How To Harness Social Intelligence

According to a recent HubSpot report, more than half of all marketers found a customer on social media on iPhoneFacebook in 2013. The same report points out that social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average across other marketing channels.

Social media, in other words, is a powerful tool for connecting with prospects and customers. The problem is that marketers often neglect the critical push from advertising to customer activation.

“To make social media intelligence actionable, software needs to move from a position of monitoring and listening to a position of active discovery and identification of opportunities,” says James Li, co-founder at an enterprise social insights company called Encore.

Social media should be a tool that drives growth. Here is how enterprise organizations can transform their passive social presences into robust customer acquisition strategies.

Respond in real time

In addition to listening and learning, companies should focus on identifying new opportunities for growth.

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“This means constantly picking up on key mentions, brand advocates, trending conversations, and active topics so that it’s not too late for the marketer to act on them,” explains Li. “Social media should guide what kinds of blog posts to write, events to plan, and people to partner with.”

And this type of forward momentum should be a part of a social media manager’s daily workflow. “Many of the brands we work with pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for extremely robust listening and analytics tools, which may be good for longer-term planning, but lack the time and ability to constantly interpret incoming data,” explains Li.

For maximum impact, social media intelligence should inform a company’s operational strategy. Listening is just the first step.

Prioritize customer psychology

Social media is more than just a marketing channel or website traffic driver. It is a tool for influencing purchasing decisions. In addition to prioritizing tactics, examine your brand’s overarching strategy for building connections with customers and prospects.

“I think business leaders are challenged by effectively utilizing social media intelligence to drive, not just traffic or referral visits, but actual marketing conversions,” explains Jonathan Casella, New Media Marketing Manager at Sparxoo. “Businesses should set realistic goals and then use social media insights to develop, or optimize, content that is appealing but also entices the user to complete the desired goal.”

Pageviews, likes, tweets, and shares are a reflection of consumer sentiment. Look beyond surface-level data to prioritize emotions, user stories, and human-to-human connections.

Don’t make blanket assumptions

Intuition can be important, but you have to rely on data to provide answers to your most important business questions.

“Don’t develop a social media and content schedule just for kicks,” explains Casella. “Justify each decision with supporting data. Use analytics to learn as much about your target market as possible, then optimize accordingly.”

Think of your social media strategy as a marketing engine, not merely as a collection of disjointed campaigns. The goal is to build a scalable, intelligent framework to drive growth.

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