Social Intelligence in Marketing

Social intelligence plays a critical role in how successful a brand can be when connecting with its desired audience. And that’s because it pulls intel from the social web that reveals relevant and timely details about your consumer, which can then be used in a multitude of ways to reach out and form authentic, long-term relationships.

2022 state of social report

How can you put social intelligence to work for your brand? We’ll get to that in a moment. First, consider these social media usage stats, which is arguably the lion’s share of consumers’ online activity:

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

Social Intelligence as a Marketing Tool

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 the 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. How each is used changes over time, but one thing stands: These social channels are used to talk about everything – including you.

No one consumer is the same, and that means a one-size fits all approach to marketing doesn’t work. It is critical to find these little details and differences that distinguish various segments of your audience, and those that connect them too. 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 reveals what consumers don’t want, so you don’t waste your time trying to force 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 be used to inform your brand in ways that help with product innovation, competitive insights, influencer identification and more.

Examples of Social intelligence

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

  • Brand Health and Perception
  • Trend Analytics
  • Crisis Management
  • Influencer and KOL Marketing

It takes brands well beyond just social listening, sentiment analysis, and demographics. And these are important pieces of the puzzle, however, social intelligence informs all aspects of your marketing endeavors, such as brand marketing research.

This is key, because a little 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.

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 art technology for example. This area of innovation is constantly changing and is growing – the global art market grew 29% last year. With top art apps and programs like Procreate for iPads, art technology is something to keep an eye on if you’re in that space. Once you’ve listened to what consumers wish their art software had, it’s time to see what’s already in the works, and what’s not. This is where technology scouting comes in.

Social intelligence from NetBase Quid’s Patent Dataset reveals the top segments of patents for art software and programs:


For example, here is a patent that’s been accepted in Japan. Its focus is on making figure drawing simpler for the user when it comes to combining images:


Is this something the consumer wants? Understanding this will be elemental to your investment.

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

Using Social intelligence to Beat Competitors

Understanding how your brand is perceived, not just across social platforms, but in the news as well, is the beginning targeted messaging done right – and its messaging that will best the competition every time.

The first step provides the framework from which you’ll build everything else. And using this intel helps mark your brand’s position in comparison to others out there. Again, employing a powerful social intelligence and social media listening combo – brands identify where consumers are talking and what they are saying.

For example, as a CPG company seeks to improve their standing in the yogurt category, so it explores the conversation around it. This food is a staple in countries all over the world and is well loved. Additionally, it’s a growing market with its value expected to increase from $97,999.5 million (2020) to $171,826.1 million by 2031. If a brand wanted to solidify its space in this growing arena, it will need to first figure out what consumers are saying about yogurt, identifying any pain points, so they can avoid trouble areas, and possibly solve long-standing concerns.

Below, our conversation on this creamy food is fairly large over the past few months. And we can see right away that it’s not just for breakfast:


From skin care to weight loss, desserts and smoothies, consumers are talking about this milky item in many ways, expected and unexpected

Maybe this isn’t what our brand was expecting to see, and now the opportunity is greater. Before making a decision, they’ll have to dive in and see which conversations are taking the lead, and then figure out where to target their audience-focused promotions. Which brings us to identifying where consumers are talking.

We can sort the clusters above to reveal where consumers are posting and what they’re posting about. On Blogs, ‘Smoothie Recipes’ shine. And in Forums, ‘Lunch’ is on everyone’s mind. Whereas the news is mostly concerned with gut health and probiotics:


And digging in reveals individual consumer thoughts around yogurt. This post found on Twitter from Healthy Options reveals this user and yogurt lover is awaiting the resurgence of Frozen Yogurt shops, and by the looks of engagements, it seems others may be onboard with that idea as well:


Is this something to explore further? Perhaps, that will require more digging. Exploring these bars revealed that consumers are using yogurt for more than just the first meal of the day. It’s being used in baking, curries, smoothies, desserts and much more. The opportunities are vast for a company looking to enter the market, or simply re-market themselves. Niche opportunities abound – and this applies to every category, really.

Just be sure you understand what is being said. Are there any complaints, things consumers don’t like about yogurt? Is it possible to remedy those with your product? Is that an ‘in’ for advertising?  Social intelligence can tell you!

Using 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 discovering 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, reach out for a demo and put social intelligence to work for you.

2022 state of social report

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