7 Easy Steps to Conduct a 30 Minute Social Analysis

Understanding where your brand stands in its category, in relation to competitors and in the hearts and minds of consumers – all in real-time – ranks high among ‘most important intel to have on hand.’ And these indicators that can be sorted out quickly, in 30 minutes or less, using social analysis. Let’s see how it looks!

Step 1: Preparing for the Social Analysis

There are a number of widgets, filters, and analysis techniques you use and whatever you select depends largely on your goals. The way you plan, find conversations, analyze those conversations to find insights, and present your findings may vary, but the end results are the same: audience understanding that will inform your next steps.

So what is your end goal? You have lots of paths available in your social intelligence quest:

12 social analysis use cases

Ask yourself if you want to:

Having in mind what you plan to look for, specifically, will help you fine tune your search results – and investigate using the correct criteria. You want meaningful, actionable social analysis insight – and it’s available for every need listed above (and more), so you want to be as specific as possible around what, exactly, you’re looking for.

Step 2: Choose a Topic for Your Social Analysis

Defining a topic requires a bit of brain power as well. Although intuitive and amazing, our Next Generation AI can automatically discover themes for you, but it can’t pre-poplulate your topic definitions for you . . . yet

Social web topics capture posts that match keywords, authors, domains, channels, geo-fences, and/or logos you designate, for example:

  • Brands, such as Coca-Cola or McDonald’s
  • Products, such as Sprite or Big Mac
  • Product categories, such as fast food or soft drinks
  • Channels, such as a Facebook fan page or Twitter handle
  • Industry categories or topics of interest, such as dieting or snacking
  • Geo-fenced regions, such as all Tweets published from within Yankee Stadium
  • Image content, such as to your product’s logo
  • Topical issues, such as pending tax laws or a viral hashtag
  • Authors and influencers, such as a celebrity who posts regularly about a product
  • Domains, such as NYTimes or eBay Forums

Once you have your topic pinned down, name your topic and select a date range for your analysis. NetBase recommends selecting a date range of 30 days or less until you have completely cleaned and fine-tuned your topic – here’s why:

After you define and save a topic, it may require a little time to populate as NetBase searches billions of posts dating back 27 months from millions of global sources, including social sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube, as well as blogs, forums, news, consumer reviews, and others.

So, if your topic is pulling in lots of irrelevant data, you’re just making more work for yourself on the backend. Best to see what bubbles up in a shorter search and use that intel to fine tune what you’re really looking for.

It’s important to note – selecting ongoing date ranges, regardless of time span, is smart because NetBase will continue to collect data indefinitely so that you can analyze the most up-to-date results over time. So, if it’s a topic you may potentially want to revisit at a later date, be sure to select “ongoing.”

Step 3: Define the Topic Keywords & Channels

Topic searches collect conversations that match all mentions of primary terms, so you want to make your list as exhaustive as possible.

  • Start with basic identifiers, such as the company or brand name, #hashtag, @handle, and URL. For example, Jack Daniels would include Jack Daniels, #jackdaniels, @jackdaniels, and jackdaniels.com.
  • Add all variants, such as common misspellings, alternate spellings, slang terms, fused names (BurgerKing), initials, acronyms, abbreviations, and other variants – including writing out numbers as words, and the reverse of that, as well as non-English variations.
  • Add brand-level campaigns and products. For example, Jack Daniels would include Jack and Ginger, @JackHoney, and #JackDanielsHoney.

Be sure to enter terms exhaustively so that you can capture all of the conversation occurring around your topic.

And add channels to your topic definition as well – all owned channels for your brand and competitors’ brands to add to the topic to pull in all publicly available data for your social analysis.

Social Analysis Topic screen

After you’ve defined and saved a topic, you analyze everything the search has gathered up for you, using widgets and dashboards to find insights and trends that will help you make actionable business decisions.

