The FBI recently posted a Request for Information (RFI) for a “social media application.” But, it was really a request for a social media monitoring application. Why? Because the FBI recognizes what many inbound marketers already know and many others are discovering: There’s gold in them thar social media data.
You can use the same social media monitoring attributes the FBI wants to use to catch bad guys to generate and nurture leads, identify hot spots (good and bad), and close more deals.
- Catch problems early – Social media, the Bureau says, is a “primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events. By monitoring the conversations about your brand and products in social cyberspace, you can discover problems before they mushroom into reputation-damaging situations. That’s what Crave America restaurants did using a tool from newBrandAnalytics. Monitoring the conversation about their new Sweet Heat cocktail, they quickly picked up consumers’ opinions that the drink was too hot and adjusted the recipe by giving bartenders the leeway to mix the drink per consumers’ personal tastes.
- Geo-location Capabilities - Social media have geolocation tools baked into the applications or devices delivering the applications. Using social media monitoring tools, such as the one in MarketMe Suite, you can identify geo-target opportunities or nip regional issues in the bud.
- Be a Fly-on-the-Wall - Using social media monitoring tools, you can candidly listen in on conversations the way Dell Computers will in its new Social Media Listening Command Center using tools from Radian6, something which the company claims has allowed them to convert one-third of critics into fans.
- Multiple Touchpoints - The FBI’s RFI is requesting the application allow users to search across myriad parameters. This will give them—and you—the ability to gain multidimensional views of your customers and prospects, allowing you to develop pinpoint offers based on people’s interests, actions, and opinions.
- Real-Time Rules - The dialogue in social media moves so quickly that any social media monitoring tool needs the capability to search, gather, and analyze the conversation in real time. The FBI will use it to detect serious threats to national security. You’ll use it to strike while the iron is hot and reach out to customers and prospects while you are top of mind. Tools like TwitSprout update stats hourly.
- Curation Counts - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, foursquare, Tumblr, and on and on. The number of posts, tweets, messages, and more in social media is in the gazillions. Choose a social media monitoring tool that can summarize data the way you need it in order to maximize the time you spend monitoring social media.
- Nothing Beats Social Media - The FBI’s research has determined that a “geospatial and analysis mapping application” (that’s Bureaus-speak for a social media monitoring tool) is “the best known solution for attaining and disseminating real time open source intelligence and improving… situational awareness.” And, situational awareness in real time is what every marketer needs to hunt down leads, act intelligently on them, and move them down the sales funnel.
- You Gotta Speak Tweet - One of the requirements in the FBI’s RFI includes providing a glossary of “Tweet lingo.” Twitter’s 140-character limit has spawned its own language. Tools like Klout can help marketers learn to speak and translate Tweet-speak to make the most of the conversations captured, maximizing leads found and nurtured.
- Flex Your Teamwork - A good social media monitoring tool provides the means for users to define the parameters of their monitoring, to easily create templates, and to quickly and easily share the information across your team.
- Improved Decision-Making – Social media monitoring tools, says the FBI, provide enhanced strategic, operational, and tactical information for improved decision-making. And, nothing improves your lead management ROI or your leads-to-sales ratio like improved decision-making.
Many of these tools, MarketMeSuite, Klout, Kred, to name a few, help you find the influencers shaping your brand’s reputation in the marketplace. To understand the importance of influencers, consider this: Your best customer, though they may shop with you every week for years on end, can’t hold a candle to the way your registers will ring if Lady Gaga came there once and decided to tweet about your awesome products. That’s what the FBI knows about social media and what you should know too.
The views and opinions in this post do not necessarily represent those of Marketing Pilgrim.
Jeanne Hopkins, VP of Marketing @ HubSpot and co-author of “Go Mobile”, the best-selling mobile marketing book on Amazon.com.