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Selling the merits of social media analytics is easy enough – when things go right. If your social listening campaign efforts are less than desirable, here are some strategies to fix what’s not working.

1. Remember it’s never about your brand

Yes, you’ve got a message to get across, and you want to be sure consumers hear you loud and clear – but if it’s not a message they care about, there’s no point in broadcasting it. Consumer experience is everything now, and that includes the way you engage your audience on social. Whatever you share should have them in mind – and you can’t guess or make assumptions, you have to know.

That’s what social media listening tools are for.

Cuisinart excels at this, recognizing their audience loves recipe videos featuring their kitchen products. But they don’t just offer up videos willy-nilly. They use NetBase to continuously monitor the voice of the customer, along with their attitudes and behaviors. This lets them uncover new opportunities to deliver what their customers want – like Labor Day BBQ recipes.

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It makes a difference when you offer the right content at the right time – to the right audience segment. Which leads us to our next point…

2. Don’t treat everyone like one person (on one channel)

All your customers and prospects are unique individuals – so how can you possibly expect to reach them all with a singular message? You can’t. You’ve got to use social sentiment analysis to find like-minded audience segments, and offer personalized messaging crafted specifically for them. If consumers feel like their conversation with your brand is one-on-one, you’re doing something right.

Likewise, you can’t limit your efforts to a single channel. Your core audience may exist primarily on one social network, but once you start exploring psychographic segments – those based on attitudes and behaviors versus demographic similarities – you’ll find a larger audience spanning multiple age, location and gender brackets. And they’ll likely also span multiple social channels.

It may turn out you’ve been focusing on Twitter when the most passionate segment of your audience is active on Instagram. The approach of your campaign should vary from channel to channel, so this is an important insight.

And “passionate” isn’t just a colorful adjective – it’s the life’s blood of your social efforts.

3. Understand that passion is everything

Analyzing passion is how you’ll find the audience segments mentioned above, as well as how you’ll spot both influencers and detractors. All three are equally crucial to identify.

For audience segmentation

So how does passion factor in? Well, it tells you what matters most to consumers – giving you a road map for connecting with them. Use social media sentiment analysis to learn more about your audience, and what they have in common. You’re looking for interests that spark serious emotion. Just as you can’t forge a deep bond with someone over small talk, you can’t connect with your audience through superficial subjects.

You need to know what drives them, what hits them in the feelz, what makes them enraged. Use this information to find others who share the same sentiment, and now you have a segment you can speak to as individuals. Remember to account for slang, netspeak, and emojis for the most precise analytics.

For sourcing influencers

Those sharing the strongest positive sentiment for your brand and key topics are prime targets to serve as influencers. They don’t have to have a million followers to be effective – though that doesn’t hurt. Social is such a critical factor, brands are looking to social influencers over traditional celebrities to endorse their brands – even beyond the social realm. This isn’t about choosing someone famous for the sake of it – it’s about finding the right voice to speak for your brand.

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Hailey Baldwin for H&M

For identifying threats

It’s just as important to hone in on those with the strongest negative sentiment for your brand and key topics as well.

We’re not talking about the occasional hater or troll – those are people you are usually best to ignore. But you definitely don’t want to ignore anyone with a serious ax to grind, i.e., an irate customer complaining via social channels. Even small issues, left to fester, can erupt into full-blown disasters thanks to the viral nature of social. You must know what’s happening before things spin out of control.

4. Pay attention to “right now”

This is a good segue into the importance of following social conversations “right now.” When you’re aware of conversations, trending topics, and reputational threats in real-time, you have the opportunity to make changes in real-time as well.

Obviously this is a matter of brand survival when a crisis is brewing, but it also allows you to take advantage of trends as they unfold – which can be magical.

Even better, you can redirect a campaign headed for trouble, salvaging it before it’s too late. Just last week Crayola was quick on their feet after a mischievous fan leaked the shade of their retiring color a day before the planned announcement on National Crayon Day.

Crayola played along, claiming “Dandelion” – the retiring color – was just so excited he couldn’t wait to share the news. They shifted their plan slightly and released a YouTube video featuring Dandelion himself a day early as well. Their official unveiling from Times Square via Facebook Live continued as scheduled the following day.

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Crayola will have to closely monitor sentiment about this change, as not everyone is happy about it. But Dandelion was only added into the mix after the retirement of 8 colors back in 1990, and 4 other colors were swapped out in 2003, so if the brand puts the focus on building excitement for the new color reveal – and fan-voting for its name – later this summer, it should be fine.

5. Let the data lead you

Consumers really aren’t such a mystery – especially considering all they share on social feeds. What used to take extensive resources of time and money in surveys and focus groups is now there for the taking all the time – and for free.

Use social listening tools to find the data that matters – with a focus on customer experience management – and the actions you take will be meaningful, relevant, and strike a chord with your audience. Whatever happens, that’s always the right fix.

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Image from Jimmy Kortrijk

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