Most organizations that provide products and services to the public—and even those that don't—have at least some presence on social media. These social media profiles are primarily used as a marketing channel to reach certain audiences that may not be exposed to traditional marketing. In fact, many potential customers may never even see the organization's primary website, so an organization may put a lot of effort into their social media presence. Therefore, you may be able to gather a great deal of information concerning how the target does business.

Beyond the organization's profile, social media is also a rich resource for extracting data about individuals. Everyone from the C-suite to rank-and-file employees may have a presence on a number of social media sites. These individual profiles are often linked from the company's main profile, making it easier to perform reconnaissance on an organization's personnel structure. Likewise, an individual may have more than one profile in order to separate their professional life from their personal life. In either case, individual profiles may reveal much about an employee's interests, habits, behavior, relationships, and other PII.

Examples of common social media sites that may provide actionable intelligence include:

  • Twitter, which is used by many organizations to promote their products and services in short statements, as well as to provide casual customer service and to bolster brand loyalty and recognition.
  • Facebook, which is used for more in-depth marketing and may be more likely to include images, videos, and event scheduling.
  • LinkedIn, which is used primarily for networking opportunities and job searching.
  • YouTube, which is used to publish videos that market an organization's products, services, and/or brand.
  • Instagram, which is used to publish images that market an organization's products, services, and/or brand.
  • Reddit, which is often used to target marketing efforts toward specific communities.