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It must have been so much easier for marketers before the Internet – when trends changed seasonally at most. Now trends shift almost as often as social feeds refresh – and the methods for tracking them can be trends in and of themselves.

What are these marketing and consumer trends, and how can you keep pace and put them to work for your brand? By putting social listening strategies to work.

Tools of the trend

Social media monitoring tools have been around for a few years, but the way we use them to parse for insights has changed quite a bit. Mentions, likes, follows – those surface insights – are well and good, but it’s deeper insights you need now if you want to connect with consumers.

Why? Because social has created a consumer-centric landscape where intrusive marketing strategies are unwelcome. What’s in fashion now is personalized messaging from brands – and the convincing appearance that you view consumers as people first, and prospects second (if at all).

Creating this perception means making it a reality – by mining social conversations for sentiment-based insights. It’s not about your brand – or at least, not JUST your brand. What you need to know now is how consumers feel about EVERYTHING in their lives. Whatever they’re passionate about, that’s your best way in.

This audience marketing approach goes beyond the demographic overview many brands stop with, and lets you create micro-segments based on what consumers have in common. How does this work, and why is it so important to have this dimensional view of consumers?

Between you and me

Part of the reason is so you can personalize your messaging – which engages consumers by appealing to what excites THEM. But knowing what they’re into can be a little trickier than you might think.

Consumers don’t just use words to talk about the things they love most. Lots of what they share is written in the “coded” language of netspeak, slang, sarcasm, and emojis. If you don’t speak or understand these various tongues you’ll miss out on a lot.

On the other hand, if you are fluent in these languages (even if it takes the help of something like our super cool Slanguage Tracker to get there), you can impress consumers with your knowledge of the social lexicon, and speak back in their language.

For example, if someone tweets the frog emoji next to the teacup emoji, you’ll know it’s meant to throw a little shade, translating to “But that’s none of my business” – after the popular meme of Kermit the Frog drinking tea, of course.

Then you could answer with a bit of snark of your own – provided you don’t take it too far (because that’ll cause a whole host of other problems your brand doesn’t need). The point is, when you know your audience, you’ll know what to say to them, and they’ll love you for it.

But what if they stop loving you? That’s the beauty of social media listening in real-time.

Real-time predicts the future

The slightest hint of a drop in sentiment is detectable when you’re using monitoring tools well. You can even correct issues before they spiral out of control – and possibly have that consumer loving you even more than they did before the problem arose.

You can also spot emerging trends as they’re breaking, and jump on them before your competitors – giving you a head start on reaping whatever benefits are on offer, while also impressing your audience with how “in touch” you are. Consumer sentiment analysis is as close to a crystal ball as you can get – make sure your brand is using it!

Is your crystal ball a little cloudy? Reach out to put our trend-tracking tools to work now.

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