Career
Interviews

Intelligence People: Tanya Bogdanova of Storyful

This week, we sit down with Tanya Bogdanova, Insight and Intelligence Manager at Storyful to hear her journey and thought on social intelligence.

When did you first become involved in the ‘social intelligence’ sector?  

Probably in my previous role when I was working for a communications agency. I was hired to lead the digital strategy across a variety of digital marketing channels and platforms. But when you’re trying to engage niche audiences online, the research behind a marketing campaign needs to be the backbone of the campaign and should inform every decision you make.

I managed to shoehorn myself into working with the research and strategy teams, and learnt how they pull data from different sources, clean it, and manipulate it to pull out the key insights. I found that very exciting – and met some inspiring people along the way.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I grew up in Latvia during the 90’s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I remember having a happy childhood, but I think my parents recognised that the outlook, had we stayed in Latvia, was uncertain.

After moving to the UK and going to an all-girls school in Kent, I realised that I was hugely passionate about psychology. The ability to explain social influence using scientific methods made me realise how far-reaching the application of this field was. 

Generally, I would argue that people can aspire to be many, often contradictory, things. We live longer, we change jobs more often, and we have a deep desire to feel fulfilled – and why on earth not?

What, in your opinion, are the key benefits of social data analysis for organisations?

I would say, the three main benefits for organisations are, staying ahead of the curve, understanding your competition, and continuing to innovate. 

What aspects of your work do you most enjoy? 

That rare moment of clarity when you find a piece of information that you know will be useful and interesting to your client. In the moment, the chaos and mess is destabilising and frustrating, but that feeling when something finally comes together is totally worth it.

  • What are the biggest challenges in your day-to-day work?

Social media platforms continually closing off access to areas of their platform, in turn impacting what we can promise our clients (especially frustrating when this happens mid project!)

Another is getting buy-in from clients who don’t fully understand the potential of social intelligence and how it can be leveraged to inform everything from strategy, to creative, to communication. 

The last one is translating insights into actionable next steps. It’s one thing to provide a report outlining activity on social, it’s another thing to go to a senior stakeholder and say: “you will be missing out on business, unless you do X, Y and Z.”

Are you worried about regulatory restrictions impacting on your work in the future?

Working in this industry, you have to recognise that the legislative nature of what we do is always changing. The issues which Elizabeth Denham and her team at the ICO have brought to the fore are valid and important to address. The only real way I think you can manage this is by being aware of upcoming legal changes, and always trying to plan ahead.

  • Which social data analysis tools do you use? Do you have a favourite?

I have favourite tools, but I also like trying new ones. We have access to some cutting edge proprietary tools, but when it comes to “off the shelf” solutions I would say: Brandwatch for collecting data, Similarweb for web traffic and Quid for NLP & data visualisation. Ultimately, it depends on the task at hand: tools used for bot identification will naturally work differently to tools which aid content discovery. 

Do you think the ‘social intelligence’ community needs its own professional body?

If it encourages communication, educates its members and promotes quality standards across the board, then absolutely!

Name a book you would recommend to others.

Anything by Michael Gladwell, particularly “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.”  He has a rare talent for writing about science in a way that engages people rather than turns them off. 

Name a social account that everyone should follow.

It depends what you’re into. I enjoy anything meme related. 

  • Which person, living or dead, would you most like to follow you on social?

I’ve only recently discovered how badass Ada Lovelace was. A Victorian computing visionary, and frequently described as being the first computer programmer. Her father was also the famous poet, Lord Byron. Bet they had some interesting dinner-time chats…


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Jillian Ney
Jillian Ney
I'm the founder of The Social Intelligence Lab. I champion the growth of the social intelligence industry by helping the professionals and businesses working in it to access best practice, accredited training and peer networking. After working in the industry for 12 years I believe social intelligence should become a recognised discipline - and, I'm working towards making that a reality. More content by

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