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Holidays are always an important time for brands – especially the ones that fall this time of year. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, the focus is on gratitude, family – of course – and food. Let’s look at social sentiment to find out what Thanksgiving audiences are looking for.

Start with a Simple Topic Search

When you want to get the lay of the land, it’s best to start with a general search using keywords that are relevant. In this case we’ve searched NetBase Pro using the terms “Thanksgiving” and “#Thanksgiving” in the U.S., filtering for English-language posts.

As expected, there’s a lot of conversation – 1.3 million posts getting 12.9 million engagements, with posts increasing as we get into November and the holiday gets closer:

Putting the “Happy” in Happy Thanksgiving

We can’t do much without understanding what the conversation is about – and that’s where social sentiment comes in. We look at Sentiment Drivers, starting with Attributes:

Items in green – those where Net Sentiment is positive – include a lot of talk of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and family, but mostly boil down to talk of dinner and food.

On that subject the conversation includes favorite recipes, easy to make recipes, cocktail recipes, vegan recipes, favorite foods, shopping lists of great items to add to your dinner, and restaurants open on the day for those who aren’t into cooking.

Looking at posts connected to these topics individually helps you identify topics relevant to your brand – for example, a vegan segment looking for “easy to make” recipes:

Or you could look at Popular Posts and Popular Media to see which content is grabbing social audiences most overall. In addition to the talk of food, there are lots of posts about fitness and working out – but naturally there are plenty of images of food, with links to recipes, on order:

Analyzing content in this way is what led Cuisinart to discover the types of videos their audiences wanted to see. As a result, they shifted away from product-centric videos to videos focused on quick recipes, with the products taking backseat to the recipes themselves.

As a bonus, they learned that even prior to the Thanksgiving holiday they were analyzing at the time, consumers wanted recipes for Labor Day cookouts. This gave them another window of engagement and profit leading up to the all-important fourth quarter holiday period.

Negativity Isn’t All Bad

Attributes in red are also important to understand – because solving a “problem” can be the way to consumers’ hearts as much as via their appetites. Here’s a post under the red term “Thanksgiving food”:

Pringles is already on the case, but other brands could learn from this sentiment – which is expressed elsewhere in various ways.

Follow Trends as They Evolve

Be sure to follow Popular Items like Hashtags as well, since they help you understand how to join the conversation.

Since we’re still almost a week away from Turkey Day, we’re not seeing the popular #FoodPorn hashtag in association with our Thanksgiving search, but it will likely pop up as the day gets closer.

If we search on the hashtag itself, and look at Emotions under Sentiment Drivers, we see how passionate the Emotions connected to this phrase are. Just as Cuisinart stumbled into something new with their Thanksgiving search, your brand could strike gold by approaching things from a fresh perspective.

The term #FoodPorn is certainly one worth exploring on a food-focused holiday like Thanksgiving. Making sure your business has an appetite for social listening ahead of the big day will be important.

The point, always, is to let social lead you – even if into uncharted territory. You never know what new audience segments you’ll meet, or what new ways you’ll find to engage them.

Wouldn’t that be something to be thankful for!

Want to learn more about finding new audiences with social analytics tools? Reach out and we’ll show you how!

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