In the era of Big Data and digitized structures, much more information is readily available than ever before. Researchers are seeing a whole new world of opportunities unfold before them. One of the most instant and near-to-the-consumer sources of information is social media.
Social media has shifted the paradigm of how consumers share their voice and interact with brands. It is now time for analysts and researchers to also shift the way we analyse this data and seek for untapped opportunities that go beyond traditional use cases and applications. We now have the opportunity to stop asking questions and start listening passively, with an open mind and being empathetic with what consumers and society have to say.
These are some key aspects to consider when setting up your social insights strategy:
- Understand your market’s idiosyncrasy: Which digital platforms are most significantly used in your market by the different demographics and how can I tap into that data? Not all countries and age groups use social media the same way, for example, due to the Twitter’s limitation of characters and the average length of german words, Twitter is not widely used in Germany.
- Question your data sources: Identify your data sources and question their validity and purpose for your target group and topic of research. For example, don’t expect to find many insights around ‘Gen Z’ on Facebook or you might want to go to Instagram and not Twitter for consumption trend insights.
- Calibrate social media: Do not rely only on social media. Find other data sources that can help you calibrate you social findings periodically.
- Go qualitative: Sure, quantitative metrics are important and they help us compare and measure concepts such as share of voice however, these metrics are easily biased by bots, virality, etc. and very often lead us to the typical “and now what?” situations. Pay attention to the meaning of your data, search for patterns, sentiment analysis and analyse the pictures and videos to understand what consumers are really expressing. There is so much more behind the numbers!
- Listen ‘outside the box’: Diverge your questions and break down your hypotheses into more indirect ones that support them. For example: Is cucumber consumption increasing? You might also want to check for orbiting topics such as health & lifestyle, recipes or facial masks to find a more well-rounded answer. Get creative when it comes to hypothesising.
- Predict the future: We are very focused on analysing what consumers have said (in the past) but the larger opportunity lies in predicting what they will be saying in the future. Make use of Artificial Intelligence on social media and digital data to predict consumer behaviour and detect emerging trends.
There is a lot of data available out there and having the capability to capture it, understand it and analyse it will be key to your future insights strategy.