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The Power of Social Insight for Agencies: Why Social Intelligence is Better Than Social Listening?

The Rise of Social Intelligence Tools

As an agency, gaining a competitive edge makes the key difference in such a fragile market, yet it depends on the outputs you produce for clients. But, there is a very important question that you need to continuously ask your team: “How?”.  We met many agencies, especially with their Strategy departments, and found out that the expectations of clients are ever-evolving, there’s time pressure when it comes to producing value, and there are a bunch of tools in the market that partially help. In fact, there’s still a lot of manual work. The better tools you have, the more value you can provide your clients especially when there’s time pressure on your team. Eventually, adapting the cutting-edge new technologies and tools to your system before anyone else will make your agency more effective and successful. 

Today, in this article, we will introduce you to social intelligence, a time-efficient way to boost creativity while generating a big idea for your clients. On top of that, it is a tool that will increase your effectiveness in the agency. But before moving on with the benefits, let’s clarify: Social listening and social intelligence are different concepts. Currently, you may perform social listening either manually or with a tool. However, social intelligence is the advanced form of social listening with extended features and capabilities. 

What is Social Listening?

Social listening is a way to track and monitor mentions and conversations related to your brand, product, or competitor on social media channels. It basically brings all of the data together and provides some keyword frequency results. Advanced social listening tools also provide the sentiment score, calculated with positive, negative, and neutral reviews. Social listening helps you keep up with your clients’ social media data to create general reports and measure the overall success of brands or products. 

What is Social Intelligence?

Social intelligence goes beyond tracking mentions and conversations. The strategic use of social, behavioral, and emotional signals in social data to gain helpful insights for your next creative idea. In addition to social listening features, social intelligence can contextualize the data provided. Social listening may give you the “What broadly?” but social intelligence is capable of showing you the “What specifically?” of a problem. You obtain more niche and specific insights in this case. You no longer need to dedicate time and employees to analyzing the social listening outputs. 

When it comes to the complexity of tools, social intelligence tools differ. There are tools designed for the use of Data Analysts/Scientists, and on the other hand, the tools designed for normal end-users. The complex ones provide a lot of tune-in capabilities, such as the choice of algorithms, parameters, and so on. However, the easy-to-use platforms do all of the technical stuff in the background, like magic happens. For the Marketing Agencies, the easy-to-use platforms can play a strategic role in their business. In this article, we are referring to these platforms.

Furthermore, social intelligence is capable of discovering the undiscovered in no time. For example, it took three clicks to find the following insight: The initial fee required for the NFT transactions is one of the major barriers to more people using it. (English lang TopicBoard, Turkish lang TopicBoard), and we learn this just by entering a keyword NFT and submit a TopicBoard create request on a social intelligence platform

Comparison Table

The table below shows how social intelligence differs from social listening in detail.

Social Intelligence Social Listening
Social intelligence covers various types of conversational data, not just social media data.
Social listening usually covers social media data.
Social intelligence tools have the capability to clean the noisy data, in result only the relevant information will be processed for further insights.
Social listening outputs are noisy, due to the nature of how humans produce unstructured data on the social media platforms
Social intelligence gives a deeper understanding of the target audiences with minimum effort.
Using social listening tools requires a minimum of 4 person-days of effort to understand consumer trends and expectations.
Social intelligence is majorly targeted to meet a goal.
Social listening collects many pieces of information that do not necessarily answer a specific question.
Social intelligence is linked to a key business outcome or question.
Social listening is linked to more general information collection.
The outcome from social intelligence is actionable insights that can be presented as a problem/solution.
The outcome from social listening is presented in the form of reports and quantitative information that rarely explains the whole story.
Social intelligence tools can notice trends and insights businesses wouldn’t have even thought of. (i.e., Social intelligence pick out the nitty-gritty on their own)
You must carefully pick and choose keywords that may reveal unique information on brands with social listening tools.

3 Benefits of Social Intelligence for Agencies

1. Save 4 Man-Days of Effort

You work with strict deadlines, and we understand how valuable the time is for your organization. Social listening output requires at least 4-days to be digested by a person. However, the automated approach of social intelligence will help you produce your next big idea by enabling you to reserve all your effort for creativity. 

Furthermore, social intelligence tools are not complex. Anyone who can send an email can also use social intelligence platforms. In these platforms, the AI algorithms come pre-trained or learn from data in real-time. This is a seamless experience, deep tech has been used behind the scenes. In these platforms, the users do not need to have any coding or data science skills. 

