A guide to social listening for brands

Our guest author Nigel Choo says social listening leads to consumer insights, which helps brands ask important, better questions.

Social listening in 2022 has become a more sophisticated practice, and its use cases have moved beyond the better-known aspects of brand safety and public relations measurement. With the right social listening technology, brands today have unparalleled access to analytics spanning consumer conversations in print, TV, online and social media.

Social data is proving to be a source of consumer and category insights that leading brands leverage to fuel brand innovation and prepare for the future.

Gone are the days when brands had the luxury of simply reacting. An advanced social listening strategy can and should be an essential part of a brand’s proactive, even predictive strategies.

Here are some best practices brands can use. This tutorial takes the nascent category of “plant-based foods” as an example.

Stay on top of consumer trends that travel

A west to east journey of the plant-based food conversation is illustrated in this map, via the Talkwalker platform.

During the period of the COVID pandemic, our world, under various states of confinement, has proven the essential nature of the Internet without borders, as a means of transmitting critical information, enabling contactless orders and deliveries. , and also facilitating entertainment. By becoming hyper-connected, consumers have also proven how online media and social media have helped accelerate the journey of consumer trends.

The plant-based food category was one such topic that gained a lot of traction over the past year, with at least 870,000 “plant-related” results recorded in online conversations in the Asia region. -Peaceful.

When mapped across geographic regions, we were able to identify an early west-to-east journey of the plant-based food conversation. However, what was once a one-way flow of information has now become an extremely engaging two-way dialogue.

This digital “Silk Road” of travel trends has created many opportunities for traditional Indian herbal cultures to travel globally through independent consumers and advocates. Take, for example, @BeExtraVegant – a YouTube channel created by France-based physics PhD student Anjali, whose Indian vegan recipes have garnered huge internet following.

Leverage the power of UGC

Talkwalker's project has identified more than 50,000 recipes related to plant-based diets, which have been contributed by social media users.

Talkwalker’s project has identified more than 50,000 recipes related to plant-based diets, which have been contributed by social media users.

UGC (user-generated content) has hypergrowth potential, which is why it’s paramount for brands and marketers to pay attention to its power. And that’s relevant for content generated by employees, consumers, influencers, and even brand partners.

When choosing your influencers or launching a UGC campaign, the focus of tracking and selecting a target should be on the quality of the conversation and the ambassador, in addition to the usual quantity metrics. – likes, shares and engagements. Influencers within the same tier (following) can vary widely, in terms of levels of engagement, and conversation topics also have different “travel” potentials.

A solid social listening strategy can help you study past and present conversation trends, to ensure your sponsorship and storytelling strategy is optimized for growth.

Plant stories that last a “lifetime”

Insights from existing stories and storytellers that have gained traction can give your brand much-needed fuel for consumer awareness, consideration, and conversion. In an example from our investigation of plant-based food stories, we saw in a virality map how a Guardian article found itself in constant circulation across countries and different mediums for no less than six months .

The mileage that can be squeezed from a well-crafted story, like the example cited in the Guardian, is the fantasy of every PR professional and brand manager. And, with the wealth of social data available for each brand, you won’t need an additional business module to investigate some of these past successes – because the data visualizations and real-time reports speak for themselves. .

Consumer insights keep brand love alive

Through Talkwalker's social listening analysis, it became clear that one of the main motivations for consumer advocacy of plant-based diets was the issue of animal welfare.

Through Talkwalker’s social listening analysis, it became clear that one of the main motivations for consumer advocacy of plant-based diets was the issue of animal welfare.

Our end goal is to leverage social listening to uncover patterns and connections that point to the consumer’s golden “why”. For plant-based food consumers, one of the three key “Why” themes that was identified was consumer concern for animal welfare. This echoes a widespread consumer trend we’ve seen lately, in terms of shifting consumer concerns from “me” to “we.”

Both in India and across the world, social awareness (even if it ends up being self-awareness) has rapidly entered the mix of considerations for consumer buying decisions across all categories.

However, it is essential that marketers know precisely how this social conscience translates into the expectations of their brands. What does it really mean for a fashion or food brand to become more sustainable? Where should a brand’s sustainability strategies begin and where should they land?

The beauty of leveraging social listening to get closer to your consumer is that it becomes an ongoing conversation. For every business question, the technologies available to marketers today ensure that there is a way to interrogate internal and external consumer data, and even draw important correlations.

An advanced social listening practice results in consumer insights that help brands ask important, better questions – paving the way for the boldness and creativity that fuel innovation for ready-to-go brands. ‘coming.

(Nigel Choo is APAC Marketing Manager at Talkwalker)

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