Social Fishing Rods: The W’s of Social Intelligence Gathering

The W’s of journalism can be a great starting point for asking questions in social intelligence projects. See below expansion of the W’s for social intel, business intel and general social media monitoring work.

Note that the trend in 2011 will be towards integrating “action buttons” WITHIN social intel panels so that community managers can take meaningful and potent action on real-time intelligence.

Another take on this is that actionable tools like BuddyMedia will integrate increasingly powerful business-related intelligence within their already robust metrics panels, informing pre-campaign strategic process and whole-campaign adjustments. Research.ly is an example of a tool where one receives real-time intelligence from social networks and can act on that intelligence using a Twitter posting field.

Punchy insights from real-time data will inform strategic thinking AND the functionality of “social action” buttons used by non-analytical/non-technical Community Managers. Social Intel Tools will merge with Social Management Tools.

▪ WHO:
•Who are your current followers? Who follows them? (GIST)
• How can I take all of my connections established using social media + my contact database, and visually map out a path from my organization to those individuals/companies that will be beneficial to our initiatives?  How can I clearly identify the connection paths, labeling what type of connection it is, and the role of the individuals? (PeopleMaps)
•Who is talking about your brand/product/services/employees? (Social Listening Tools)
•Would any of these individuals make good brand ambassadors, community managers, or customer advocates?
(WeFollow, PeerIndex, Klout, Listorious, Research.ly)
•Which of your current followers are already key influencers in your niche or a related vertical?
(WeFollow, PeerIndex, Klout, Listorious, TwitterGrader, Research.ly)
•Who influences them? And who influences those influencers?
(WeFollow, PeerIndex, Klout, Listorious)
•What Twitter lists are these influencers on or following?
(Listorious)
•How influential are those people in your niche?
(Klout)
•Which of these influencers receive tons of comments?
(ConvoTrack, Technorati, Listorious, CoComment, Backtype)
•Which have tons of followers?
(Listorious)
•Who are the top influencers for your niche?
(WeFollow, PeerIndex, Klout, Listorious)

▪ WHAT:
•What are your stakeholders/fans/allies saying about you?
•What questions are they asking? (Quora)
•What are customers feeling about your brand/product/services/employees?
(One of the world’s greatest experts in the field of discovering sentiment and feeling – Life Analytics)
•What reactions do these stakeholders/fans/allies have about your brand/product/services/employees?
•How can you engage your followers/key influencers beyond a passing mention of the brand/product/services/employees? (Consume Brian Solis and Seth Godin material).
• How can you engage your employees/team members in more effective collaboration and gain insight based on collaborative feedback? (Spigit, 37 Signals)
•What percentage of the conversations are positive, negative or neutral?
•What are the actions of “peers” or the circle of customers around the brand/product/service in social  networks?
•Are your customers/typical purchasers active in social networks? What is the ethos of their online culture?
•What are useful resources to research your brand/product/services/employees/vertical/niche? (Social Tools, Twitter Tools, The Journalist’s ToolBox, TwentyFeet, SproutSocial, Research.ly)
• What apps might provide access to my ideal followers/customers/fans/influencers? (AppData)

▪ WHERE:
•Where are your stakeholders/fans/allies located in social networks? (Flowtown, IntroMojo, GIST)
• Where do I stand in relation to my competitors in terms of traffic, share of voice, engagement? (Compete, Alexa, Klout)
•In which of the following are the conversations happening about your brand/product/services/employees?:
-Twitter (Listorious, Twitter Search, Twazzup, Topsy Search)
-Facebook page-threads, Facebook groups, Facebook Key Influencer wall-threads (Facebook Insights, All Facebook Page Leaderboards, Booshaka
-blog threads (Social Tools, CoComment, Backtype)
-forum threads (Social Tools, CoComment, Backtype, Board Reader)
-web communities (Joongel)
-top-of-mind comment threads (Board Reader, Social Tools, CoComment, Backtype)
-video comments/shares (YouTube Keyword Tool)
-photo comments/shares (Flickr Advanced Search)
-presentation comments/shares (Slideshare search window, Scribd search window)
-LinkedIn groups/comment-threads
-location-based networks (4sqSearch)
•Consider the relative merits/benefits of joining a well-followed conversation vs. creating one.

▪ WHEN:
•What time of day are people talking about you?
•What time of the week/month/year?
•Are the conversations event-driven?
•Are the conversations cyclical/seasonal?
•How do you keep the conversation going during the off-season/non-event times?

▪ WHY: (beware of analysis paralysis on this category!!)
•Why are there spikes in conversation around your brand/product/services/employees?
•What events occurred, what specific words were said, what personalities were involved?
•The answers to the above questions can inform the broader WHY question.
•Create the BIG picture with a Montage (FuseLabs Montage) or hashtag/@-sourced/RSS-sourced real-time publication like Paper.li. Publish all of your findings as a report. (How to Write and Publish an eBook).
• Leave where you are and begin something new. Learn how at Startup School, at Seth Godin and through Tim Ferriss.
• Stay where you are and make a change. Same as above + read Charlene Li’s Open Leadership book + Jeremiah Owyang’s Web Strategist blog.

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