Social Intelligence in Marketing

Kimberly Surico |
 04/24/23 |
9 min read

Social Intelligence in Marketing

When establishing effective connections between a brand and its intended audience, the significance of social intelligence cannot be overstated. It extracts valuable insights from social media platforms and other online channels, uncovering relevant and valuable consumer intel. Brands leverage this data to establish genuine, meaningful relationships—and we’ll show you how!

Before delving into how social intelligence can be utilized by a brand, let’s take a moment to review some social media usage statistics, as it constitutes a significant portion of consumers’ online behavior:

  • As of 2021, social media had a user base of more than 26 billion individuals globally, with a projected increase to nearly six billion by 2027.
  • France’s social media advertising expenditure reached approximately 23 billion euros in 2022, indicating a 10% increase from the previous year.
  • Between 2023 and 2028, the total number of social media users in Germany is expected to increase by 6 million individuals, indicating a growth rate of 16.56 percent.
  • There are 53 million active social media users in the UK, representing 77.9% of the total population. Furthermore, 98% of UK social media users access these platforms via mobile devices.

And now, let’s explore social intelligence as a marketing tool.

What is Social Intelligence?

Social intelligence, psychologically, refers to a person’s ability to understand and manage interpersonal relationships. Likewise, a social intelligence tool aids companies in understanding their consumers’ likes and dislikes, wants, wishes, and needs – so you can connect on a deeper level with your audience. And it does this by monitoring consumer activity across the social web, including highly trafficked social media platforms.

Consumers are using Twitter to air out their grievances about the world. On TikTok, they’re jumping on trend trains. They use Reddit for a sense of community and investigation, and Tumblr is where they express themselves and find solace in loosely formed communities while others meme about things. How each is used changes over time, but one thing stands: These social channels are used to talk about everything—including you.

The Importance of Social Intelligence in Business

No one consumer is the same, which means a one-size-fits-all marketing approach doesn’t work. Finding these little details and differences that distinguish various segments of your audience and those that connect them is critical. Social intelligence tracks online conversations and consumer behavior to help brands:

  • Stay up to date on what consumers want and reveal emerging trends. It also shows what consumers don’t want, so you don’t waste time forcing a fit.
  • Keep their baseline in check and monitor brand health, spotting anomalies as they happen and pivoting to adjust to an ever-evolving market.
  • Deal with a crisis when it happens. Social intelligence tools can alert you to any developing crisis so that your team can spring into action and curtail the damage.

And this is just scratching the surface. Social intelligence can inform your brand in ways that help with product innovation, competitive insights, influencer identification, etc.

How to Measure Social Intelligence

Think of social intelligence as the Swiss Army knife of marketing tools. Its goal is always to do the job quickly and effectively for your brand. And it has many ways it can do this for you. It’s an all-in-one tool. These tools include:

  • Engagement metrics: This includes tracking likes, shares, comments, and mentions on social media, as well as monitoring the level of engagement in online communities and forums.
  • Sentiment analysis: This involves analyzing social media conversations and feedback to understand the overall sentiment towards a brand or product.
  • Reach metrics: Tracking metrics such as impressions, followers, and reach on social media can help businesses understand the size and demographics of their audience.

converged media social intelligence

  • Conversion metrics: This includes tracking website traffic, click-through rates, and conversion rates to understand the effectiveness of social media campaigns in driving business objectives.
  • Competitive analysis: By tracking and analyzing competitors’ social media strategies and performance, businesses can gain insights into industry trends and identify areas for improvement.

Overall, measuring social intelligence involves analyzing various metrics and data points to gain a comprehensive understanding of customer behavior and engagement and the effectiveness of social media strategies in achieving business goals.

Let’s look at some of the benefits that social intelligence can give you.

The benefits of using social intelligence

Social intelligence provides a high degree of flexibility, allowing brands to analyze data relevant to their specific needs and uncover surprising insights that may not have been apparent otherwise. The potential for extracting valuable information is virtually limitless with social intelligence. Given the fast-paced nature of social media, it is crucial to select the right social intelligence tools that align with your brand objectives and are geared towards proactive preparedness. Let’s look at how the right social intelligence can inform your brand!

Uncovering Market Trends to Inform

This is key because some brand marketing research is always a good idea before jumping in with both feet.

Uncovering market trends and comparing conversations across brands and organizations gives companies a well-rounded view of what is going on in the overarching category. And this powerful social intelligence and market research combo also reveals whitespace opportunities, which could put you in lead dog territory.

As an illustration, social intelligence can expose the current hot topics related to breakfast. These topics may hold greater significance for brands:

timeline of breakfast conversation

The topic of global breakfast is interesting online. Consumers are discussing the diverse range of breakfast foods available worldwide and are becoming more adventurous in their breakfast choices.

These discussions can reveal valuable insights for brands wanting to enter the breakfast market. It can also assist CPG companies in developing new products. These conversations offer insights into consumer behavior and attitudes toward breakfast, helping brands better tailor their offerings to meet customers’ needs and preferences.

Better understanding of customers

Social intelligence helps businesses better understand customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors, which can inform product development, marketing strategies, and customer service.

We’ve used social media monitoring to examine the popular CPG company General Mills, which specializes in breakfast foods. By utilizing the “personal narrative” filter, we can observe the number of posts, mentions, or sentiments associated with narratives such as “I love,” “I want/need,” “I hate,” “I wish,” or “My favorite.”

personal narrative breakfast foods

Accessing individual posts under the “my favorite” narrative, we found a post discussing General Mills’ discontinued cereal, Triples.

And that’s high praise from a consumer. It may indicate that there is still demand for General Mills’ discontinued cereal, Triples. However, further exploration may be necessary to determine if more cereal enthusiasts share this sentiment.

