Our top 6 ways to the most precious social insights

Matt Davis, Planner


Every day people and brands create millions of pieces of social content. And every post creates data, which – if we can harness it – offers one of the richest sources of insight on what people are saying, doing, thinking and planning.


The problem, of course, is that there’s a lot of junk out there as well as the good stuff. So what are the tricks that help us separate the social wheat from the chaff and tap the real nuggets of valuable insight?



1. Don’t just listen. Interrogate.


For many, social monitoring means tracking conversations that directly reference a brand, either with a formal tag or through a brand’s owned channel. However, true audience insight comes from prioritising and listening to the right conversations, and then deciphering these to uncover what users are actually saying, what terminology they use and what they care about. Carefully interrogating data leads to much more valuable results.



2. Track audience behaviour as well as opinion.


With social listening we can follow conversations and opinions but, perhaps more importantly, we can also gain consumer behavioural insights about purchase consideration and lifecycle, or emotional drivers of conversation. In the past this would have been available only through market research, with its expensive and time-consuming focus groups and surveys.


Similarly, mapping the purchase lifecycle from consideration to post-purchase advocacy also offers insights into consumer behaviour, as well as potential segmentation and targeting options.



3. Understand their wider world


While robust insights can emerge from conversations and behaviour (specifically through mentions), there is also value in exploring consumers’ affinities – that is, what they’re passionate about.


Our social listening platform allows us to identify individuals’ interests by looking at their posts, seeing who they follow and what they read online. Do they discuss home-cooking or extreme sports? Do they identify with Angela Merkel or Robbie Williams?


robbie williams and angela merkel


We can then see if they’re under- or over-indexed compared to the general social population or to a different set of social users (maybe a competitor’s, or a different target audience).



4. Find the people that matter the most


Social tools give us insights into an audience’s most influential and prolific posters, which can be useful for advocacy purposes or tracking behaviours or attitudes. It’s also possible to identify the most influential authors within a specific group, giving a more nuanced view of who holds sway with your audience.


Zoella, famous blogger and Youtube star

5. Identify and develop content that works


To create content that meaningfully connects with an audience, we need to understand them, which is where social insight can help.


One way that social insight can enrich content is by ensuring messages are used that correlate with how consumers view your products. Another may be by tracking resonating content, then pouncing on what’s popular.


Social listening can then be used to measure the response to campaigns, so we can test and learn from existing content and fine-tune future content.



6. Find the ‘why’ behind customer feelings

Automated sentiment analysis has been used in social data for years. However, while it has been improving – with the ability to detect sarcasm and false positives – it still has limited value.


Through example as opposed to keyword analysis, we can now measure bespoke categories that drive customer sentiment, rather than simply positive and negative words. This enables us to drive into the ‘why’ as opposed to the ‘what’. And with more human analysis, we can also track specific problems with products or services that could lead to actionable updates.



Get started with our Social Immersion Workshop


Using a creative and strategic approach to social listening, you can sift through the junk and discover valuable new audience insights. These insights can also be a starting point for a successful content and digital-media strategy.


We’ve developed a Social Immersion Workshop to help clients identify challenges, quick wins and ongoing social opportunities. If this sounds interesting to you or your customers, get in touch.