Beyond demographics like age, ethnicity and geography, there’s a world of data that can be parsed for insight into what makes your specific consumers tick. And the more you dig, the more you’ll discover new audiences for your brand – in the least likely of places.

Consider a brand like Nike. What do you think of first? Fitness? Athleticism? Motivation or inspiration – thanks to the popularly coined, “Just do it?” How far down that expected audience list would you go before getting to “beauty?” Would that even MAKE the list? Probably not. But it should. Nike figured prominently in our recently published Beauty and Skincare report.

As our own CMO Pernille Bruun-Jensen reminds us, “Beauty is also defined by what we wear and how we feel.” And Nike has tapped into that emotion. How valuable for them to know this! Imagine the marketing campaigns that can happen from that bit of insight.

Understanding how consumers feel in relation to your brand is a big part of the social equation – one that many marketers and brands have yet to explore. But it’s actually more important than many other things they ARE tracking.

Consumers in the drivers’ seat

Consumers are now in control and drive the conversation, whether proclaiming their love for your brand, or complaining loudly in a very public forum when things go wrong.

If you look at the types of conversations that happen on social, and the types of things being shared, you can clearly see how emotion is the connective tissue across the board.

Take Millenials for example, we looked a sample of 100k of them to sort out what they “want, crave, eat, need, love, hate, drink, watch, etc” – but we didn’t stop there. Beyond understanding what this target market wanted, we also determined what specific language works best with them, where to connect with them and – most notably – adjacencies (with other unlikely markets, similar to the Nike/beauty connection) that would allow a business to break through the online noise.

Consumers are happy, hungry, angry, loving and hating everything – and posting about it. Social intelligence mining can uncover it, but brands need to make a concerted effort to sift through that emotional data to see where there’s common ground for connecting.

And just as the Nike example proves, your audience extends far beyond whatever your assumptions are.

Making deeper connections

So how do you discover these unlikely audiences? By listening to what consumers are saying on social – digging deeply enough to get past the surface stuff (like mentions) to get to the really good info, like:

Consumer feelings – Knowing if they love you or hate you lets you focus your efforts in the right way. We guide clients to focus on two aspects of consumer emotion: Net Sentiment (WHAT consumers are feeling) and Passion Intensity (how STRONG those feelings are).

Consumer interests – Connecting on a human level is important, and that means getting to know consumers so you can converse in an authentic way. Back to Millennials – they love to eat ice cream while watching your show? Or do they watch on their phones at the gym? You need to know, and talk to them about THAT; to think beyond your brand’s keywords and really interact.

Feelings about your competitors – Some of the biggest opportunities come when social users praise or complain about brand competitors. Why do they like your competitors, and how can you use those insights to make them like YOU instead? Or why do they hate your competitors, and how can you talk to them (authentically!) about how your brand can meet their needs? Unlocking those mysteries is essential.

Social media is an enormously important business tool, and the word “social” can’t be discounted in your approach. Marketers must come at brand messaging from a consumer-centric perspective – because that messaging will be amplified or panned depending on how consumers perceive it. Get the latest updates on social audience marketing.

Are you making sure every social interaction is authentic, human, and worthy of the love every brand craves? Reach out to learn how!

How well do you know your consumers in social? Learn how leading brands are tapping into social audiences by embracing the new normal in marketing.