Over the past few years there has been a lot of discussion about how to measure digital content and social media activity. Most of the focus has been on measuring after your have put out content online and in social media. However, many businesses miss the value of gathering social intelligence. There’s a goldmine of data you can, and should, tap into before you create any content. Business intelligence has always been highly prized, but hard to come by. Social intelligence is much easy to gather, if you know how. Imagine knowing exactly what your potential customers need and want, or what they think of your products.
Prior to social media, traditional market research was the only way to find any of this information. But traditional market research is expensive and time-consuming. It’s also not 100% accurate and reliable, because the minute someone knows they’re being surveyed they are no longer in a natural, genuine conversation about your products or your industry.
On social media we happily bare our souls, so social intelligence is there for the taking. Facebook knows more about us than any survey company could ever find out. You can tap into this intelligence base by monitoring social media conversations. You can find the nuggets of information – those actionable insights – that will give you direction and help you improve your business strategy.
Gather and analyze information so you can discover what’s needed and wanted, you can see where the gaps and opportunities lie and whether there are any possible threats or crises brewing. See what your competitors are doing in the space. Plot your brand’s social graph and identify the influential players in each sector of the graph. Use this information to set your goals, R&D, messaging, marketing and engagement.
Once you have your plan in place, create the content and use a social dashboard to manage the posting, monitoring and interactions with the people who respond. You need a dashboard that allows you to post to multiple social accounts, quickly and easily. It should allow you to add and shorten links and include images and video with just a couple of clicks. It must keep track of who mentions you and/or your brand content, or the issues you want to follow, and have a feature that allows you to respond right from the dashboard. It shoudl ebalbe you to schedule content so that you can streamline your workflow.
Now that you have goals based on real intelligence, it’s easy to keep track of your results. You’ll know where you started and where you want to be. You can immediately see whether you’re hitting your targets and, if not, you can adapt and adjust on the fly.
By Sally Falkow, CEO of Meritus Media: A Digital PR agency in Los Angeles.