How Marketers Can Harness Consumer Insights from Social Data

A Giant Leap For Marketers

If you were writing a research paper chances are good you’d check in with Wikipedia a couple of times. Maybe 100 times. And if you what you found needed confirmation or more detail, it seems like every 10th word in a Wikipedia article is a link to another source or a different perspective. There’s always more to see. It’s shorthand for brilliant. It’s unthinkable to not use a resource like that. Welcome to modern consumer insights for marketers. It’s like the Wikipedia for your brand.

Brand Management Feeling the Heat

Managing a brand sounds like a pretty reasonable proposition. You develop guidelines for how your brand is presented to consumers and make sure these fundamental guard rails are understood and applied by the rest of your marketing team. If only it were that simple.

Anyone associated with brand management today has a very complex task on their hands. Every single touch point with your consumer has to be monitored and maintained with precision. And every time you go online there are more touch points than there were yesterday. Forums. Surveys. Comparisons. 10 bests. 10 worsts. Newsletters. Anyone who wants a megaphone has one.

It’s not as if people are out there gunning for your brand, but it is just too easy to get caught in the crossfire. And with an online community ready to pounce at the slightest mishap, the stakes are high. You may get a little love for a great campaign or a successful launch, but it’s more likely you’d get hammered if a consumer complaint goes viral. “Bad news travels half the way around the world before the truth gets its boots on” It’s rough out there.

In this post, we’ll go deep into how brand managers can use online conversations to gain a richer understanding of how a brand is perceived and what might be done to sustain or improve it.

What’s the difference? When you ask a question you normally have a selection of probable answers in mind and what you’re looking for is a ranking. Which of these probable answers is truer than the others. An insight is when the lights go on. You’re listening in on the global online conversation and discover things you weren’t even looking for.

Maybe you just launched three new flavored sparkling waters and you’re feverishly tracking which is the most popular flavor. You’re diligently following online resources and it turns out that all three flavors are doing well, but the actual conversation is about the new easier to use recyclable container. Surprise! How’s that for a branding insight?

A Brief Introduction to Online Insight Resources

Not every brand expert and not every marketing department has integrated online consumer insight research into their everyday toolbox. So before we talk about specific advantages for branding professionals we’d like to present you with some resources that cover the basics of online consumer insight. How it works and what it does well. The titles are self-explanatory and please review the ones that are most relevant to your situation. And don’t forget to come back!

Fundamentals of Social Media Analysis

AI-Powered Brand Analysis

Using online consumer conversations to track and quantify brand perception

What Are Consumer Insights?

AIPowered Audience Analysis

Listening to online conversations to better understand your audience’s demographics, interests and opinions

What is Social Campaign Analysis?

How to measure the impact of your campaign with online consumer conversations

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

There’s nothing artificial about its power to deliver consumer insights

Insights That Matters Most

There are three things that brand managers need to know to keep a brand healthy and growing strong. They need to know exactly what’s happening now. They need to know what’s likely to happen tomorrow. And they need fast access to the most relevant data. Online insight provides all three.

What’s Happening?

Current brand environment

Online consumer research is a remarkable way to take a current snapshot of your brand is being perceived in the marketplace. The resources are virtually unlimited. Posts. Surveys. Images. Newsletters. Online publications. Social messaging. It’s an unheard amount of research material. Calling it a sample is like calling the solar system a grain of sand. So by using artificial intelligence and a smart set of inquiries, here is the kind of insight you can expect

  • Share of Voice. Considering all of your competitive brands, which is getting talked about the most.
  • Sentiment. In all of the mentions and conversations about your brand, what do the likes and dislikes look like?
  • Campaign Analysis. If you’re running a fresh campaign or testing messaging, find out immediately if it’s cutting through and being understood.

What’s going to happen?

Consumer trends

You’re right, it’s not a crystal ball, but online consumer insight is the closest we’ve ever been to getting the future in focus. In the online universe, people aren’t shy. In fact, they are dying to speak up and tell you what they like and don’t like. What’s interesting about trend analysis online is that it can be as broad or as narrow as you like.

For instance, you can stretch out way beyond the boundaries of your own brand and find out what people are saying about midsize sedans. If you’re Chevy, you want to know this. What does the online conversation have to say? Are these cars too boring? Are they too small? Is price or fuel efficiency more important in the buying decision?

If you combine this information with your own proprietary studies there’s a very good chance you will get a jump on the competition.

How Do We Know?

Instant access to insights

The availability of online insight is not dependent on scheduling and analyzing surveys or organizing traditional market research. It is a fast-moving river of popular messaging that never stops. 24/7. The information available grows exponentially. All you need to do is decide exactly when to take a dip. Design your inquiry as you see fit.

A snapshot of the current conversation or ongoing trend analysis, whichever you choose, the results are based on real conversations and real published data. And they are available almost instantly. Once you’ve designed your study, you find out what you need to know faster than any other research technique has ever been able to offer.

And how do we know how accurate this is? The main reason is that we’re not really asking anyone, anything. In more formal research settings consumers are answering questions or responding to various material. There is a great deal of research showing that the answers gathered in this somewhat ‘unnatural’, ‘asking’ environment are often biased by group dynamics or survey anomalies. Online insight is the examination of what people have actually said or written voluntarily. In their own words. In their own time. Unsolicited in any way. There’s more truth there.

Online Insight Empowering the Brand.

For a great perspective, we highly recommend a piece called The Brand’s Guide To Modern Consumer Insights.

The use of online consumer insight represents the marketers response to the internet itself. Obviously, communication and the availability of information has changed forever. And now, so has the brand managers ability to put this immense amount of information to work.

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