Creating a marketing strategy that adds clear value to a business’ growth and development is essential, but, while this notion may seem obvious, marketers of even the highest calibre often struggle to build a fully-rounded, integrated plan tailored to their audiences’ needs.

Before sitting down to compile a strategy, we must consider who the customer is, what their behaviours are and, what trends we can spot across audience groups. This is where social intelligence (SI) comes into play, and is a hugely required skill among digital marketers.

Firstly, digital marketers need to be switched on to what’s going on around them and in the wider industry – trends and tools are constantly evolving, but it’s important to be able to cut through the noise and listen to what’s relevant to you and your business.

Social listening allows us to collect data about behaviour, trends and patterns so we can market more effectively. This will of course help us to create engaging content to boost brand awareness, but it also means that with the help of social intelligence tools like TalkWalker, we can track online conversations and what appeals to individuals.

This allows us to listen to – and even get involved with – relevant chat, among both industry peers and would-be customers. It also allows us to monitor for any potential crises and nip such problems in the bud.

What’s Everyone Else Up To?

Ensuring we’re listening to what our competitors are doing is an integral part of any marketing strategy. Before creating any piece of content, work on finding out what similar content is already out there , noting what topics work well, what tones of voice hit the spot with audiences and even what time of day a piece should be posted to drive the most engagement.

Looking at what competitors are doing allows us to tap into new audiences and influencers, learning what’s of interest to them and, importantly, how and where they’re consuming media.

When it comes to influencers, businesses can no longer afford to ignore their impact on both existing and potential customers. In short, an influencer is an expert or enthusiast who has built a strong following within their field, whether that’s fashion, cooking or music – the list is endless. At the very least, brands should make a concerted effort to research who the main players are in their sector and find out what they’re talking about and who engages with them.

Once you have a list, it’s then time to think about what value they could bring to your business – it could be as simple as getting involved and offering opinion on the subject at hand, or perhaps striking up a conversation about a recent blog they’ve written or relevant industry news. It may be that you later discuss formal partnerships that could require more budget and strategic thinking.

It’s Not What You Say; It’s How You Say It…

Gaining insight into what format readers – or viewers – engage with the most will allow you to appeal to more people and provide them with the information in the most easily digestible way. For instance, listicle-style articles may be appropriate for time-poor readers, while a short vlog with subtitles may work better for others.

Once we know which platforms our audiences are likely to be on and how they prefer to get their information, remarketing can then be worked into a strategy. We can use software like MailChimp to devise a set of automation tools that will trigger an email based on a goal or action of an online prospect; for example, a business can build remarketing lists by posting video content on Facebook and then targeting those who engaged with or watched that content.

 

While social intelligence can undoubtedly improve the overall marketing cycle and related areas, such as product development and customer experience, it’s also key for optimising the customer journey to drive reach, lead generation and conversion through targeted marketing.

An understanding of SI tools is also vital when carrying out a competitor analysis and creating bespoke algorithms to create the best possible customer experience. Marketing a service or product without social intelligence would result in an ineffective, costly campaign that lacks audience insight and brand perception.

Once an element of SI is put into place, marketers are able to plan and develop strategies based on real-time insight and trends, therefore boosting return on investment and contributing to that all-important bottom line.