Social media intelligence is the concept of turning social media data into actionable insights for brands. A social media intelligence definition can be simply stated as “using social tools and solutions to understand consumers and serve them better.” When you think of the social media intelligence definition, you can think of it as the ability to draw conclusions from social media data and act on those insights. The insights assist in making essential business decisions. For example, a clothing company may choose to retire certain colors and introduce new colors. Essentially, social media intelligence uncovers insights from social data and enables brands to leverage insights intelligently.

A brief history of the term “Social Media Intelligence”

The term “social media intelligence” was first used by David Omand, Jamie Bartlett, and Carl Miller at Demos, a London-based think tank. They explored the term for the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) in a 2012 paper. In the paper, they discussed how intelligence is the key to social media, and how social media intelligence is an expansion of social media monitoring and social listening. Today, social media intelligence is a crucial layer on top of social listening. It is a relatively new area in digital marketing and plays an essential role in how to use social data more effectively.

Social Media Intelligence Definition vs Social Listening Definition

Social listening is one portion of the social media intelligence definition — they should not be confused with one another. Originally, social listening only collected data but didn’t present the data in a meaningful or actionable way. Today, by using insights, social listening is expanded upon, resulting in social media intelligence. Social media intelligence incorporates social listening. This results in positive changes in the way companies conduct business, and how those companies make decisions. The social media intelligence definition goes beyond just listening to customers — it takes the needs and wants of customers and addresses them.

Why is it essential to incorporate Social Media Intelligence?

Without social media intelligence, businesses cannot leverage the power of their social data. This tends to happen when social listening is used without the additional layer of social media intelligence.

It is not enough to just monitor the number of likes a post received. Discovering what consumers are saying about brands and if they have any interest in the products, is the easiest way to gather real-time and honest feedback. Rather than solely monitoring and listening to social data, it’s important to go a step further and gain actionable insights. How valuable is it to know that 10% of comments about your brand are negative? Not that helpful. It would be better to take this information and understand why some of your posts are receiving negative feedback and how to make changes to prevent negative comments in the future.

Taking your social listening to the next level is the essence of building a strong social media intelligence program. Quite simply, real business success depends on having actionable customer insights instead of just collecting social listening data. Above all, brands can use social media intelligence to make drastic improvements to a product or service and drive more revenue.

The Future of Social Media Intelligence

In conclusion, the future of social media intelligence will be largely impacted by Artificial Intelligence (AI). The impact will specifically assist in making sense of the vast amounts of data that is constantly being collected. It’s a challenging task to draw actionable insights from a sea of social listening data. This is where the role of automation in social media intelligence comes into play. For instance, AI can analyze extensive amounts of data by instantly identifying trending topics and patterns that exist within social conversations. AI tools use analytics-based algorithms to retrieve insights and enhance machine learning capabilities. Ultimately, coupling social media intelligence with AI/automation is creating an industry transformation. This will shape the future of social media intelligence definition.

Now that we covered the social media intelligence definition and how today’s brands can benefit, learn how the Synthesio Social Media Intelligence Suite can enable smart, data-backed decision-making.