Step 4: Map Out The Big Picture

There’s so much great info to dig into, but understanding the overview and your summary metrics are a great place to start. The Overview tells you:

  • Trend mentions, positives, and negatives across the analysis date range and view totals and percentage of change for mentions, posts, potential impressions, and net sentiment.
  • The top 25 terms filtered by positive and negative sentiment in StoryScope widget.
  • Top positive and negative emotions in a Word Cloud widget.
  • Source types, top domains, influential authors and top posts in correspondingly named widgets.

social analysis sentiment emotions, source types, mentions and more

And the Summary Metrics offers more specific info around sentiment and passion intensity:

social analysis summary metrics

These widgets allow you to analyze positive and negative sentiment and what is driving it. Clicking on a point in time on the timeline at the bottom (in image above) pulls up a fluctuation summary, with corresponding data points to flesh out the social analysis narrative:

fluctuation summary used in social analysis

And who are those folks commenting – should you worry about them?

Let’s check out popular posts and people to see

Step 5: Identify Popular Posts & People

Popular posts, media, and links provide competitive social analysis insight. Not only do they speak to the larger conversations in your category, areas you should certainly be aware of – but also to unmet needs and ways competitors may be dropping the ball.

You can review popular posts:

social analysis of popular posts

And popular people:

social analysis of popular people

It’s really important to shortlist your potential influencers using social sentiment, as can be seen above. Although the author coming in at the top of this list has 10,000+ engagements, she’d likely be overlooked by brands distracted by high follower counts alone. Micro-influencers can offer unexpected and amazing engagement for brands.

Or you can check out a stream of sample posts offering all kinds of insight around individual authors’ posts:

social analysis stream offering in-depth insight around specific posts

Step 6: Fine-tune Your Topic for Further or Future Social Analysis

You have two choices here – the “include/exclude” terms function on the Topics keyword screen or the Tuner Tab. We’ll run through both options as each serves a specific purpose.

When entering terms, you can:

  • Use exact match to retrieve only sound bites that match the term exactly by enclosing terms in double double quotation marks. For example, “”target”” returns only mentions containing “target.”
  • Use non-exact match to retrieve sound bites containing term variations by entering terms without double double quotation marks. For example, target returns mentions containing “target,” “targets,” “targeted,” and “targeting.”
  • Retrieve many variants with one term by using wildcards . . . but that would take us well beyond what you need here. Just know it’s an option, and we’re happy to show it to you once you have more than 30 minutes to spare!

The “Include” function only returns results where you primary terms “include” this new word, and it has to be found within the proximity you designate – in the same sentence, paragraph or document. Otherwise it’s excluded.

including terms in your analysis

It’s a pretty particular bit of filtering, with options best summarized here:

filtering options for including and excluding terms in social analyses

There’s also “tuning” to consider – and it’s strongly recommended unless you feel confident of your if/then thinking required to manage the scenarios above!

Tuning Out The Noise

If including and excluding just isn’t getting things done the way you need them to be, using the Tune tab helps.  It suggests terms, authors, domains, and hashtags to exclude and displays a preview of mentions matching a selected item.

And then you just click which items you want to include in or exclude from your search:

Topics Tuner for social analysis

All that’s left really, after you’ve fine-tuned your results and have popped around bit to see the many, many ways to parse the data .

NetBase dashboard options

. . . is to share your results with a snappy dashboard.

Step 7: Share Results with a Social Analysis Dashboards & Reports

A 30-minute social analysis will help you understand and implement important tactical changes to your strategy. And although you may not need to create a report, it’s a good idea to create a few anyway. Why wouldn’t you, after all – we have so many options at your disposal:

Not to mention Live Reports as well – real-time displays showing what’s happening, where and why.

Sharing this intel via a snappy dashboard with your CEO is smart strategy for yourself as well, of course. It never hurts to demonstrate your own value as a social landscape analyst in the process.

Reach out for more tactical tips, and to see this 30-minute social analysis in action. And the rest is up to you!

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