Social Media Intelligence- What Is It? Why Does It Matter? How To Use It?

Loknath Das

Social media monitoring and social media listening are widely used terms in social media marketing. The two activities form an integral part of all marketing processes. Likewise, social media intelligence has also gained momentum in the last few years. Thanks to the dynamic nature of the social media platforms and the ever-changing psyche of the audience, brands and businesses need more than just data.

Brand marketers still get confused between these three processes. It must be noted that monitoring, listening, and social media intelligence are all interconnected. Though these terms are often used interchangeably there is a difference between them.

In this blog, we will help you understand social media intelligence.

With social media monitoring, businesses could gather data about their social media presence. Monitoring helped businesses gauge how they are faring on social media platforms. Social media listening, on the other hand, allows brands and businesses to listen to the conversations surrounding them. This helps them understand how they are being perceived by the users.

Social media intelligence is a step ahead of these two. Let’s dig right in.

What is Social Media Intelligence?

When social media data is turned into actionable insights it is termed social media intelligence. The data obtained from monitoring and listening tools when used to frame effective strategies and content plans can be termed as social media intelligence or SMI. Marketers here need to extract meaningful data from different tools and implement them into their plans. The overall process of doing so is labelled as SMI. In simple terms, social media intelligence is all about acting upon the data obtained from different sources.

Significance of Social Media Intelligence

Marketing professionals are quite consistent when it comes to gathering data. The tools give them all sorts of reports that show them where they stand on different social media channels. But data collection is futile if it does not reflect in your strategies and plans. Simply comparing the number of likes, comments, and shares is not going to help you build a consistent and strong image on social media. With social media intelligence, you can make optimum use of the data gathered from these sources. Social media intelligence can help you with the following-

  • Assess your current performance on social media

The process of conducting social media intelligence will require you to monitor and listen into your brand conversations. This will give you a glimpse of how your brand is faring on different social media channels in real-time.

  • Gauge audience preferences

Social media monitoring and social media listening can give you data on how the audience is responding to your campaigns. However, with social media intelligence, you can gather the data and come to know what your audience prefers and analyse their behaviour on social media channels.

  • Find out what is threatening your brand reputation

The data gathering process often has cues related to factors that are badly affecting your brand reputation on digital platforms. With the help of social media intelligence, you can find out those points and act upon them promptly.

  • Helps you understand your competitors

Competition monitoring is also a part of social media monitoring. Social media intelligence helps you implement the findings of your competitors into marketing plans and strategies.

  • Helps you frame better strategies for the future

With actionable insights, it is easier to plan for your brand’s future strategies. The data will help you see where your brand lacks and needs improvement. This will lead you to plan better campaigns wrt audience selection, influencer selection, content creation and so on.

These are just a few basic points to help you understand the significance of social media intelligence. Now let’s proceed towards the process of conducting social media intelligence for your brand/business.

Steps To Conduct Social Media Intelligence

Step 1- Decide your data gathering sources

Social media intelligence gathering is a process in itself. Randomly collecting data will not only put you in a dilemma but will also drain your time and resources. The first step to conducting SMI is to decide the sources of your data gathering. Make sure you are equipped with the right social media analysis tools to get all the data and insights you need.

Step 2- Conduct social media monitoring

Once you have all your data gathering tools in place start by conducting a thorough social media monitoring. Social media monitoring is a process to gather data such as mentions, hashtags, reviews, and so on. The data will tell you about everything that is being said about your brand/business on social media channels.

Step 3- Conduct social media listening

After social media monitoring, you need to conduct a social media listening process to see what kind of conversations are being held about your brand/business. Additionally, you can also conduct social listening for your niche as a whole to then decode the trends in the SMI phase.

Step 4- Extract relevant data from the pool of data

The most crucial step is extracting relevant data from the large pool of data gathered. This needs to be done systematically so as to not miss any crucial information. Make sure you analyse all the details carefully and then discard irrelevant data. Try to categorise the data carefully as per the social media channels.

Step 5- Implement the data

The last and the most important step is implementing the data into your strategies and campaigns. Check the minute details in your data and you are likely to find something concrete that can be used to create effective strategies. For instance, with the help of audience data, you can choose a better audience base for your upcoming campaigns and so on. Likewise, you can make changes in your content strategies with the performance metrics.

These five simple steps will help you scale up your brand presence on social media in no time. Let’s take a look at some social media intelligence tools that can help you carry out the process smoothly.

List of Social Media Intelligence Tools 

  • Unbox Social

Unbox Social dashboard

Unbox Social is a tool that can help you with data gathering for social media intelligence. The tool has solutions for social media analytics and competition tracking. The two mentioned features will help you with in-depth insights into your brand presence on different social media platforms. Unbox Social caters to all the major social media platforms namely Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. The competition tracking solution of the tool allows you to analyse your industry competitors thoroughly. Get data for share of voice, audience, content performance, and lots more.

  • Pulsar


Pulsar is a tool that is dedicated to social media listening and audience intelligence. The tool helps you keep a track of real-time conversations and also allows you to detect trends. Additionally, Pulsar also helps you detect relevant influencers for your campaigns. The tool helps you frame effective campaigns because it tracks your competitors and measures your brand impact on social media channels.