Ahead of the Social Intelligence Summit: Spotlight on Toby Potter, DataSift

Posted by: in Analytics, Communication, Communication Strategy, Content, Healthcare Insights, Innovation, Insights, Marketing Insights, Organizational Communications, Pre-Commerce, Social Commerce, Social Media Insights & Trends, Thought Leadership, W2O Group on October 6, 2014

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With only a few days to go until the Social Intelligence Summit this Wednesday, 8 October at London City Hall, the team at W2O Group are looking forward to engaging a panel of thought leaders and social media experts in a vibrant conversation on the evolving social landscape.

One such thought leader joining us is Toby Potter, Regional VP of Sales, EMEA for DataSift. As a leader at DataSift, a company focused on producing state-of-the-art data-filtering technology and driving innovation in Big Data, Toby brings a unique perspective on how organisations can actually make data integral to their planning and decision-making processes.

As a warm-up to the main event, check out Toby’s insightful answers when asked about the current state of social intelligence and where we are headed:


How is social intelligence driving decision making at DataSift?

Given our business and the data we have available, it’s at the heart of everything we do. We are able to mine through the world’s social conversations and support our customer’s decision making through new methods of looking at the data, but also to inform our focus as a business. Understanding our customers, competitors and broader market from social inform key decisions across our business.

What other brands, in any sector, do you consider to be truly social businesses?

I don’t think any brands have really cracked the code here. It’s still early days and many companies are doing really well in certain areas – the focus being on consumer engagement: Greggs with their recent “Google issue” reacted and engaged brilliantly, but I wonder what insight they gained from it; other organisations such as O2 have been seen to do fantastically in the area of supporting their customers. When organisations routinely join up their customer (and other) information with social information is when we’ll see truly social businesses come to the forefront.

What are some of the missed opportunities for brands not harnessing social insights?

A lot of organisations focus on 2 areas: what is being said about their brand (and by whom), and the sentiment around it. Social allows you to monitor the wider market – your competitors, innovative uses of your product and how people are engaging, for example.

The more advanced organisations are moving beyond sentiment and looking at intent, emotion and context. This is harder to do, but the returns are significant. It drives better communication and engagement delivering greater customer satisfaction; messages and marketing are more relevant and timely delivering better sales; and the gathering of data allows organisations to monitor and measure their performance over time, learning from the past and driving positive change in their business.

What social intelligence, or content trends are you observing now, or do you anticipate emerging in 2015?

I’ve already described the push towards more integrated data and a deeper understanding of the meaning within social data. This will be a big driver in 2015.

With the continued growth of corporate social and collaboration platforms, I see social intelligence techniques also being applied to the workplace. It’s a careful balance, as it is with public social data, but I see organisations listening more closely to their employees, understanding how the business can improve – better training, supply chain issues, stock problems in store, etc. – to the benefit of all stakeholders in the business.

How can social intelligence help organisations better identify and reach audiences in different regions or markets?

There is inherent risk in moving into new markets, whether regionally or with a new product offering. This is heightened as there is limited data available about that market – you’ve never sold Widget X before or traded in a particular region. Social data provides a great insight into the language, the behaviour, the nuances and the needs of a market or audience.

Gathering together conversations, news, blogs and other open information allows for a rich analysis of the competitive landscape before a significant investment is made. It also lays the groundwork for social engagement by understanding your target audience, the language they use and how they like to be communicated with.

A recent example where a company decided to launch mobile apps to their audience to engage them around a football tournament demonstrates this. The European organisation created apps for both Apple and Android devices, but noticed lower than expected engagement. A simple analysis following the tournament, found that the majority of their target audience (>60%) in the region they were targeting used Blackberry devices and an opportunity was lost.

What are your personal social platforms of choice, and why?

I love Twitter for its simplicity and instant emotion. Facebook is where my family and friends are so it’s a great way to share and communicate. I’m increasingly drawn to Tumblr where I like the blend of blog/sharing/community.

Pre-Commerce Check out W2O Group President Bob Pearson's new book, Pre-Commerce, in which he shares ideas for leaders to engage directly with customers to shape their brand and marketplace success. Now available for order on Amazon.com! http://amzn.to/bAmvFN. Join the conversation #precommerce.

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