Insights into problems and opportunities in your competitive marketplace: a process

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Your entity owns an existing community of customers and stakeholders. OR, your entity wants to build such a community. In addition, a core aspect of your business model appears to be up-selling these stakeholders to a variety of solutions your organization also owns. The challenge before you is to refine this model where it currently functions and then expand the model across the world. The following document outlines the exact process to be performed by The Socializers for you in achieving this goal.

The most immediate action we can take for your organization: Audit and Analysis phases. The result of these phases will be:

1. Insights into problems and opportunities in your competitive marketplace AND in your current customer base.
2. Activation of further community building efforts, up-sell strategies and “how to make this thing run more efficiently” would emerge from these insights.


As an example, let us say that your goal is to up-sell 100% of the stakeholders in your communities into one of your alternative offerings. Our work would show you where this is not happening, why it is not happening and how to make it happen. In addition, we can work with you to realize this 100%.

As a second example, let us say your goal is to discover alternative opportunities for up-selling your current stakeholders and want an audit of their public conversations as part of a planning process. We would deliver to you a system for staying on top of “the conversation” in your communities. The insights from these conversations would point towards add’l up-sell opportunities.

An ideal sequence for discovering a community of influencers around a specific market niche and developing a related editorial calendar & media plan is as follows:

1. Gather the latest industry trade publications for your niche(s) and read these cover to cover. Discover these trade publications by interviewing a leader in the industry and through research.

2. Note down vendors, service providers, advertisers, authors, journalists, and products currently targeting your niche(s).

3. Look within these publications for a Top 100 list of companies, individuals and products/services (specifically targeting your niche(s), again).

4. Create a spreadsheet of these trade publications and Top 100 lists.

5. Discover the Twitter accounts of these Top 100 and other thought-leaders discovered in the trade publications. An easy way to do this is to type the name of the influencer + Twitter into Google. Or search in the Twitter search field. You can also go the websites of these entities and see if there is a Twitter link at the website.

6. Use a solution that delivers a spreadsheet of all followers of a specific Twitter user, such as Simply Measured or Social Bro. We will download the followers of every influencer we have identified in this initial research phase.

7. Use the Sort function in Excel to sort the list of followers by Klout or Kred.

8. Create a 2nd copy and sort by Listed.

9. Use the Filter function in Excel to further narrow these sheets by specific industry-related keywords within the Description (Bio) column.

10. Use the Filter function in Excel to narrow by Location.

11. Combine the filtered results from whatever setting is important to your research question from each sheet into one “Master” Excel workbook.

12. Rank the entities in this workbook by Klout/Kred AND by Listed to indicate global awareness and influence scoring.

13. Ideally, we will narrow this massive Master list to 1000 core influencers. Now, we will download the Simply Measured Klout Audience Analysis for every single one of these influencers (thought-leaders). Go through the exact same Sorting and Filtering process and combine into a second Master list (this will be much larger). Now we will have two concentric rings of influence we are able to connect to through content-marketing, direct-marketing or other selling strategies.

14. Take this work further by creating a data-set called “The Core List” in which we reveal core information for each of the 1000 core influencers: their bio from LinkedIn, all of their social links (find these through their Klout profile and further research, their top 100 influential followers within that specific market niche and their contact info (phone, email, address).

15. Now we are ready to study this core list and know who is leading the conversation in our market niche. Take the time we need to listen to each influencer and jot down observations on what they are saying and working on. Use a leading social monitoring tool, such as Brandwatch, Radian6 or Sysomos to augment your listening. Also, use SpotRight and Reunify technology to glean deep insight AND flesh out the very large prospect lists we develop.

16. Create a list of 10-20 questions for the top 1000 influencers in “The Core List” and send this to them via email. This is our focus group/survey for the market niche and will give you invaluable insight. (Ideally, we are looking for the key products, hooks and trends in what is guiding the stakeholders’ buying habits. We want to hook every single one of these stakeholders who HAVE NOT bought from us yet).

17. Create a two-page executive summary for leadership on our observations. Add, as an appendix, all of the data organized by location, relevant social links discovered via listening, and metrics/statistics for the industry. This report, if concisely written and properly documented using best-practice research techniques, will be THE most comprehensive ever done on social influencers guiding the buying choices of your niche(s). NOTE: numerous studies show that 70% of the buyer’s decision process is done through online and peer-to-peer research currently. We are studying what these stakeholders are looking at and where they are congregating…who is influencing them.

18. Upon discussing this report with leadership, create an Editorial Calendar with channel-specific ideas related to the industry. This Editorial Calendar ought to include specific marketing actions, online & offline channels for marketing and industry-specific publications in which to publish material.

19. In addition, create a Media Plan for targeting regions, online channels and audience sizes. This plan will inform our media spend.

20. Create ALL of the recommended content pieces (these content pieces are delivered into the social streams of our influencers and by direct contact on a daily and even hourly basis, so as to saturate our market with smart, insightful content “hooks”. We want to rule the content space. NOTE: many of these pieces will come through our brand ambassadors and influential allies).

21. Metrics on performance will be secured through online metric measurement tools.

22. Our success in the process above will inform how we utilize more sophisticated social graph technologies that we have access to. These technologies hover over complete national databases rich with data on our customer. We want to only use these tools AFTER performing the steps above so that our costs are kept down and so that efficiency is forefront.

Questions for Social Business Intelligence Software Providers

Do you own or are you building a social business intelligence platform? If so, I’m interested in your answers. Why? Because I have specific projects I am working on where a satisfactory answer to these questions will result in a sale for you and a win for my clients. Looking forward to your thoughts on these question, all purveyors of social business intelligence solutions.

If you are a social media monitoring solution, have you considered adding a social append function to your offering? Your customers want to see what people are saying about a brand or a market. AND they want to see EVERY bit of contact detail related to each of those commenters. We need blended solutions where the precision of Brandwatch filtering matches with the aspirations of Fliptop social append and is housed in the “nearly there” dashboard at Salesforce/Marketing Cloud.


1. Is your social append to emails automatic and 100% correct?

2. Conversely, is address, phone, and email append to social profiles automatic and 100% correct?

3. When will any social business intelligence solution find the social account associated with an email, append this account, and place the photo of the prospect automatically in the photo slot within the sCRM interface?

4. I want to upload just a single column of emails? Can your social business intelligence solution automatically find and append all other info (social profile, address, phone, social streams).

5. What is the future of Salesforce’s Jigsaw?

6. What do you think of Jive’s new StreamOnce? If you had the chance to use Gist prior to its sale to RIM, how would you compare StreamOnce to Gist?

7. What is the max upload of emails for append in your social business intelligence solution?

8. Is the upload of contacts confidential? How do I know that?

Research leads to freedom

FREEDOM: Many individuals want to break free from corporate walls, familial boundaries and cultural structures. This, in fact, is the story of progress and also of experiencing depth. There are many systems of thought that offer paths to freedom. If one considers the interior of his/her psyche as akin to a corporate structure, then we can go further with a few metaphors that may be of help in finding freedom. Before getting into this though, it is vital to know that freedom comes from taking 100% responsibility for one’s own actions within a given context. This singular truth is the key to freedom. The intelligence gathering process for business and government provides leadership with clarity, security and power. And the best kind of power emerges from individuals who have taken 100% responsibility for the process of discovery and subsequent strategy.

INTELLIGENCE IS MAINSTREAM NOW: For our current article, we will take the market intelligence community and its function as a means to discovering freedom via responsibility. Market intelligence used to be a rarified action, not frequently discussed amongst co-workers on your average coffee break. In fact, in many traditional settings this is still true. But there are many forward-thinking corporations, communities and individuals who understand the power of deep intelligence on any given topic or interest. The market intelligence (MI) process has actually become more widespread in the corporate world due to the advent of social media monitoring tools like Radian6, BrandWatch, Sysomos and PeopleBrowsr. Even very basic Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google searches provide the average man and woman a point of view previously unknown. For example, one may type keywords related to a specific interest into the search field at a social network and discover people nearby who share that interest. A new “in-the-flesh” experience becomes possible through such location-based searches related to an interest.

THE FIREFIGHTER AND FUTURIST: The advent of readily available intelligence brings humanity as a whole to an entirely new level of responsibility. Answers to most questions are at everyone’s fingertips. And this experience of responsibility translates into freedom for the corporation, the community and the individual. The process of going from a passive “bored at work” search for one’s passion to standing up from the chair and diving into a completely new life may be described as going from the “Firefighter” to the “Futurist”. To explain: the Firefighter is approaching an interest on an ad hoc basis, reacting to outside stimulus and “sitting at the station” waiting for an emergency. The Futurist is deeply engaged on both a global and local level, using intelligence to drive a process of rewarding, pro-active discovery. The Firefighter has no focus other than the emergency he reacts to…the Futurist is immersed in a broad, deep and future-oriented journey that draws in topics, people and places outside the immediately relevant environment. To be clear yet again on this comparison: the Futurist is creating the reality that the Firefighter often reacts to.

The Futurist has realized that reality may be defined ahead of the curve of fate or karma. While the consequences of an action take place within the boundaries of a specific world, the Futurist has moved on and discovered a completely novel experience, devoid of the content and context wherein the previous consequence was generated. He/she may then transform “the past” via valuable learnings, cultural understandings, and innovative approaches discovered “in the future”. A leading solution helping Futurists do this now is Recorded Future.

