Using Social Media Insight to Inform Competitive Intelligence

Kimberly Surico |
 06/10/19 |
4 min read

Using Social Media Insight to Inform Competitive IntelligenceBrands main competition online is often themselves, as they get in their own way pursuing marketing avenues that just don’t work for their business. They could do so much better, pretty immediately, if they’d just let social media insight guide the way. Let’s see how that looks!

What Social Media Insight Tells Brands 

Although brands often have a good sense of who their target audience is, at least initially, they’re typically too close to it all to see when things start to shift.  And everything inevitably shifts, as everything is fluid – the audience, its needs and, very importantly, how they feel about brands in a given vertical.

As a result, strategy needs to be equally versatile to capture insight in real-time, including:

  • Consumer behavior (what they’re buying, doing, attending and potential relevance/collaboration opportunities)
  • Trending topics (what are they talking about in relation to your brand)
  • Consumer preferences (unmet needs, or just areas to pay closer attention to over others in the moment)
  • Competitive insight (what competitors are doing well, no so well and ideas/services they may be beta testing that you have – or could have – in the pipeline as well!)
  • Brand passion & sentiment (how passionately do consumers feel about a brand – and is it positive or negative?)
  • Sentiment drivers (what is at the heart of it all, understanding everything in context to create a complete picture)

Moving beyond a mission statement commitment to continuous improvement, and the corresponding (and arduous) change management process – winning brands adopt the ability to pivot rapidly as need dictates.

Rapid Decision-making with Social Analytics

Most brands are only comfortable doing moving fast and breaking things because their decision-making is driven by exceptionally accurate Next Generation AI-informed intel.

Applying best-in-class machine learning, deep learning, and expert systems, NetBase captures and aggregates social media and additional structured and unstructured data sources for intelligent processing and analysis.

From there, brands can manipulate, explore and compare this abundance of data. Against what? They should be performing ongoing comparisons to previous results and incorporated data sets, including last year’s sales, older campaigns, surveys, feedback and so much more.

Viewing this information in robust dashboards, a brand can immediately see an overview of its complete online outlook to create a performance package around what is/isn’t working – also how a brand looks in comparison to competitors. And with accurate, transparent metrics to back it up.

But that’s a lot of take in at once. Let’s break down a bit . . .

Brand and Competitor Analyses

Brand strategy depends on accurate insight, of course. And its end goal is action – informed action, that creates additional brand opportunities, by:

  • Identifying improvements to your products or services
  • Strategizing content changes to retain existing and attract new customers
  • Identifying best channels for communication
  • Sorting out who to target and identifying segments
  • Determining how to build relationships with key influencer and media contacts
  • Making changes to process, spending, or resource allocation
  • Developing new ideas for products and services
  • Identifying new audiences for products and services
  • Developing customer acquisition strategies and campaigns
  • Optimizing your online presence and advertising based on where consumers talk about you and your competition

And not only is all of this available with solid social media insight, it’s essential to understand before you can best competitors online.

Social Insight & Competitive Advantage

Many businesses are stymied by one senior person’s insistence on doing things the way they’ve always been done, or sticking with products/services that customers have traditionally sought from you, and so forth. This thinking does not reflect the reality of how your brand is perceived today. And being stagnant is definitely not a growth strategy.

If you can’t sort out your own social media insight, you’re certainly not going to be able to sort out what your competition is doing online. And not performing regular social media competitor analyses is one of the worst mistakes a brand can make!

Not every bit of competitive intelligence presents an opportunity, of course – but the amount of insight readily available is astounding. Dismissing the ability to compare multiple brands across key social metrics, leaves tactical and strategic competitive advantages on the table for someone else to scoop up.

Many a bold brand strategy found its start via social listening – just ask the folks at Bradley and Montgomery.

The depth of NetBase’s AI driven analytics has allowed them to deliver actionable results to their clients and create new business opportunities through social media. And that is far from a one-off result.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, particularly when there are roadblocks disguised as good ideas vying for a brand’s attention.

The Light Is On, But Nobody’s Home

With all of the good that social media insights offer a brand, there is some bad to consider as well. There’s tons of ‘less than beneficial’ insight out there – and also lots of less than beneficial insight peddlers – both on the influencer and the tool side.

They’ll offer inflated follower counts, try to distract you with meaningless metrics that do not drive engagement, or (for the tools) they’ll claim to have special “preferred” agreements with social platforms when none exist. These folks not only make your brand look bad – and you look bad to your stakeholders, but they also throw into question the validity of social media insight, and that’s unfortunate.

Paying attention to the wrong things in a time when everything changes so quickly can be fatal, or at least knock a brand out of its top spot. And not paying attention at all, is a very dangerous game, as you can be sure there are scrappy contenders out there tracking not only their standing, but yours as well.

Reach out and we can show you how to stay a few steps ahead at every turn as you discover new audiences and make those larger competitors worry about you!

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