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Social Media Analytics to Navigate the Complexities of Brand Communications in 2022


It’s no longer enough to simply know how your brand is being discussed on social media. To truly be proactive, it’s imperative that organizations gain early access to conversations occurring elsewhere, including fringe social networks, to mitigate harmful narratives before they spread into the mainstream. 

Years ago, social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram revolutionized marketing and communications, creating a new way for brands to build relationships with customers. As an influx of 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 since 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 a stance 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 puts 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

Misinformation Begins Before Most Brands Are Even Aware Of It

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. 

Are Social Media Analytics Sophisticated Enough to Guide Brands Through Modern Complexities?

The challenge of most social media analytics tools is the simple fact that they only go so deep. By the time harmful narratives reach mainstream social platforms like Facebook, those seeds have been planted and growing on dark web channels for weeks or even months. Social intelligence helps to fill those gaps.  

3 Signs Your Brand Needs Social Intelligence vs. Social Monitoring/Listening

1. Your brand is constantly in reaction-mode

If it feels like your communications team is constantly playing a game of whack-a-mole, you’re likely not getting crucial entail regarding potentially harmful narratives soon enough. As communications teams well know, learning about a crisis incident too late changes the objective from preparedness and crisis planning to reactive mitigation.

2. You’ve already been burned by a harmful narrative

It only takes getting burned once to know you never want to experience it to that extent again. But there’s only so much a communications team can do on their own. Without the necessary social media analytics tools, you’ll always be working with one hand tied behind your back. 

3. Your brand is growing in popularity

As we’ve all seen in the past year, the beginning of the pandemic was a major game changer for many businesses. Although many experienced losses, others suddenly found their demand skyrocketing (think mask manufacturers and athleisure designers). If your brand has experienced unprecedented growth, it’s only a matter of time before you’re the target of bad actors looking to spread their agenda. Learn from the brands mentioned above and don’t wait until you’re burned. 

Non-Negotiables That Social Analytics Tools Absolutely Must Have in 2022

Whether you’re looking to make a change from the social media analytics tool you’re currently using or looking for additional insights, we recommend choosing a partner who has the following:

Online monitoring extends beyond mainstream platforms

Knowing what goes on in fringe and dark web channels (where the majority of narratives that reach viral status get their start) keeps brands from getting caught off guard. 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.

Predicts the impact of harmful narratives

It’s one thing to identify harmful narratives developing online, but it’s quite another to 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.

Recognizes malintent

A key factor in modern risk management is understanding 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.



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