Social Analytics Deep Dive: NLP for Every Occasion

Kimberly Surico |
 12/07/17 |
3 min read

What’s the big deal about NLP – or Natural Language Processing? Well, it’s the only way you’ll ever be able to precisely target shoppers no matter what the occasion. Here’s how.

Conversation = clues

You might think you know who your audience is and what they want, but there’s always a way to refine that knowledge. NLP reveals all you never realized mattered by taking all the information available on social media, and analyzing what consumers care about most.

And you might be surprised by what you discover. You think it’s all about low prices – when it’s actually about a simpler checkout experience. Or you assume your audience likes educational social content, when they really just wish you’d get a sense of humor already.

So what does NLP take into consideration to return actionable data? Human language in all its complex forms:

Text at face value: Sometimes love is love, as in “I love Star Wars!” The trick is knowing the difference…

Sarcasm: Other times “love” means “hate” and vice versa. How do you differentiate context?

Emojis: One way context is provided is via emojis. The phrase “I love sappy Hallmark movies” takes on a whole new meaning when followed by a vomit emoji as opposed to a hearts-for-eyes emoji.

Slang: Far out! Rad! Seriously? Basic AF… Slang has always been part of our culture. A smart NLP engine knows what’s being said – and by which generation. This includes abbreviated language like netspeak.

Regional dialects: If you consider the U.S. alone you could poll a number of different people and learn that the generic word for “Coke” is anything from “pop” to “soda” to “tonic” depending on where each person is from. Now apply that concept globally and you can see the importance of recognizing geographic differences in language beyond simply English, French, or Mandarin.

Sentiment: Identifying language as positive or negative is a big part of unlocking the mystery of what’s being said – and hugely important to your brand. Positive posts and commentary help you know where you’re succeeding and where to find influencers, while negative highlight customer service opportunities or potential reputational threats.

Passion intensity: The strongest consumer emotions are at once most valuable and most dangerous, so it’s important to be able to distinguish these audience members from the pack.

Each of these items is equally crucial to the equation of understanding what consumers want – so you need a tool that analyzes all of them.

And how should you use these insights? Well, consumers will tell you. Or they’ll inspire you.

In real-time and all the time

Some opportunities arise in the moment – a sudden craze for a TV show or game, a geographical trend for a specific food item, etc. These are things you want to be aware of for sure, to know where and when to present information to your audience – or simply to join the conversation.

Consumers don’t want to feel like you only care about their money, so it’s important to engage and build relationships at all times. That way you aren’t coming out of left field when you have a big campaign to promote.

Plus, every audience is different, and you can’t assume you know what they want. You can’t trust that your audience wants to hear about Christmas shopping in August just because your competitors’ audience does. You also can’t assume the reverse is true. You have to gather social data constantly, and use what you learn to precisely target campaigns your audience can only love.

It’s never just about the big shopping seasons like Back-to-School and the holidays. Your audience might be most interested in something completely different. If that’s the case, you don’t want to miss out while a competitor offers up what they crave.

The important thing is to make it personal. Don’t promote Christmas for Christmas’ sake – promote what your audience cares about. That could be nostalgia, family, winter, charity, vacation, gathering together, etc. There’s no rulebook here – except to listen to what they tell you.

And to do that you have to be able to understand every nuance. That’s what NLP is all about.

Have you seen a demo of our NLP engine at work? Get in touch and we’ll walk you through all it can do!


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