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Social Media Analysis isn’t about winning a popularity contest, or making sure your latest ad campaign was well received – though both of those are appealing. For analytics to be worth the effort, they need to turn up actionable insights that propel your business forward – and that takes a little know-how and finesse. That’s what our new Social Media Analytics guide is all about.

This is Part 3 of our Complete Analytics Guide series. This series will form a comprehensive Social Media Analytics Guide, with in-depth discussions about the following facets in the coming weeks:

  1. What is Social Media Analytics  
  2. What is Social Media Monitoring?
  3. How to Analyze Social Media Analytics < Currently Viewing
  4. Competitor Analysis & Executive Reporting
  5. Customer Retention & Community Management
  6. Crisis Management & Response

Each section will explore how to use Social Media Analytics tools to achieve specific brand goals and maintain optimum brand health.

Start with Social Listening

It’s a good networking rule of thumb to listen more than you speak – and the rule applies to social media as well. When you do, you learn everything you could ever need to know about your audience – which is what allows you to say exactly the right thing when you do “speak.”

What are you listening for? Everything. Not just everything to do with your brand – but everything consumers care about.

This is a new way of approaching marketing, where psychographics – opinions, attitudes, and behaviors – trump demographics. Your audience expects everything to be about them now. Market to a segment of women aged 25-34 assuming they all have the same interests, and you’re not only turning off every woman who doesn’t fit into that mold, you’re likely not even addressing a huge chunk of your true audience.

Superficial factors won’t bring you closer to consumers. Which isn’t to say demographics are useless – they’re not. They’re just not the end-all-be-all. Demographics give you a starting point – that audience you assume you have. But when you delve into psychographic attributes you’re often surprised to discover your audience is more expansive than you realized.

The NetBase Social Media Best Practices Guide 2016: Food & Beverage offers a perfect example in Corona:

corona stats

Looking at the demographics tells you a fair amount about the Mexican beer’s audience – except how to reach them. What social consumers expect from brands is a personal touch – to be treated like individuals. The demographic information above doesn’t offer a lot to go on with regard to crafting that kind of messaging.

The psychographic data on the right, however, gives you a lot of specifics to work with. And if your audience is as diverse as the three musical artists Corona’s fans favor in their social posts, it’s even more important to have access to such details.

Once you have them, you can create segments to specifically target these social users with individualized messaging so they feel seen and special – not “marketed at.” You can create as many segments as it takes to engage all unique users within your overall audience. Then you can target other consumers outside your demographic niche who enjoy the same things – like Hot Cheetos, Madonna, and The Simpsons – talk to them about the things they most love, and build a relationship with them.

I second that emotion

And love is the operative word here – at least, as far as connecting positively with your audience. This isn’t about making small talk – it’s about deep bonding over shared passions, and social users have passion in spades.

In fact, emotions – big bold, volatile, passionate emotions – are the driving force behind everything social users share. If you don’t have a way to analyze all that shared sentiment, you can’t possibly know what matters most to the people you want to love your brand.

So as you’re monitoring conversations, you need to also know two things:

  • Whether consumers’ emotions are positive or negative (Net Sentiment)
  • How strong those emotions are (Passion Intensity)

When viewed through the lens of conversations about your brand, these combined metrics – measured on a scale from -100 to +100 – establish Brand Passion, a critical value in determining what actions you need to take next.

Looking for love in all the right places

But social conversations aren’t just about your brand, of course. You want to know about all the things consumers love and hate most passionately – from TV shows to restaurants to charitable organizations – so you can join the conversation without seeming like an intruder.

It’s trickier than it sounds – and next to impossible without Social Listening tools that can analyze and decipher the various modes of communication social users employ. We’re talking about sarcasm, slang, pop-culture references, Netspeak, emojis, and even images containing your logo.

Not accounting for any one of these social languages will skew your results. Not accounting for all of them is a death knell when you think about how often they comprise the entirety of social posts. If all you’re looking at is text, you are missing a lot.

The reason understanding emotions is so important is because assumptions can hurt you – especially if you go full steam ahead on a marketing campaign with the wrong focus. Ad agency Santy helps its clients avoid such errors by using NetBase to perform thorough Social Media Listening and Sentiment Analysis.

They did this for an airline client that wanted to provide a better customer experience for young business travelers. With Santy’s help, the airline discovered loyalty program benefits like priority waitlists, complimentary preferred seats, and waived baggage fees were not the perks this audience most craved. First class upgrades were the reward they were most passionate about.

With this information in hand, the airline was able to appropriately target this new audience, setting themselves up for long-term growth.


Channel your efforts

Knowing who your audience is, and what they love, doesn’t do you much good if you’re not talking to them on the channels where they are most active. It’s all well and good to decide Twitter is your best bet – but your social analytics may not bear that out.

This is why it’s important your Social Media Monitoring platform be able to monitoring multiple channels to uncover where exactly your audience is hanging out. Wherever your most passionate followers are, that’s where you need to be.

And it’s not just about being in the right place – it’s about being able to share the right content, which differs drastically from social network to social network. A marketing campaign featuring a series of pithy tweets isn’t any help if your target audience lives for creating and sharing gifs and memes on Tumblr.

Game of Thrones fan art is super popular on Tumblr

Game of Thrones fan art is super popular on Tumblr

Likewise if your customers aren’t into Snapchat, you don’t need to expend energy there until that changes. You’ll know by keeping tabs on all channels and seeing where your audience is posting and conversing most passionately. The beauty is, with real-time Social Listening, you can change course at a moment’s notice – whether mid-campaign, or whenever you see a shift in consumer preferences.

Nordstrom is a brand leveraging multiple channels smartly. Though their core audience is an older, well-off buyer, they also attract younger shoppers interested in trendy brands like Free People, Top Shop and Vince.

While researching our Social Media Best Practices Guide 2016: Retail Brands we learned the department store engages with customers on social more than any other of the 60 retail brands we analyzed. In the last year they authored more than 600K posts on the following channels:

  • Twitter – 2M+
  • Tumblr – 500K+
  • Facebook – 265K

And in a two-week period, social promotion for their Anniversary Sale sent Net Sentiment skyrocketing to 92%, with a perfect Brand Passion score of 100%.


Discover and create irresistible content

Successful brands win over their audiences with content so engaging they can’t help but interact and share. As with everything else, content must be audience-centric, and not simply overt – or even veiled – ads being pushed on an unwilling crowd.

Content is channel specific, but more importantly, it’s audience specific. If you’re paying attention to the content your audience is sharing and reacting to – as well as the intensity of emotions around that content – you can’t go wrong. Create content along the same lines, or even share whatever they’re sharing. Just give them what they want – and they’ll love you for it.

But don’t limit your analysis to your own brand or followers. It’s crucial to look beyond your own brand to see what competitors are sharing, and how consumers are responding. If it’s working for them, there’s a good chance it will work for you – and there’s no reason not to follow suit, or use their strategies as inspiration. Likewise, you have the opportunity to use Social Media Intelligence to learn from competitors’ mistakes – so don’t waste it.

We’ll talk more in-depth about Competitor Analysis & Executive Reporting in coming weeks, as well as other topics like Customer Retention & Community Management, and Crisis Management & Response – to round out our definitive Social Media Analytics Guide.

The takeaway in the meantime is this: All areas of Social Media Analytics bleed into one another, overlapping to provide a complete picture of brand health, and insights to apply to brand strategy.

You can’t know what kind of content resonates without knowing where your audience “lives” on social, and you can’t know that without knowing who they are, and what they’re passionate about. You can’t understand the emotions driving them without listening closely to their conversations beyond your brand, and you can’t do any of it without the proper tools to support your efforts. The reality is, not every tool is up to the task.

Then again, not every brand has the same needs. Wherever you are in your journey, prioritizing Social Media Analytics, using a personalized, consumer-centric approach, is the right move. You can always upgrade to more comprehensive tools when your business grows – we’re ready to help when that happens.

Want a one-on-one demo of our industry-recognized Social Media Analytics platform? Reach out!

NetBase Brand Passion Report 2016- Top 100 Global Brand Love List

Image from Pascual López


Competitor Analysis – Social Media Analytics Guide (Part 4)