Brands can utilize social media monitoring tools to analyze the sentiment surrounding Triples and identify if other consumers also desire its return. Based on this analysis, General Mills can decide whether relaunching the cereal is viable.

And sometimes, you find what consumers don’t want or even hate. And that brings us to our next section.

Improved customer engagement and crisis management

By using social intelligence to monitor and respond to customer feedback and conversations, businesses can create more meaningful and personalized customer interactions, increasing loyalty and engagement.

However, consumers may voice their displeasure about various aspects of a brand, such as customer service, product quality, or marketing tactics. These negative posts can harm a brand’s reputation and impact consumer perception.

Businesses must address negative sentiment quickly and effectively. Social media monitoring tools can help companies identify negative posts and promptly address any issues or concerns consumers raise. By responding to negative sentiment in a timely and helpful manner, businesses demonstrate their commitment to customer satisfaction and turn a negative experience into a positive one.

Competitive advantage

Social intelligence allows businesses to gain insights into their competitors’ strategies and stay ahead of industry trends. Companies can create targeted messaging that outperforms the competition by understanding how their brand is perceived across social media and news outlets. By using social intelligence and social media listening, brands can identify where consumers are talking and what they are saying, helping them position their brand in comparison to others in the market.

For example, a CPG company seeks to improve its standing in the breakfast category, so it explores the conversation around it. Breakfast foods constitute a significant portion of consumer grocery budgets, accounting for approximately 20% of the total expenditure. Given that 95% of consumers eat breakfast during the morning on an average of six times per week, it’s evident that breakfast presents a massive business opportunity.

Below we have top trending terms when it comes to breakfast. These terms may indicate emerging trends or shifts in consumer preferences regarding breakfast. The fact that dumplings are mentioned as a breakfast option suggests that consumers may seek more unconventional breakfast choices.

top breakfast terms

tumblr breakfast post

These trends may not be what our brand anticipated to discover but given that our top topic in conversation was global breakfast, it’s not surprising. And it could present a new opportunity. For brands to make an informed decision, further investigation is necessary to identify which conversations are most prevalent and relevant to the brand. Based on this information, the brand can determine where to target its audience-focused promotions.

Accurate Audience Targeting

To effectively target audiences, brands must identify where consumers discuss their products or services. Social media monitoring can help brands pinpoint where their target audience is most active online and which platforms they use.

By analyzing this data, brands can focus their marketing efforts on the platforms where they are most likely to reach and engage their target audience. This approach can result in more effective marketing campaigns and increased brand awareness among the target audience.

mentions by social channel

More effective marketing

Now that you know what consumers are talking about and where it’s time to market your new, fantastic breakfast dumpling idea. Social intelligence enables businesses to create targeted and personalized marketing campaigns that resonate with their audience, leading to higher conversion rates and ROI.

For example, social intelligence surfaces psychographic intel on audiences such as professions and interests. Our breakfast crowd loves beauty, pets, politics, health, fitness, etc. Brands can use each of these interests can be used to help target different audiences in a way they’ll find meaningful.

associated breakfast interests

Product Innovation

After capturing market research, compare it to what consumers want. Everything changes, including what consumers want from their products, so monitoring these conversations is vital to product innovation. And once you know what consumers want, it’s time to see what’s already being made.

Take the Cosmetics industry, for example. This area of innovation is constantly changing and is growing –  The cosmetics industry is expected to grow by 4.2% (CAGR) from 2023 to 2030. And it’s no wonder with the popularity of makeup tutorials on TikTok. Once you’ve listened to what consumers wish their makeup could do, it’s time to see what’s already in the works and what’s not. This is where scouting comes in.

Social intelligence from NetBase Quid®’s patent dataset reveals the top segments of patents for cosmetics:

cosmetics patents

Pulling from our clusters above is a patent for a more hygienic foundation:

cosmetic patent detail

Is this something your consumers want? Understanding this will be crucial to your investment.

Influencers/KOLs to Boost Brand Visibility

Influencers have become a powerful force in the marketing world because they can sway consumer purchase decisions through their recommendations.

However, to partner with the right influencer for your brand, you must track their activity and compare notes between your many options. When considering potential influencers, there are several factors to consider, such as their social media following, their engagement rate, whether their content aligns with your brand, and how often they post.

With Rival IQ’s social intelligence, businesses can track and compare their activity, audience, engagement rates, and more across various social media channels.

influencer audience metrics by channel in rival iq

Using all aspects of social intelligence is crucial – from social listening for consumer opinions and sentiments to tech scouting and product innovation – you need it all. Each one informs the other. And if done correctly, it keeps your brand well-oiled and moving in the right direction – including sharpening your competitive edge.

Leverage social intelligence in your business

Social intelligence plays a crucial role in businesses’ ability to connect with their audience and achieve success in today’s digital landscape. By leveraging social intelligence tools and data, companies can gain valuable insights into consumer behavior, industry trends, and competitor strategies. They can use this information to optimize their social media strategies and drive better engagement, ROI, and brand loyalty.

Some key ways to leverage social intelligence include monitoring brand mentions and conversations, identifying industry trends and insights, personalizing marketing campaigns, monitoring competitor strategies, measuring social media ROI, and identifying potential influencers. By adopting a proactive approach to social intelligence, businesses can stay ahead of the curve and build authentic, long-term customer relationships.

Social intelligence opens a whole new world to marketing opportunities – from marking your brand’s position and discovering emerging trends to staying informed of competitive product launches and finding those key opinion leaders and influencers that consumers listen to.

To keep your competitive edge and ensure that you’re saying the right things, at the right moment, on the right platform

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