RESEARCH LEADS TO FREEDOM: The deepest importance of Market Intelligence has to do with creativity. When one discovers the complexion of an eco-system surrounding a specific interest, then he/she may tweak the elements of that eco-system and create what he/she wants. This is why researchers and business leaders must work hand-in-hand to shape our world. And this is also why it is inexcusable for any individual to say he/she cannot find a path to a dream. Even the simplest location-based search around an interest will place one in the company of others who have thrown themselves with passion into achieving very similar dreams to one’s own. Try this today, using the search fields in the various major social networks. Go deeper with social business intelligence tools.

A brief description of Social Business Intelligence

WHAT IS SOCIAL BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE: The basic concept behind the term “social intelligence” is to derive customer, competitive and market intelligence via data scanned in social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

THE NET RESULT OF A SOCIAL BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE PROJECT (WHAT YOU GET FROM A S.I. PROJECT): The value of a social intelligence project is manifold, including the following benefits:

• discovery of warm leads related to psychographics and demographics from a customer’s current database.

• discovery of current trends and developments in a market sector that could lead to product/service innovation.

• discovery of a competitor’s activities that may aid one’s sales efforts.

• discovery of what your customers talk about, leading to product/service innovation and changes in marketing/sales strategy/tactics.

• discovery of new regions where your product/service is being discussed and your competitors are making money.

• discovery of upcoming events where you could generate awareness and sales.

• discovery of new pools of customers in digital networks. You may not have been aware of these pools of customers and their interests.

• discovery of conversations that social marketers and community managers can enter and utilize for higher brand awareness and sales.

• discovery of vendors and employees via professional networks like LinkedIn or the European Women’s Professional Network.


WHO: Gathering social intelligence is best performed by someone trained in research. Although a great amount of data may be aggregated automatically during a social intelligence project, it takes a human being to segment and make sense of this data and create insights related to the data.

HOW: There are many tools used to gather social data. Some of the best are expensive and require additional training to master. One of the best ways for a novice to begin is to use Twitter and LinkedIn. After setting up accounts in both social properties, use the free tool Listorious to research lists of influencers surrounding specific keywords in Twitter. Be sure to sign up for an Executive Account in LinkedIn so you can use all of the features in the Advanced Search tool.

WHICH TOOLS: More advanced social intelligence tools include Radian6, Sysomos, BrandWatch, PeopleBrowsr, Crimson Hexagon, Recorded Future and Trackur. A comprehensive list of these and other social intelligence tools may be found here.

Discovering, Building and Growing Community: Challenge and Opportunity

CHALLENGES FOR COMMUNITY BUILDERS (from forward-thinking leaders):

I wonder what would happen – if we just stopped talking about the crisis (macro-economics) and simply started giving the best service ever to our customers (micro-economics) instead.
~Eleftherios Hatziioannou

Social psychology is more important than economics. ~Peter Economides

All cultures … have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works. ~Joseph Campbell

The role of purposeful storytelling is to unlock people’s emotions so they can connect to your story and brand. ~Peter Guber

The real opportunity is in reaching out to the dissatisifed, to those in search of something new. ~Seth Godin

DISCOVERING COMMUNITY: One of the most exciting realities of our time is swift connection via digital networks with others who share one’s passion, beliefs and interests. For individuals, such discovery of peers in the social networks often leads to connection in the flesh. Brands have worked for years with technology companies to develop truly amazing solutions for identifying and connecting with individuals, conversations, and existing communities oriented around specific interests. Leaders in the field include PeopleBrowsr, Radian6, BrandWatch and Converseon.

BUILDING COMMUNITY: Powerful communities are often built around dynamic leaders who balance hard-earned lessons in relationship with an appreciation for new knowledge. Increasingly, brand leaders are giving away power to customers – to tell stories, share suggestions, critique corporate leadership, and even design products/services. The result for many brands has been increased loyalty, positive word of mouth and trust. Here are examples of brands that truly demonstrate customer-centric community development in social networks via Lisa Braziel at Ignite (see examples). Two superior tech solutions for building community include Jive and Buddy Media.

NURTURING COMMUNITY: It takes people to truly grow and nurture a long-term community. In social networks, conversations are a major aspect of how people connect, whether in brief texting via Twitter or Facebook, or within long drawn-out comment threads on blogs. A successful brand has community managers on staff who love the brand, are personable, have common sense, understand social technologies and are pro-active in driving community growth. Content-marketing and curation are catch-prhases at this time in history related to growing online communities. Steve Rosenbaum, author of Curation Nation, is arguably the best resource on curation today. Some of the greatest community managers/social strategists in the industry include Amber Naslund, Eleftherios Hatziioannou, and Jeremiah Owyang.