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Social Intelligence: The Next Frontier

by Debbie DeGabrielle, Chief Marketing Officer , Visible TechnologiesWednesday, April 20, 2011

To create a stronger business that is able to better respond to market needs, a growing number of marketers are leveraging Social Intelligence to better understand where, when and how to reach their target audiences. Forrester defines Social Intelligence as, ’the concept of turning social media data into actionable marketing and business strategy.’ Social Intelligence, in particular, can be transformative for business. It’s what a company needs to maintain meaningful, productive relationships with not only current and potential customers, but also employees, partners, and any other relevant group interacting with the organization – as well as with each other – through social channels.

Through the use of Social Intelligence, an enterprise’s social and business strategies can become firmly intertwined, and data collected from the social sphere is analyzed and used to generate tangible value for the organization, from building brand affinity to accelerating business growth. The process also helps to reveal not only who a customer is, but also, what he or she may want – and even more important, how that customer feels about what he or she wants. The business can then use this to predict and anticipate customers’ needs and ideally, fulfill them.

Sounds pretty straightforward, but marketers and other social media champions trying to sell the idea that Social Intelligence is the next frontier for their organization are often met with blank stares by key decision-makers. That’s a problem, considering strong executive leadership is critical for any business that wants to move from the concept of simply monitoring social data to applying Social Intelligence. And as social communities continue to evolve, companies that don’t leverage Social Intelligence won’t be able to act on insights that help them get ahead of competition – or at least, give them a run for the money.

Look at USA Network’s recent campaign to promote its new show, “Fairly Legal.” The network had never launched an original TV show in January – and to make things even more challenging, the program shares a time slot with MTV’s outrageously popular “Jersey Shore.” USA Network’s marketing team turned to social channels such as Facebook and Twitter to generate buzz about the show’s debut and promote other related efforts such as a controversial guerilla marketing campaign in several major cities.

While the premiere of the third season of “Jersey Shore” still handily beat the debut of “Fairly Legal,” industry watchers took note of its strong numbers – and that nearly a third of the show’s 3.9 million viewers were in the key 18-49 demographic. These results required a bold campaign with effective timing and coordination – and the co-mingling of social and business strategies – to ensure that the conversations USA Networks had with viewers (that is, its “customers”) would resonate.

No doubt, what USA Networks learned by building an audience for “Fairly Legal” through social channels – and now, by understanding what the audience is saying about the show, especially to others – will be applied to its future campaigns for this program and others. This is one example of Social Intelligence in action – and a clear indicator of why it isthe next frontier for business. Without the insight Social Intelligence provides, and everyone in the organization being aware of it, and acting on it collectively, your business won’t make an impact in the social sphere – and your success in the “real world” may be undermined, as well.  For more on Social Intelligence, you can also read the The Evolution of Enterprise Social Intelligence.

About the Author

Debbie DeGabrielle is CMO of Visible Technologies, a leading provider of Social Intelligence Solutions

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