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How to Boost B2B Impact with Social Listening and Intent Data

Marketers think about social marketing as a way to deliver core messages to our desired audience, using social networks. First, you create content tied to a specific campaign. Then, you try to get that content in front of the “right” people on different networks.

2017 Social Media Planning Template and Checklist

B2B marketers in particular see social as an awareness play in an inbound model. By posting strong, audience-relevant content on social consistently, and building an active community of followers, you attract prospects’ attention. Some of them will eventually become leads and customers. Social is great for applying content, generating net new leads, inquiries, and maybe even MQL’s.

Let’s flip the script!

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A more sophisticated perspective is to look at social media as a giant database of user intent that can help us get a holistic understanding of our buyers.

Buyers are busier than ever, and holding their attention is hard work. Buyers are bombarded with content and distractions—51% of professionals say they are almost at the breaking point with information overload. (Source: Lookbook IQ.)


As marketers, we need to be smarter and more informed when reaching out to prospects.

By tracking what people are talking about on social networks more broadly in your space and how people are engaging with your owned content on social, you can get a much broader understanding of your target audience—even at the individual lead or contact level. You can use these insights to create the right messaging and content to move your buyers through each stage of the buying journey.

You’re probably thinking, “Okay, great. But how do I go about doing that?”

We’ll walk you through the basics here. Scroll down to download the full guide.

First Thing’s First: What Is Intent Data?

We consulted our friends and experts at Socedo to learn about intent data.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of social intent data:

  1. Data generated through engagements with your owned digital properties and content
    1. Following your brand on social media channels and engaging with your Tweets, posts, and videos (i.e., shares, retweets, comments, and clicks on URLs).
    2. Sharing your content on dark social
Dark Social
An example of dark social communication.

2) Data generated through engagements with others in your space  

As people go to social networks to do research, they’re leaving behind data points that help you identify when someone is showing intent or interest in your product space.

If you knew the following things about the contacts in your marketing automation database, what would you do with this information?

  • The influencers your contacts are following or have just followed
  • The topics your contacts research most
  • The events, news, or keywords your contacts care most about  
  • Which competitors your contacts are following or have just followed

Social Listening and How to Do It Effectively

Make sure to listen to what your audience is sharing, including on private messaging apps. According to RadiumOne, 84% of consumers’ outbound sharing from publishers’ and marketers’ websites now takes place via private, dark social channels such as email and instant messaging.

Luckily, Content Share Tracking can help you answer questions like:

  • How much traffic, time-on-site, and page views came from social?
  • How much traffic came from each post in our latest campaign?
  • What’s the traffic breakdown between the URLs shared by my brand and those shared by visitors to my website?
  • Which channels do people use to share our content?
  • How do I create more conversions from our content?

Data Generated Through Engagements with Others in Your Space

Our friends at Socedo are experts at this. You can listen to relevant social media activities from the leads or contacts in your marketing automation database.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know who else your leads follow? This information will give you a mix of obvious influencers in your industry, but it will also reveal connections that you may not have realized existed.

Let’s not forget about keywords and hashtags mentioned, as these will tell you what topics your leads are researching even if they aren’t performing the research on your site.

Social intent data means you also aren’t limited to the keywords strictly associated with research. Event hashtags, industry topics, or other keywords could all indicate a good fit.


With social media data added to individual lead or contact records in your marketing automation database, you will be able to:

  • Understand the interests of your target audience to inform your content and campaigns
  • Identify windows of opportunities to engage with existing leads or contacts in your marketing automation database who have become dormant
  • Pass more Marketing Qualified Leads to your sales team or sales development team (SDR) through lead scoring
  • Alert your sales team to follow up with valuable leads when they are engaging with your brand or relevant topics in your space.

We get really specific with examples related to different use cases and how you can apply this in your organization. Download the full guide below to get all the details!

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How to Make Full-Funnel Impact with Social Media


Sidney Waterfall

I’m the Head of Demand Generation here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our full-funnel marketing strategy that focuses on driving awareness, generating demand, and promoting customer retention. Out side of work I enjoy golfing, hiking with my dog Riggins, red wine, and watching college football!

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