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Measuring the number of likes, mentions, and retweets is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to connecting with customers. If you truly want to turn your users into loyal brand advocates, you need to know the intentions behind their likes, desires behind their mentions, and feelings behind their retweets.

Social media listening tools that leverage psychographics and sentiment analysis allow your brand to hone in on the true nature of consumers’ needs. Rather than categorizing user demographics in broad, antiquated strokes – grouping people by vague attributes like age and gender – insights gleaned using these tools help your brand get to know consumers on a more sophisticated and personal level.

Embracing the idea of consumer as king is a change brands must make in their marketing approach, just as we’ve refined our social listening and analytics tools as the social landscape has changed.

In fact, NetBase was among the select companies that Forrester invited to participate in its 2016 Forrester Wave™ evaluation, Forrester Wave: Enterprise Social Listening Platforms, Q1 2016. Here’s what they had to say: “NetBase has shifted its business strategy to be fully customer-centric…. NetBase improved its platform significantly with analytics methodologies, enhanced reporting outputs, and better business integration partnerships and features.”

So how can your brand apply these tools to keep consumers happy while advancing your overall mission? Here are three best practices to apply:

1. Use sentiment for context

Look for not only who’s talking about your brand, but the meaning behind what’s being said. If you’re a health food company and you see that women between the ages of 25 and 35 are often using the keyword “kale,” that lets you know there’s an interest – but there’s no context. Using sentiment analysis takes you beyond simple keywords to discern context.

If the word “kale” is followed by “tastes horrible” or “makes my smoothies gross” that’s easy enough. But what if someone tweets “Kale is soooo yummy!” – but then adds hashtags #Gross and #SaveMe? They’re clearly being sarcastic, and searching only on the word “kale” won’t let you know their feelings are negative.

And you need to know, to prevent you from losing customers with well-intentioned, but misguided, efforts to market the wrong product to them.

2. Emojis have feelings, too

Similarly, if that sarcastic tweet is defined by an emoji, will you get it? A single tiny emoji is worth a thousand words – or even 1000 characters, which you couldn’t otherwise fit in a tweet.  Texts, tweets, and emails are peppered with these quirky icons to depict moods and desires in fun, creative ways.

To keep up with what your customers are yearning for, you need a tool that deciphers emojis. When you have the complete emotional context of their posts at your disposal, you won’t miss critical opportunities to learn what your users are trying to tell you.

3. Be a person, not a promotion

Once you have that information, you have to apply it in a human way. An increasingly savvy bunch, consumers no longer accept outdated, robotic mass marketing ploys. Instead they give their loyalty to brands they feel personally connected to. You need to learn about their feelings and passions – just as you would in a personal friendship. Then speak to them about those things. That’s how you win them over.

It’s not enough to simply play a numbers game by collecting likes and retweets and calling it a day. To successfully engage consumers on social, your brand needs the proper tools to understand the more sophisticated messages behind every like, tweet, and mention. All you have to do is listen.

Want to see our social media monitoring tools in action? Let us know and we’ll schedule a demo!

Image from Jason Taellious