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The Role of Social Media in Business Intelligence

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Traditionally, companies would gather information and feedback from customers through suggestions boxes, feedback forms and periodic surveys via websites or through a particular focus group. This kind of intelligence gathering was often not 100% accurate and did not convey the true reality of the market and the business climate . . .

Traditionally, companies would gather information and feedback from customers through suggestions boxes, feedback forms and periodic surveys via websites or through a particular focus group. This kind of intelligence gathering was often not 100% accurate and did not convey the true reality of the market and the business climate.Social Media has changed how businesses operate in a multitude of ways – marketing, communication, PR, customer service, even online bookings. But how has it impacted business intelligence and information gathering?

The social media channel now provides businesses instant gratification. Feedbacks, opinions, customer service, even product launches can gather real-time reactions and information from the customer. A recent survey conducted on the state of business intelligence revealed that 79.2% of intelligence practitioners monitor social media sites to gain insights on their competitors, the business climate and consumer preferences.  The figure below shows the popular social media sites used for intelligence gathering.

Fig 1: State of Business Intelligence Survey 2012, www.digimind.com

With the global economic downturn, having a realtime social media channel has ensured that the business intelligence department of large companies does not suffer. Furthermore, for the first time in the history of business, small businesses and cottage industries an even playing field in gathering business intelligence. They too can now receive install feedback on their products, create polls and questionnaires via social media sites and make informed business decisions.

This has led to the coining of a new term – social business intelligence.  So what is social business intelligence? Forbes magazine describes it as the “wisdom to listen, interpret and act authentically tapping into the wants and needs of the billion-plus consumers who openly express their opinions online”.

The beauty of social business intelligence is you no longer need a focus group or target groups, your consumers are all online and connected, actively participating in your business ecosystem. All businesses need to do is ask and they shall get a reply!

So how can businesses filter through the ‘noise’ and get real usable information from social media? The Dachis Group outlined the following model to strategically harness social media information.

Source: http://www.dachisgroup.com/2011/08/social-business-intelligence-positioning-a-strategic-lens-on-opportunity/

 

The company also identified five key drivers of social business intelligence: –

  • Social business enables market optimisation with companies being able to pinpoint which marketing strategies worked and which didn’t.
  • With customers openly expressing ideas and requirements, business can clearly identify consumer wants and needs.
  • Easy to plan crisis management and even anticipate them. Thereby protecting the consumer experience and brand image.
  • Opportunity to provide real-time customer care.
  • Social business intelligence provides businesses with the opportunity to gain insight into the customer’s state of mind (sentiment analysis).

While we have now established that social media is indeed a key platform to derive business intelligence, you might be left wondering what strategies your business could use to turn social media data to information. Dion Hinchcliffe of the Dachis Group, has identified nine social business intelligence strategies:-

  • Track the influencers, and experts of your brand. Identify the true status of your business reputation.
    • Find out how customers are engaging and how they can be retained.
    • Adopt a social business collaboration tool for tracking
    • Use your social media and search engine data for funnel analysis.
    • Manage you social supply chain.
    • Manage your human resources.
    • Keep an eye on the business ecosystem for new regulations and compliance.
    • Use social media and the reports provided by it to gain insight into your brand.
    • Become a social business internally.

These points together with survey results provides conclusive evidence that social media is not just for marketing, customer engagement and brand building but its uses for business runs much deeper than that. Social Media has now become a part of the very essence of any organisation’s business model. With its role in business intelligence, social media has become an integral part of product development and planning. This means that the efficiency in which a business deduces its business intelligence through social media can impact the future and very survival of the company.

Sources: –

  1. State of Market Intelligence Survey Report 2012 –http://www.digimind.com/landing/State_Of_Market_Intelligence_2012
  2. Harnessing Social Business Intelligence: Nine Strategic Uses by Dion Hinchcliffe http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/enterprise/2011/08/harnessing_social_business_int.php
  3. Dachis Group Blog Post – Social Business Intelligence: Positioning a Strategic Lens on Opportunityhttp://www.dachisgroup.com/2011/08/social-business-intelligence-positioning-a-strategic-lens-on-opportunity/
  4. Forbes Article – Social Business Intelligence: Wisdom from the Outside In –http://www.forbes.com/sites/gyro/2012/05/22/social-business-intelligence-wisdom-from-the-outside-in/

About Logan Nathan

Social Media Business Consultant | Internet (Web) Marketing Strategist Speaker | Trainer

Based in Sydney, Australia, Logan has been an avid & passionate social media user since the advent of Facebook.  As the Social Media Business Consultant with over 30 years experience in the travel and hospitality industry, Logan is focused on guiding organisations through the four stages of social media for business – Education, Strategy, Implementation and On-going Management. If your business needs expert assistance on creating a custom Social Media and Search Engine Optimisation Strategy , contact us via logan@logannathan.com

Logan is also an expert on LinkedIn and is running a series of workshops over the next few months. To Register: – http://www.ictsocialbusiness.com.au/social_media_education/social-media-training-workshop/Getting-leads-from-LinkedIn