As social media evolves, and continues to generate vast amounts of data, the question is no longer, “Should I be collecting this material?” but rather, “How can I turn it into valuable insights for my brand, company, or product?” Consumers share opinions, experiences and preferences online on a daily basis. Are you listening to what they have to say?

Social listening can have a variety of useful applications for brands:

  • Customer service
  • Understanding brand health
  • Source of relationship building
  • Inspiration from real customers
  • Competitive benchmarking
  • Evaluating campaigns
  • Understanding when, why and how your customers make purchasing decisions

There are thousands of fantastic social listening tools to choose from to implement any of the above applications. However, most companies still struggle to anticipate what their most valued customers will do next.

It is crucial to understand the context around individuals posting about your product or brand and to always keep in mind who your key demographic is. Companies must put in place effective strategies and clearly defined goals for managing social listening and data analyzation to create valuable insight.

Social Listening

Image Source: Crimson Hexagon

There have been some exciting developments in the world of social media listening and insight recently; here are a few highlights!

In a continued push for privacy, Facebook shut down access to hashtags through their API. Services which plug into the social network are no longer able to access hashtag data and statistics, and third-party tools are no longer able to provide public content from Facebook via hashtags at all through the API. However, Facebook will provide audience data for marketer insights through Topic Data, exclusively working with DataSift to pull in data from posts on the social network anonymously. Third-party tools are beginning to work with DataSift to bring this functionality to their own platforms as well.

DataSift’s method has smoothed the ongoing complications of searching through private posts by the more than 1.5 billion active users on Facebook. While respecting privacy, DataSift pulls in public and private posts from Facebook enabling companies to analyze everything that is being shared. Private posts on Facebook are now accessible by brands, anonymously, but this has opened up a new world of more accurate social listening.

Twitter recently announced the development of a new API that will allow brands to access every tweet ever! Thats more than 500 billion tweets over nine years! This development will exponentially increase the ability to analyze conversations on the platform.

Tumblr’s latest deal with software firm Crimson Hexagon gives the firm real-time data from the site’s more than 24 million blogs and gives brands a live view on standard information such as popular topics, brand mentions and brand sentiment.

Sentiment analysis is also a huge part of social media monitoring. While every platform seems to have a different method of categorizing sentiment, we can agree its important to know more than just the number of conversations about your brand or industry. For effective listening we also need to understand how people are interpreting messaging and in what context they’re talking about various topics.

Do you know how consumers interpret your online messaging? IBM wants you to be able to tell how your tone comes across in written communications. Recently, Big Blue unveiled Watson Tone Analyzer, you can test the demo out here!

Social data from customer conversations online provides brand, product and consumer insights that can be applied to everyday business and marketing decisions. Social media is a source of rich, real-time data, so get your customers and market talking! You might find your customers know more about your brand or product than you think.

The Motherhood is deeply tapped into moms online. For The Motherhood, data is human and data informs all we do. We pay close attention, listen to, aggregate and analyze what moms are saying, what engages them, what they care about, how and when they share, how and what they buy and the actions they take. We can learn so much from moms online by simply listening.

Do you have a strategy in place to analyze the boundless amount of information about your brand and industry available on social media?