Improve Your Social Media Content Strategy with Social Data

Carol Feigenbaum |
 08/25/16 |
7 min read

Social media monitoring tools show their worth when the resulting data is applied to brand initiatives that breed success. There’s no limit to the use cases social analytics supports – but content strategy and ideation is a particularly great one.

The entire point of content is to support brand messaging by reaching relevant audiences in authentic and creative ways. You can’t do that by blindly throwing content out into the social galaxy and hoping enough consumers like what you have to say. It’s all got to be very well orchestrated to pack the desired punch.

Extending the orchestra analogy, think of social monitoring as your conductor – gathering intel about the separate parts that make up the symphony at hand, to provide each segment of musicians with what they individually need for the good of the music being played. The musicians are your audience – diverse and attentive, ready to trust as long as you don’t lead them astray. The music is your brand’s success – beautiful to the ear when all parts come together in harmony.

Just as a captivating and successful opening night at the symphony doesn’t just happen, gathering and applying social insights to content ideation requires careful planning.

Discovering the content your audience wants

It might seem logical to approach content from your brand’s perspective – what your brand is about, what your products offer, why consumers will love them. This is actually the wrong strategy.

Content is all about consumers, and what they want to hear. You may think you know what that is – but unless you have actual proof, you shouldn’t waste resources acting on those assumptions. Social media intelligence gives you that proof by showing you what consumers are talking about, and what they care about most.

The same way it’s important to listen and be interested in the other person when on a first date, or meeting new friends, social monitoring and sentiment analysis lets you get to know consumers as humans – not just prospects.

Why is sentiment important? Because it’s everything. It’s the driving force behind social users’ posts. When you pay attention to it, you realize consumers are giving you all the information you need to connect with them – personally and individually.

For example, you might want to jump on a trend like Pokémon GO, to come across as hip and in-the-know. But what if your most important audience is moms of young children who just aren’t into that? What if these moms are more interested in healthy eating, or “green” products, or Disney princesses, or Legos? You have to know what consumers care about to deliver the right message.

And you have to know how much they care. Maybe Legos come up in conversation, but what really matters is a mid-day latte while their kids are napping.


Image from Keiichiro Shikano

Once you know the way in, you can join the conversation – as a person, not a brand. Doing that should dictate the content you create and share – versus pushing your brand’s agenda as much as possible.

That’s how you build authentic relationships with social consumers. And if you do it really well you’ll create influencers too.

Passionate voices on your behalf

The beauty of influencers is they take up your brand’s baton willingly – whether in exchange for some kind of perk, or simply because they believe in what you stand for, and appreciate the way you interact with them.

Influencers not only amplify the content you provide, they often create content of their own – which you can amplify on your end. This tactic gets the attention of others who want a similar boost in exposure or other perk.

For some, simply the act of being retweeted by a major celebrity or brand is enough to cement their loyalty – and they’re willing to share your messaging for the attention alone. Others enjoy the exclusive discounts and events that may come with being a brand advocate.

Social listening will tell you what your audience wants most from your brand. Give it to them, and they’ll give back to you.

Real people using real-time monitoring

Just as influencers are your partners in sharing all that’s awesome about your brand, our customers are a valuable part of our success. Here’s how they use NetBase to support their social media content strategy and other business goals:

Many agencies, predictably, use social media intelligence for new business pitches:

“We usually use NetBase for initial discovery on pitches and then we use it for sustained conversation monitoring.” – Matthew Lauahi, Senior Analyst at J.D. Power

What’s great about this is you meet potential clients armed with insights from the get-go, proving your worth immediately. With accurate information sourced from social users, creating a content strategy is much easier.

Others use our Audience 3D™ tool to uncover issues within audience groups:

“I love the Save Authors as a Theme tool. This helps tap various segments to see what the top issues are that affect specific groups.” – Chip, Social Media Manager at Anthem, Inc.

It’s also possible to Save Authors as a Topic as well, allowing creation of audience topics at scale. Both features let you drill down into what specific audiences are talking about.

And with our recent Pikachu update, you can add a geo-fence filter to an analysis or a theme to retrieve only results for authors posting within a very specific area.

For example, you could hone in on posts from a related venue, e.g., the Lego brand and Legoland, or from a sponsored event like Nascar or the Olympics. An airline could filter on conversations originating from airports and then engage with those users on a priority basis. 

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But location isn’t the only filter worth applying. Our customers uncover emerging trends and inspire ideation using other popular NetBase features: 

“For our auto client, word clouds tend to give us an idea of where the conversation is for each nameplate/segment. This helps us build out our content calendar accordingly as we know what our audience wants to talk about.” Sharnelle Kan, Social Listening Analyst at Saatchi & Saatchi

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“I love using the crosstab analysis to understand conversation themes and then develop insights for the development of the content calendar.” – Maritza Moreno, Digital/Social Analyst at The Marketing Arm

Our customers agree NetBase social listening is instrumental to getting “a sense of content that resonates,” as VaynerMedia analyst Kyle Randolph puts it.

And hashtags are also “particularly revealing” according to FleishmanHillard Senior Manager, Katherine Jacoby, “I have found some great content ideas by following top terms down the rabbit hole to see where they lead me.”

Remember, it’s not all about you

Extending your monitoring beyond your brand mentions to include consumers’ interests and feelings is part of what fuels your content strategy, but that’s not the end of the line. You should also research competitors if you really want the full picture:

“I love using it for competitor comparisons – seeing which competitor performed the best that month, looking into why their conversation grew, negatives of their conversation, etc. I also use it to see where topics overlap and also conversations where a competing brand is mentioned with other brands to see what that conversation is about.” – Cassidy, Associate Analyst at VaynerMedia

There’s a lot to discover – from volume of conversations on specific topics, to analyzing behaviors around themes, to finding conversational insights, to defining brand positioning based on Net Sentiment and Passion Intensity. These are all areas Hiro Kozaka, Manager/Sr. Manager at VCCP Kin, uses NetBase to explore.

Where you are and where you should be

Another consideration to your content strategy should be where you post, and the type of content you offer. Relevance to your audience is great, but if you’re posting on Twitter and everyone is on Facebook, you’re not helping yourself. The same goes with sharing text and images if your audience responds best to video.

Wherever your audience is, you want to know what resonates with them, and how best to deliver it – whether that means insightful blog posts from your own brand, or relevant content from outside publications.

Our newest update, QuackerJack, makes finding such content easier using the new Domain Channels filter to match all data from a URL in the same way you can match all data from a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram channel. And if you choose Include Domains you can match data that includes the primary term “BMW” – for example – or that originated from say, You also have the option to view both simultaneously.

This points you to the content your audience loves – allowing you to share it as well.


Image from Cole Camplese

Social media content strategy is all about learning what your audience wants and giving it to them – but first you have to know who your audience really is. And it’s possible your audience is bigger than you realize. That’s something you discover when you use psychographics to create segments of like-minded consumers.

It’s not about male or female, Millennial or Baby Boomer. It’s about passions, and behaviors, pet peeves and what makes consumers laugh and cry.

Think about the diversity of the Star Wars audience – all ages, all genders, and various walks of life from gamers to nurses to stay-at-home dads. You wouldn’t offer the same content to these varying segments, at least not if you want to really connect to them at an individual level. That’s something to keep in mind. Each segment needs its own messaging and approach.

But offering up individualized messaging is easy enough when you have the data to guide you. With cutting edge social media analytics tools that data is on hand, ready to be put to use to power your content strategy and ideation – or anything else you want to accomplish for your brand. You just need to know where to look.

For more on NetBase’s state-of-the-art social monitoring tools, get in touch!

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