The title of this post is not merely a reason to paraphrase Frank Zappa; it illustrates the reality that occurs when organizations don’t take full advantage of social media monitoring tools to gain social intelligence. We’ve long advocated that monitoring and listening to social channels is the foundation of any social media strategy. Without at least a minimum understanding of how your customers, prospects, competitors and influencers use social media – and the sites they frequent – you’re at a definite disadvantage. With the availability of many free or low-cost monitoring tools, there is really no excuse not to employ some type of monitoring solution internally, even if you rely on an agency for listening. I guarantee that most of your competitors are doing social listening, regardless of how conservative or regulated you may believe your market to be.

But social media monitoring alone will do little beyond give you a lot of data that still requires some level of effort to uncover the gems within. Yes, many monitoring tools will provide you with brand metrics (such as reach, sentiment and share of voice), offer some comparison with competitors, identify detractors and perhaps even identify influencers. But too many organizations do nothing with the data they collect or the reports an agency may provide. Instead, think of a monitoring tool as your key conduit and repository for all types of social data. A social media monitoring tool may provide some structure and dashboards for this data, but does it provide analysis and insight to raise your level of social intelligence?

While more advance monitoring tools can provide some insights, be prepared to perform the analysis to discover, for example, how social messaging and content around a new offering resonate with different market segments, which influencers impact different stages of a buying cycle, what potential solution enhancement should be considered or rejected from your roadmap, which new markets are opportunities and what threats are present in existing ones and how partners are leveraging social media. Gaining social intelligence means digging deeper to capture more than just complaints. Are you prepared to roll up your sleeves?