WHYs and HOWs of Social Media Intelligence

Social Monitoring ==> Social Listening ==>Social Intelligence

You see, there’s no equation, it only goes in one direction and it’s a process and evolution.

You can’t start Listening without Monitoring, you won’t gain Intelligence without active Listening either; Brandwatch post here briefly introduces the difference between these interchangeable terms with the conclusion of “Social media intelligence is ultimately about helping make business decisions based on social media analysis and data. It’s often also called social business intelligence, for this reason.”

Lately, I’ve seen many clients cancelling their Radian6 subscriptions and chose to go for more integrated analysis, they have come to realize that paying for monitoring tools along is not going to help improving bottom lines; not listening attentively (engagement) they risk of losing interests of their audience and even worst, not analyzing social conversation simply put brands behind the market and competitors.

A while ago I wrote about “Are You Listening in the Right Place”, in it focused on the 4Ws (Who/What/Where/When) assuming businesses understand WHY they need to listen; I would like to believe nowadays the majority of businesses have somewhat acquired or learned the listening skills and  are capable of engaging with their communities.  With the speed of social media technology evolving (many new tools make it to market on daily basis), it’s not too difficult to quickly find out the who/what/where/when, it’s more important to dig gold nuggets of the whys and hows; turn that into valuable insights for making the most informed decisions at the right time, and that’s where the challenges present.

Sure, tools are designed to handle large volume of data, and with automation and complicated calcuation most would like to think real-time intellince is at your finger tips.  However, algorithms cannot give people goose bumps, and algorithms cannot tell a story; they cannot give you that nugget of insight that differentiates brands and products, that is only performed by human beings that can tell stories and can understand consumer behavior instinctively.

The famous and brilliant Danny Brown illustrated three steps to enhance social media intelligence here, and I can’t stress enough about the WHYs and HOWs in social intelligence era.


— are people talking about particular product/services/brand, this is the trigger points;

— are people expressing the positive/mixed or unclear/neutral/negative feeling towards certain product/services/brand, this is the myth and/or perception;


— can brand participate in the conversation without intrusion,

— can brand be in driver seat to change the direction of conversation and maybe the perception,

— to build/maintain/broaden brand advocates and work with them effectively,

— to bridge the intelligence between line of businesses (no more silos!) to achieving business goals and objectives

To me, to be able to answer these questions are the true value of social intelligence.

Now it’s your turn 🙂 Did I miss something?

Sara Chi Written by:

Sara is a mother of two witty, wonderful teen/tween girls who she tries to embrace with girl power without exasperation. Sara asks a lot of whys, this may or may not have something to do with the girls, however, please don't ask why she does that. Sara often speaks her mind with bluntness and people think she is funny, it has happened more than she can count. As smart as she is, this remains mysterious.

  • Jessica Barnes

    Great post Sara. For us at BLOOM it’s all about extracting business plans and objectives from social data – making data meaningful. We created a quick, how to video on this subject which I thought you’d find interesting.


    • Thanks for stopping by Jessica, extracting data from social chatters and making it meaningful is all we try to do ultimately; know what to look for and why it matters even data is automated generated, then how to do it better the next time is what I aim for.

  • Daniel K.

    I think a lot of people and businesses are waking up to see why they should be using Social Media but are still struggling with how. I’ve seen many places that just contribute noise and just seem spammy to online discussions. (Those forced ads via landing pages that are experiencing a comeback aren’t helping either)

    I guess the big question for the upcoming year will be how to connect with users genuinely without hitting them over the head with your agenda.

    Great read and points!

    • Hi Daniel,

      You are correct in that businesses are trying to figure out the how, wanting their content to go viral. I am not a fan of sponsored ad/promoted tweet and often tune out if I find the messages are pushy.

      Thanks very much for reading.