisions.

The future is social intelligence
Social intelligence is much more then social listening and analytics. It enables us to make informed decisions and gain real value from the massive amount of data that is available to us. The technology has become more mainstream with vendors like Brandwatch, that recently raised another $33 Million to further improve their social intelligence platform. All signs that business is taking social data seriously. The time social media was only about marketing is far behind us; social intelligence is the future… Also for your organization!