Why Brands Need Social Insight Beyond Mainstream Social Media

Social intelligence requires more data than mainstream social media sites; user generated data help brands get a complete, accurate picture of consumers.

The author(s)

  • Emma Huff Synthesio, Social Intelligence Analytics, USA
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Although the concept of social intelligence came early in the development of social media, it has only recently been taken seriously as both a proper research discipline and a source of valuable business insights. Now, advances in AI have accelerated the process of collecting, monitoring, and analyzing social data to understand what is being said about a topic, brand, organization, or other entity. Yet many brands’ sole focus is still Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; they underutilize other social sources – either because of platform limitations, low data volumes, or a lack of familiarity – and in turn, miss out on the bigger picture of consumer behavior, sentiment, and preferences. 

2 key data domains brands shouldn't overlook

Recently, Duncan Fergusson, Director of Social Intelligence Analytics at Ipsos, presented on this topic at The SI Lab Observe Summit. In the session, he highlighted two key data domains that brands should include – or look to their partner to provide – when conducting any social analysis: 

  • Reviews
    Data from review sites arguably provides the most the most tangible, qualitative consumer perspective. With star ratings, related commentary and context, and a time stamp, brands can use reviews data to benchmark against competitors’ products and services – and even more sensitive issues that are difficult to collect competitor data for like employee satisfaction. The wealth of available reviews data enables brands to better understand their consumers’ level of satisfaction, the drivers of satisfaction (and dissatisfaction), and the content and meaning of reviews with a high level of precision. And reviews data is less prone than social data to event-driven spikes. 

  • Forums and blogs
    Though they vary dramatically in focus, shape, and size, forums and blogs typically contain long-form, more thoughtful content and conversations between users. For brands, this higher quality data source provides a tremendous level of functional detail and a more authentic understanding of consumers. Whereas Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feature our “projected selves,” forums and blogs lend themselves to truer expression. Reddit – the 5th most popular site in the US and 18th most popular worldwide – is particularly useful because of its scale and ability for users to upvote/downvote certain topics; brands can easily keep a finger on the pulse of what matters to consumers across a massive range of “subreddits.” Plus, Reddit is often the first social platform where users break stories, share viral content, and incubate new consumer trends. (For more, see our Guide to Reddit here.) 

Harnessing the full power of social data means looking beyond mainstream sites. To learn our top tips for determining which data sources to analyze – and see how to turn this data into insights you can use to answer business questions – watch the session on-demand here. If you’re ready to see it in action, you can also request a demo with our team here. 

The author(s)

  • Emma Huff Synthesio, Social Intelligence Analytics, USA

Consumer & Shopper