We’ve discovered two common practices in social media strategy: most companies receive some type of a social media data feed (monitoring), and most researchers have no idea what’s driving the conversation indicated by that data feed, leaving them unaware of the treasure of insights and opportunities that lie below the surface of this valuable research channel (listening).
Social media listening should, by now, be an indispensable research tool to you as an Insights professional, because it provides a vast quantity of unsolicited voice of the customer data that can be utilized to inform important business decisions. At Doyle, we chuckle at calling social media listening “the world’s largest focus group,” but there’s a terrific, simple and useful truth there. In fact, we tap those same trained anthropologic and analytic skills to proactively listen to and analyze your customers’ voices in social media—the sentiment, the context, the intent, the impact—that we use in webcam interviews and mobile journals and focus groups. In our analysis we carefully examine context-dependent opinions, implicit subjects, and implicit product features/issues since people communicate in a more familiar manner in social media. It’s powerful and revealing because, just like rich ethnographic interviews, we can see beyond what people say (capture) into what people mean by what they say (intent).
Three great applications for qualitative social media analysis that will help you make smarter business decisions:
FOUNDATION What language does your customer speak? Who does your customer perceive as competition, whether you do or not? Where and with whom is your customer talking about your category and your brand? What are they saying that is behind that brand decline or a spike in category sales?
Example: Young people increased usage of the same brand of rideshare after popular celebrities tweeted about their rides. Potential company response: free ride policy among select, relevant celebs may go a long way toward expanding the client’s brand awareness and usage!
IDENTIFICATION Who is your customer? What elements of the customer experience (CX) matters most? Who or what influences them? Investigating the real meaning or intent behind innocuous data feeds can better inform how your brand (or PR team) needs to respond. Exploring the domains they use, the forums on which they post, and learning who your customer is influenced by tells you a lot about who they are!
Example: A recent emergent trendline related to a rideshare topic revealed a “scared” sentiment echoed among consumers. Qualitative research revealed that it wasn’t aggressive or dangerous driving skills consumers were questioning in social media conversation, but rather, the aggressive personalities of the drivers, overstepping professional driver boundaries. To increase customer satisfaction, the more meaningful change in rideshare driver training is to include customer service and professional skill building, not just road tests.
DISCOVERY What are new uses for your product? Who are your unexpected users? What are customers’ compensating behaviors in their user experience (UX)? What are the emerging territories of future opportunity and growth? One client surfaced a new daypart for their center-of-plate food products that they had never considered before, adding an additional revenue stream. Another found a peculiar new niche adult audience for their collectibles that were originally targeted to youth. Yes, we dig far beyond the graphs, into the posts, to find those elusive and often surprising insights.
Example: Having your Uber or Lyft driver stop for food or drink is a rapidly growing trend that has led to innovative new services and marketing partnerships!
Our fresh eyes and “outsider” perspective often reveals stories in the data that our clients’ data feeds cannot expose without that qualitative lens.
Want to try it out? Give us a holler and Doyle Research will provide you—gratis!–with a qualitative peek into the social media buzz around your brand or category!
Sexy driving. An emerging trend? Who knew?