Social intelligence platforms come with extended features compared to listening platforms. Therefore, their price is relatively higher than the listening platforms. However, while evaluating the options, think in a value-based way:

  •   A social intelligence platform will help you find more specific insights that can help you impress new clients.
  •  A social intelligence platform will help you save 4-days of effort that can be used for more critical tasks.
  • A social intelligence platform will help you to understand trends when they are emerging. You will be one step ahead of your competitors.

2. Manage Crisis in a Proactive Way

40% of customers prefer to share news of a brand crisis over social media. The contents about the brand crisis have a snowball effect. Once it is posted, more and more people see, share, and comment about it. A huge hit to brand image and reputation. You have a great role in fixing the damaged brand image and reputation of clients in your portfolio. Especially if you are a social media agency or PR agency, management of such crises is under your control. So, your ultimate objective here is to detect and solve the crisis as soon as possible. But, how?

There is no doubt that manually reviewing every single day for every platform is impossible. A social intelligence platform keeps a continuous track of conversations over the selected channels and shows you the key conversation topics that lead to crises. Therefore, you can get alerted about the issue, even when 2 or 3 people talk about it, and prevent the snowball effect. In this way:

  •  Your clients will be more satisfied because you prevented a crisis.
  • You will strengthen the image of the client’s brand because 53% of users expect an immediate response to their problem.
  • You will make quick root-cause analysis and follow-up because social intelligence will directly contextualize the data collected. Moreover, it will help you to track how conversation context and sentiment scores change over time.



3. Become More Data-Driven

You have to convince and impress many people once you have a creative or strategic point to present. You would like to satisfy your clients’ needs. Your clients would like to satisfy their customers’ needs. So, real-time data from your clients’  internal sources or social media are great sources to support the ideas you will present. Who can deny the real needs of customers?  Especially, social intelligence organizes the data in a way that will make your presentations attention-getting and discussions stronger. So, what are the outcomes of a data-driven approach for your agency?

  • You can present qualitative (like conversation topics, hot terms, or top words used) and quantitative outputs (like sentiment score, time-based sentiment, or participation trends) provided by social intelligence.
  • PDF reports are boring, right? Using the cloud-based social intelligence platforms, you can have interactive dashboards to present and collaborate your ideas. 
  • You can make brainstorming sessions easier. Starting to a session with zero information is difficult, right? Having you can discuss more data-driven topics highlighted by social intelligence.
  • Analyzing big data helps you to cut your costs by 10%. You will not waste your resources on issues that will not benefit you. On top of that, social intelligence tools can analyze big data in an automated way. Imagine the time you will save.
  •  You can produce more successful campaigns for your clients because you know the trends and topics to influence the target audience. The most rewarding part of successful campaigns is the awards you will get. In this way, you can build a prestigious agency in the sector.

4. Keep Up With Trends

You are a trend-setter, but you also follow trends to keep your agency updated. Even when you are disturbing trends, you need to know what you are disturbing. A great example is 4129Grey’s award-winning advertising campaign called “Uncover the Shame” They disturb a conventional belief pattern with their advertising campaign. The result was positive.  

However, this requires great analysis. Pepsi’s “Jump In” campaign by Creators League Studio led to many oppositions in social media because it vitalizes police brutality. They failed to understand current trends that people are vulnerable about and were faced with many negative comments. So, how can a social intelligence platform help you to keep up with trends?

  • It gives you information about the trends when people started to talk about it, the most frequent words they use, and the sentiment score for this trend.
  •  It allows you to track the results of your campaign by showing how people talked about it; the most and least liked features of your campaign. Additionally, you can see how many people talked about it on social media channels.
  •  You can also follow the trends of your competitors. If you are curious about how audiences perceive a campaign, you can get help from social intelligence. In this way, you can analyze your upcoming campaign strategy.

Overall, using social intelligence platforms is a way to increase the effectiveness of your agencies by saving time, acting proactively, becoming more data-driven, and keeping up with trends. In contrast to social listening, social intelligence is a young concept that many agencies are unaware of. Your new competitive edge can be hidden in the insights you will discover with social intelligence.

Would you like to learn more about social intelligence platforms?

Start a Free Trial today to experience the benefits of a social intelligence platform or Book a personalized demo to learn more about how a social intelligence platform can benefit your agency.

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Sengul Enginsoy

Marketing Associate @Pivony

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