Social listening continues to attract a lot of attention from the side of Marketing and Insights professionals. At the same time, still many questions occur on how to build strong Social Listening agenda that will enable companies to develop impactful consumer insights.
From my experience, one of the biggest challenges of Social Listening is related with the understanding of the type and scope of business questions where Social Listening can proof to be the most valuable research methodology.
Therefore, I’ve decided to sum up the key pillars where Social Listening can bring the biggest business value.
As we see from the table above, Social Listening can be extremely beneficial across several critical business domains. It explains why so many Brand and Marketing Managers are willing to opt in for Social Listening programs. Thus, key approaches to Social Listening programs in an organization can be divided into 4 principle solutions: ad-hoc studies either with primary internal and external analytical forces, dashboards and text analytics. The last one can’t be called directly as Social Listening approach, while using it in a combination with one of the first three ones would definitely increase the depth and quality of insights.
Ad-hoc studies are conducted with a use of Social Listening platforms (e.g. Radian 6, Brandwatch). Then gathered information is analyzed manually either by internal or external forces, the results of such analysis are usually presented in a form of insights reports. In case of involvement of the internal analytical forces, digital analytics team and/or community managers can take its leading role here. As the external suppliers, can be used such companies as Bakamo Social and Synomia.
The last approach is related with a development of the pre-set-up dashboards which can be used by different teams in an organization. Here can be used such suppliers as Clarabridge, Adoreboard, Falcon.io and Sprinklr.
Below I sum up which solution from my perspective is more suitable for each type of the Social Listening, where “+” means highly suitable and “-“ means less suitable.
Even with so many possible solutions in hand, development of Social Listening programs within an organization continues to be either very challenging for Insights managers or show only very low fraction of its total potential.
Therefore, I’ve decided to highlight the biggest challenges that I’ve faced while setting up Social Listening programs in several FMCG companies.
Analyzing Social Listening results, it’s important to pay attention to the fact that in case of consumer products related research, Twitter becomes overrepresented in the overall dataset. Thus, around 60-80% of the data comes from Twitter, while other Social Media, blogs, forums and e-commerce retailer sites stay less covered.
Definition of the keywords and check of its relevancy is still very manual process in Social Listening. Hence, before any quantitative analysis of the Social Listening data there should be conducted a holistic investigation of the scope of the keywords, that from one side should include potential misspellings, and from another side exclude all words with irrelevant meaning.
As per Challenge #2, Social Listening still requires a lot of manual work, that means that many companies tend to prefer to opt in for dashboards solutions. One of the the key benefit of dashboards is a possibility to study evolution within time period. However, it’s important to keep in mind that dashboards have limited capacity to show broad category, consumer and market trends.
Social Listening for global & regional scope requires work on multilingual level. Despite the fact that majority of Social Listening solution providers are able to gather information for many languages, verification of the data and its analysis still is a very strong challenge. In majority of cases companies use Google to translate all gathered data in one language. However, this leads to sufficient lose in a meaning of phases, sentences and their connotation (especially for the analysis of the associated emotions).
The table below summarizes how different Social Listening solutions address each of the identified challenges, where “+” means addresses more and “-“ addresses less.
To conclude this analysis, my experience shows that in order to achieve strong business impact from Social Listening programs it’s critical to evaluate various types of solutions available on the market, and find out their best combination to the specific business questions .