Social Media has drastically affected the way we live our lives.
From relationships to personal health and hobbies – and our behaviour as consumers is no different.
We use social media on a daily basis to discover, share, praise and rant about brands. Yes, we may interact with their social media pages and competitions, but there’s a whole lot more we have to say outside of the pages they control – and most of it simply slips into the ether.
What can be done?
While most organisations hire people specifically to manage social media, in addition to investing budget into analytics tools that measure page popularity etc. – the ‘ether’, so to speak, is being left largely untapped.
The problem is that many social media managers are hired, trained and paid to get numbers. Numbers of likes, retweets, followers, page interactions and shares, the list goes on. Unfortunately this is all quantitative and not very insightful when it comes to how those consumers actually feel. In addition analytics are based on complex algorithms which can often be flawed.
What should be done?
But what if companies had access to the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’, something that could gain them entry into the insightful, honest customer conversations that were happening all around them, and not just on their pages?
It could mean being the first to know about everything from little gripes and nags to major issues and trends in consumer perception of your brand. Most importantly, that knowledge could be used to actually start talking to consumers in their language.
Ever heard of grounded theory?
Wikipedia describes it as a systematic methodology in the social sciences involving the discovery of theory through the analysis of data.
Basically it’s a reverse engineering of traditional research. Instead of using research to prove or disprove your theories, grounded theory extracts themes from collected data, and uncovers concepts which are used to inform the direction of research going forward.
Why is it so beneficial? Well, it allows you to see what’s out there and what’s being said before deciding on what your area of focus is for your research. Meaning that when you do eventually conduct more formal research, you are clued up on exactly what is top of mind for consumers.
Enter Social Listening
Social Listening is a new, qualitative approach to social media monitoring that pairs technology with human expertise in order to deliver insights rather than numbers.
We use specially purposed online software to track brand, industry and product names mentioned across the internet. The broader the key words, the more data will be returned.
We can then filter this data to represent specific countries allowing us to pick up on relevant consumer conversations outside of brand owned pages and sites.
Using this filtered data, our researchers start their qualitative analysis. They categorise and separate the comments and posts into themes which makes it possible to easily pick up on patterns and recurring messages.
Why is this so useful?
We are able to uncover and extract qualitative insights based on what people are actually saying about a brand, and what their perceptions are.
Remember, consumers aren’t driven by facts but rather by perception. This means that the sum of what they hear and think about your brand and products online, are far more important than what you’re currently telling them.
Because of the relatively low cost for conducting this type of research, as well as the fast turnaround times, it’s also a great option for conducting competitor research or as a precursor to any major research project.
To find out more about social listening, and its many benefits and uses, please contact us: