Twitter and other social media platforms revolutionized marketing and communications when it created a new way for brands to build relationships with customers. As more and more people turned to friends and influencers for recommendations, social media listening and monitoring tools gave communicators a way to keep their ear to the ground and get a sense for what the internet was saying about them.
Brands have used those insights to build a presence online that transcends the products and services they sell and to connect with customers in meaningful ways. Today, to meet increased customer expectations, brands are taking stances on social and political issues, they wear their values on their sleeves, and they have become very loud megaphones for causes and trends that can shift culture.
This has put brands in a vulnerable position.
Agenda-driven groups know that brands have to walk a tightrope in today’s divided consumer culture.
“Consumer research data show Democrats have become more likely to wear Levi’s than their Republican counterparts. The opposite is true with Wrangler, which is now far more popular with Republicans.”The Wall Street Journal
Groups with agendas often hijack brand narratives or coordinate to spread misinformation that confuses the public and creates problems for brands. These groups are incredibly social media savvy, their tactics range from blunt to sophisticated, but their objective is always the same — win the frame to control the narrative.
For communications, policy, and agency teams that are trying to simultaneously tell a brand story, differentiate themselves, sell products, connect with customers, build influencer and media relations, defend their reputation, safeguard their operations, and more…listening and monitoring social media tools are not enough.
Communications teams need social intelligence that:
1. Knows what goes on in fringe and dark web channels where the majority of narratives that reach viral status (and keep catching brands off guard) get their start. Social listening and monitoring tools focus on what is being said on mainstream channels, at which point it’s too late for your team to make a plan.
2. Identifies harmful narratives developing online, and can actually gauge the impact of those narratives on the brand. Traditional listening and monitoring tools have made us think that anything that’s trending at a high volume deserves attention and action by your marketing and communication teams. But volume is a lagging and potentially misleading metric that leaves you guessing who is spreading the narrative, whether it is authentic, its likely trajectory, and potential impact on your brand.
3. Understands if a post, conversation, or narrative online is authentic and spreading organically, or if there is manipulation behind it that is helping it spread. Social media listening and monitoring tools simply do not answer this question — in fact, they don’t understand this concept.
LEARN HOW SOCIAL INTELLIGENCE FILLS GAPS IN YOUR COMMUNICATIONS TECH STACK.