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Social intelligence: How to mine social media for business results

Sandra Gittlen | Aug. 11, 2017
By blending automation and expertise, a strong social intelligence strategy can transform social media data into actionable insights — and help shape your company’s products, advertising and customer experience.

The social team, established five years ago, uses Sprinklr to organize and tag data, which helps get actionable intelligence into the hands of decision makers. Social information gathered in Sprinklr can be compared to other technologies throughout the organization to validate and resolve problems. The team is able to create reporting for various departments such as corporate communications, legal and marketing. Long says the company has seen the power of social media play out in many business decisions. "We make quick but studied decisions while watching factors such as sentiment, volume and influence," Long says.


Social intelligence strategy, a blend of art and science

As the only employee 100 percent dedicated to social media at Zebra Technologies, Global Social Media Strategy Manager Sally-Anne Kaminski considers it her job to champion social intelligence throughout the company, a maker of mobile computers, scanners, RFID and barcode printers.

When the sales enablement team approaches her about prospective clients, Kaminski taps Oracle's Social Cloud, a social relationship management tool, to build a comprehensive dashboard to help the sales representative nail the sale. Kaminski loads Social Cloud's Boolean search with keywords, phrases and topics to discover in conversations across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as message boards and blogs.

"We find insights into [the prospective client's'] products or solutions that might be causing pain points for their customers," she says, adding the tool's semantic filtering helps automatically keep results aligned with intent. Then she delivers a presentation deck to the sales enablement team, complete with a word cloud showing common sentiment across social media of the target's brand. Lengthy sales cycles keep her from learning if the presentations led to a closed deal, but the repeat asks for assistance indicates to her they have been effective.

Like Nissan North America's Long, Kaminski believes human intervention will continue to be a key part of social intelligence, no matter how integrated social analytics and back-end systems become. "I think it does take a unique blend of art and science to be able to sift through thousands of tweets and Facebook posts to uncover what might be a true insight versus one or two squeaky wheels that might have an issue," she says. Having a deep understanding of the company's products and services also is essential in transforming social listening to social intelligence, something she says would be lost in full automation. "If we see a conversation around a pain point, we can make the connection that one of our products can fill that gap," she says.

Kaminski, who has been heavily involved in social media since 2009, says she is "fascinated by the psychology of what makes someone go to social media and flame a brand, or on the flip side, profess their love of a brand and talk about it all the time." Humans, not automated social intelligence tools, she says, are the key to figuring that out and using it to boost a brand.


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