The article "Take Command of Your Data: Understanding Audience through Social Listening" on Social Media Week by Nicole Brown makes a strong statement that understanding needs and wants is paramount to giving the people what they want. She points out research managers should think through the objective of social listening before collecting and analyzing data. The article also proposes that research managers should understand what customers are saying about the brand and take timing, trend, preferences and moods into considerations.
Based on these two articles and insights gained from the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I have three actionable tips research managers should consider:
- Look beyond text. Link words and sentences to the comprehensive context in order to understand and act on the world of social media. You can glean much more useful information by integrating the text with other factors, such as channel, trend and timing. It is also effective to take a multi-phase approach – using both qualitative “listening” and quantitative “monitoring” elements.
- Don’t just focus on buzz sites. Understand the channels that your target customers are using and reasons why they use them, other than believing Twitter, Facebook, Google+ are the only players in the social media eco-system. Integrate customers’ opinions across channels to develop comprehensive picture of customer base.
- Apply the findings to your brand. Always end up with insights instead of research results. Interpret texts appropriately and make the process relevant to brands. Come up with suggestions on how to address customer concerns, encourage further feedback and adjust marketing campaigns.
Yimin Wang is an Integrated Marking Communications candidate at Northwestern University. Interested in marketing research and digital marketing, she is working on understanding consumers – their behaviors, attitudes, and tensions - in the digital, social and mobile context.
Contact her via Twitter and LinkedIn.