Why Social Media Listening Will Rule Marketing in the Future

Kimberly Surico |
 02/22/16 |
3 min read


We’ve spent the past few weeks looking at the evolution of marketing, and how combining the old methods with the new can enhance digital marketing insights. But will that hold true as social listening and social selling continue to evolve? Or are marketers forming new habits they’ll only need to break in the future?

Losing the security blanket

One of the main reasons we’re still tied to some old methods – like surveys, focus groups, and in-store interviews – is because not everyone is on social. There are older generations that just don’t communicate that way, though usage among the 65+ set continues to increase. In fact, the Pew Research Center found that from 2013 to 2014, use of Facebook among the 65+ set went up 56 percent. They’re more reluctant to tweet, though.

Social usage also varies according to income and race demographics, according to Pew. Hard as it may be for some to believe, not everyone is online. For that reason, some old-school methods – like focus groups for research, or ads in the local newspaper – are still viable options for both large and small brands. At least, they are for now.

As current social generations age, and devices become more common and accessible to additional demographic groups, that will change. Social listening will eventually be the primary method for gathering data and delivering your message to your audience. It’s already evolving, and will continue to.

It’s a dialogue now

Our VIP customers are already taking note of the shifts – which are powering an entirely new approach to how brands and consumers interact:

“The big evolution in marketing is the shift from interruption to conversation. Consumers want access to brands and the ability to ask questions, this has led to the demand for more transparency and opening lines of communication.” – Katherine Jacoby

In the early days of social, we tended to just place old methods on top of the new – think banner ads and polls. Now, social media marketing is all about discourse. Because of this, social listening platforms will also advance, and the way we monitor consumer language online will only get better and provide more complex insights.

And if we do retain any traditional methodologies, they’ll be transformed by the technology available, evolving into more efficient versions of themselves, as is already happening:

“I think that social listening and the online sphere are making traditional research techniques adapt – for example you can now run focus groups online, which is far cheaper and quicker.” – Tara Watkins

And what’s currently “new” will evolve to become outdated as well, as the tech behind social listening continues advancing.

What marketing trends await us?

It’s almost hard to imagine this, as the real-time feedback brands are able to get from digital platforms is already impressive. So what will change as we march toward the future? Likely, using that data and turning it around to engage audiences will become easier and even faster.

And what about more accurate? That’s likely too as platforms evolve to analyze more complex data. We can already decode slanguage and emojis to deepen sentiment insight. What’s next? Image recognition? Video insights? Will Twitter, Facebook and the other social networks we monitor today continue to dominate – or will something completely new come along to disrupt the social realm as we know it?

Whatever is coming, we’ll have a heads-up via social media listening, informing us of marketing trends in real-time. It will be our job – and everyone’s – to adapt, or fade away.

But you don’t need social data to know what we’ll decide on that front – unlike everything else in the social monitoring space, our commitment to serving brands won’t change.

Want to make NetBase part of your marketing evolution? We’re ready to show you how social monitoring can enhance whatever you’re already doing.

Image from k rupp

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