"It seems like just yesterday our brand just needed to monitor to social media, then we needed to listen, now we're starting to hear more and more about social media intelligence? Is there even a difference?"
Absolutely! However, more than these terms describing different things, what they actually represent is the evolution of social media collection and analysis tools.
That still doesn't really tell you the difference though, does it?
So to clarify things let's take a look at the progression of this type of technology and a few of the key features that define the shift from social media monitoring to social media intelligence.
It all started with monitoring
Then monitoring evolved to listening
Now listening is progressing toward intelligence
What defines "intelligence" ?
Previously social media monitoring platforms just provided information, not insights.
Take for example, sentiment. How valuable is it to know that 60% of posts about your brand are positive? Not very.
However, knowing something like whether or not you're activating your most valuable tribes during a product launch event, if they're talking about buying the products you offer, and the reasons they do or do not plan to buy? That's incredibly valuable.
Trying to unearth insights from social data that can actually be used (intelligence) is nothing new.
Often, analysts and teams of human interpreters have undertaken the tasks of building complex queries to identify things like purchase indicators. **A very incomplete and inaccurate method.
Many have also manually read through raw posts to analyze, categorize, and aggregate common themes within social data in the hopes of identifying insights within the information.
An approach that is expensive, exhausts analyst resources, and does not scale.
The shift to social media intelligence is technology that replaces human interpretation, analyzing the data more quickly and effectively, uncovering correlations and similarities that would be nearly impossible for human categorizers to associate, and doing so in near real-time.
What the future holds
Even after a few years of evolving, social media intelligence is still in its early stages.
Automated natural language processing and text analysis continues to get far more sophisticated, real-time is now actually real-time instead of, 'this happened within the last hour,' and social data is increasingly being used within multiple functional teams across organizations.
The next big leap more progressive enterprises are taking is integrating social data with multiple consumer data points to create a holistic view of the consumer, and from there moving to use social data as a key point for real-time, automated decision making.