Social Listening Done Well Means Getting to the Heart of Consumer Emotions

Carol Feigenbaum |
 09/29/15 |
3 min read

Ask Our CMO

The latest question to come across our CMO’s desk in the NetBase Ask Our CMO series is one that all brands should know the answer to if they want to beat their competition.

Q: When social listening is done really well, HOW is it done, and how is it used?

A: Firstly, it’s not about only doing social listening in Marketing and business, but it is about knowing your customer, always. And that starts with listening. Social listening can be a fantastic in-route to knowing what is going on.

Historically, marketers would start with the numbers. They would count likes, count comments or shares – but might not have had the right setup to truly dig behind those counts into the WHY behind them. Understanding what drives consumers to like, comment and share is actually the most important part of the equation – and exactly where marketers would get insights to improve and grow the business.

We’re talking about emotions, attitudes and behavior:

  • what consumers feel when they think about your brand
  • how deeply they feel it
  • how/why it motivates them to interact (or not) with your brand on social
  • do they intend to buy, switch or stay loyal?

Without knowing the WHY, consequent actions will not be as smart or as powerful as they could otherwise have been, and the consumer experience can suffer as a result – followed by the brand suffering.

What I love about using NetBase is the depth and power of consumer emotions we can uncover about brands, categories, and competitors across the entire social web. It’s simply fascinating to understand what needs changing to improve a brand, or what could be boosted for growth and increased consumer passion , but that is clearly hard to do if you don’t know what’s making your brand tick with consumers in the first place.

So focusing on emotion is “how it’s done.” As for how it’s used…

Emotion-based insights inform brand actions

Once you understand how consumers feel about your brand – good or bad – you’re able to understand when you might need heart surgery – and know exactly what to fix. Is there a geo-specific problem? Is the issue with customer service? Is there a loyalty problem bubbling up?

You can get to the root of the diagnosis in a rapid, dynamic and scalable way with social, to paint a number of hypotheses that your brand needs to confront. And, as a cross-functional team, you can now device next action steps for change.

Of course, it’s not just about reacting to problems. At any time, as brand guardians, you want to anticipate trends by analyzing social data and asking yourself where growth is going to come from and where you should be watching for negative impact. That way you can be smart about your team’s time, dealing with executive questions and opinions, and maximizing your competitive playing field.

I put a lot of questions and creative directions to the test via social, and combine what I learn here with other digital learning, to constantly improve and innovate. And I am lucky to be learning from some really smart brands out there, who have already made social part of their secret sauce for winning.

As with any work, never embark on social listening without a solid business strategy context to guide you, and clarity around what success looks like for you. And be sure to consider how you might use various resources to get there. Social is one of your many touch points and sources to tap into the consumer’s heart and mind. But it takes focus to win.

Have a question about social analytics (or anything else?) Ask our CMO Pernille Bruun-Jensen by submitting your questions here, and check back often for answers!

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