You know that social media marketing can help you reach your customers. You’ve heard you can develop and nurture relationships with it. And you may even understand how you can use it as part of customer service initiatives.
But maybe you haven’t thought of it as an intelligence-gathering tool. And yet, it is.
Most people get that social media is a communication medium. But it’s not just a two-way medium, nor is it limited to monitoring what people say about your company or products.
It can also be used a step beyond that, for gathering broader intel from the larger world around you to help you make the smartest decisions for your organization.
You can use social to gather ideas, sharpen market intelligence, keep track of competitors, inform best practices, learn more about customers and their behaviors, and keep on top of industry trends. It’s an invaluable tool for driving informed decision-making. And what organization couldn’t use more of that?
Go to Twitter, for example. By searching hashtags that your industry uses, maybe you can gain insights into the feasibility of alternative business models being used, or find features gaining traction in competing products. You can learn whether attitudes vary regionally about customer service, or whether public opinion is demanding certain business practices.
In a few hours, a small or medium-size business can gather nearly as much information for free as larger companies used to accumulate through surveys, focus groups and research firms. And for those organizations that want more information than basic monitoring will reveal, there are many social intelligence tools out there.
Smart organizations are tapping into the wealth of social data and opinion online and using it to drive improvements in their business. And as a result, they are positioning themselves to develop products and practices that take them to the next level. Now that you know, maybe you can take advantage of it, too.
Lynn Christiansen Esquer is a principal at SocialProse Media. Email her at email@example.com
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