Channeling Consumer Passion: Social Listening on Tumblr

Kimberly Surico |
 11/07/18 |
3 min read

There’s nothing better than finding consumers who are wild for your brand. These audiences aren’t always obvious, however. You’ve got to use your social listening skills to reveal their secret social hideaways – but it’s worth it.

Open Yourself to New Channels of Communication

Many brands dive into social media engagement haphazardly. They assume the largest social networks make sense, and focus their energy on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram without really knowing if they have audiences there.

The thinking seems to be from a Field of Dreams school of thought: “If you build it they will come.” But that’s not necessarily true.

Sure, you might be able to generate engagement on these channels if you’re savvy enough. But you could still be ignoring the heart of your audience if they’re on less obvious social channels.

Here’s an example: Japanese snack-brand Pocky is hugely successful in their home country. When they sought to expand their reach to the US market, they needed a smart road “in.”

Instead of assuming they knew where this new audience lived online, they tasked agency Santy with researching the proper channels for their US campaign.

This is something Santy – and any agency worth its salt – does all the time. They use social listening tools to learn as much as they can about their target audience, so they’re never going in blind.

Even though experience told them to put their money on Twitter, they followed the analytics to a surprising conclusion: Tumblr was the channel hosting the largest volume of brand conversation.

What Sets Tumblr Apart

Every social network has its own look, feel, approach, and user base. Understanding the appeal of a network like Tumblr is the first step toward understanding the segment of your audience interacting there.

Tumblr is part self-hosted website, part social network, according to some. It’s a place where people who don’t feel they fit in elsewhere (like Facebook) come to share opinions without the character limitations of, say, Twitter.

User-generated content (UGC) abounds on Tumblr. It’s a place where passions run high, where the audience is young, global, and mobile. Perfect for a brand like Pocky.

Once Santy identified Tumblr as their most important channel, they could move on to other stages of Pocky’s campaign.

Customer Vs. Brand Perception

It’s not enough to know Tumblr is the best channel for your brand if you don’t know what your audience on Tumblr wants to talk about – or how. This is why social listening is so crucial to brand success. The information you need is out there – you just have to find it and use it.

In Pocky’s case, this came down to the very definition of their product. The brand itself had always considered Pocky a cookie product – but those discussing Pocky on Tumblr were referring to it as a candy bar.

Note the #candy…

The customer is always right… right?


Competitive Analysis Offers Guidance

When you understand how consumers perceive your product, you can more accurately identify and compare yourself to competitors. For instance, Pocky as a cookie might have been looked at alongside a brand like Oreo; but as a candy bar, KitKat is a more appropriate competitor.

Competitor analysis revealed Pocky had more mentions than KitKat – but KitKat had higher impressions, an indicator for brand messaging actually breaking through to consumers. This is a situation where influencers can help – and Tumblr offers plenty.

Who better to talk to other Tumblrs than one of their own? Identify those who love your brand and have followings of their own, then put them to work.

Of course, these tactics don’t apply just to Tumblr. This is how you want to approach any channel your audience is active on.

Use social listening to find out what they care about – with regard to your brand and beyond – then engage on their terms. It’s really that simple. You just need the right tools for the job.

We’ve got the tools! Want to see them in action? Contact us to schedule a customized demo!




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