Securing commercial advantage from social media, the new business intelligence channel

Social media has changed the world. Out of six billion people on the planet, almost five billion now have access to social media, enabling them to connect with each other and converse online. In total, social media users share 30 billion pieces of content – comments, opinions, information videos, podcasts, photographs – each month. Just 15 years ago, none of this existed.

Many businesses recognise that conversations taking place on social media might lead them to a better understanding of what customers think and want.  However, they struggle to make sense of the phenomenal number of online conversations taking place and to understand how social media can help them achieve commercial advantage.

To secure commercial advantage from social media, businesses must do more than just listen to social media conversations – they must apply expert analysis to understand the importance of what is being said and to create a new form of business intelligence.

Advanced technologies are available to help decipher themes, sentiments, meaning and intent from social media conversations but it requires human intelligence to translate this technical analysis into sustainable business strategies that deliver a distinct advantage and a tangible return on investment. This is the essence of PA's social intelligence service.

Social intelligence in action

Using business intelligence from social media data - or 'social intelligence' - we provide your business with real-time insight into your marketplace to show what you need to do to advance and stay ahead. This is demonstrated by our work with a leading health and beauty retailer who asked us to establish the best way to launch a new suncare product in the US. Our analysis showed that many people buy them not to prevent sunburn, but to guard against the ageing effects of the sun – this was radical insight in a market where suncare products are routinely promoted as preventing sunburn.

Social intelligence was also crucial to our work with a UK investment house seeking help in attracting investment from a tightly defined group of high-net-worth individuals.  We analysed and interpreted publicly available social media conversations to gain a clear insight into the group’s lifestyle and advise our client on the best channels to use to persuade the group to invest.

Using social media to understand your market better

Social intelligence can give your business better insight into your customers and markets. Our social intelligence experts have worked with clients to help them answer questions such as:

  • How do our competitors compare to us on service and engagement?
  • How can we reach our target market?
  • What do our customers want more of… that we don’t offer?
  • We’re about to invest heavily with a new supplier – what do their current customers think of their services?
  • How does the market view our company?

For each of these questions, we used business intelligence derived from social media to find the answer. We then developed long-term strategies to create distinct commercial advantage.

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