Executive Series: Listening on Social Media is about Insight Management and Analyzing Data

This post is part of The Executive Series which is written by Jonas Klit Nielsen, CEO and Founder of Mindjumpers. The posts are based on his daily work with passionate people responsible in the area of social business, executives from large international companies and thought leaders in the social business space.

 

Listen to the right conversation, gather data, analyze the data and get insights of high value for your company.

Last week, I wrote a about the importance of data. This week, I will go a bit deeper into one of the first steps to generate the knowledge that can get you a buy in from the c-level for your social media efforts: Listening.

A lot of people have been stating the importance of listening to conversations in social media. Often you see the statement ‘listen and engage’ or ‘listen to what people are saying about you on social media’. This post is not solely about any of the above.

Listening for me is not the same as monitoring. Monitoring is the second step after you have done your listening. Is it interesting what people say about you? Perhaps, but I will argue that there are so much more interesting conversations to be listening to than ‘all’ the people talking about you. Listening is finding those conversations and analyzing them. Break them down to valuable insights that you can hand over to other business units in your organization – from communication to product development.

It will take a bit of work to do this right. The following are the steps, we follow at Mindjumpers when we help companies start listening to conversations.

Conversational words

First, generate a long list of possible words that could be interesting to listen in on. That can be anything from your company or brand name, competitor names, words connected to your product or industry, or words connected to some important stakeholders or to important objectives. The list can be long.

You always tend to use industry words. The difficult task is to figure out what words people might use instead of the industry words.

Scorecard – the first filter

You can probably come up with more than a 100-200 words, which may be too much to start with. The first filtering of the words would be to create a scorecard for the words. You can score them yourself, but the best result will come if you can involve other relevant stakeholders as for instance your target group or KOL’s. One score should be ‘how valuable is this for our company 1-10’ the rest should be divided on target group input. Let them to rate how important the words are to them. The scorecard will give you a prioritized list of conversational words.

Listening tool

There are probably over 100 different listening tools out there from Radian 6 to the free tools. I recommend that you do a small due diligence process of tools that can fit your needs.  For some clients we have put a set of free tools together (less out of pocket – more internal resources) and for some we recommended to get a tool like Radian 6, Whitevector, Meltwater Buzz etc.

Start listening

Start collecting the conversational data from your top prioritized conversational words and process the data, tweak the queries, exclude irrelevant results and keep a score of the relevance of the individual words. This is also your second filter of the words (if very little interesting information, downgrade the importance of the specific word). Be open to start following a new path. The relevant conversations might be using words you had not thought of to begin with, but with this process you will get near enough to identify the conversations.

Store and analyse

As you find relevant conversations, make sure to store and analyze the data. It can again be done in simple ways such as screen-shooting the conversations, saving links etc. to creating a web grab function that can get pointed to information you would like to grab and store it in a database.

Break the data down to relevant insights – it might be brand related, product related, related for your companies’ CSR strategy or for your customer service team. Present the insights to the relevant business units.

The next steps will be to start continuously monitoring and measuring on these conversational words, the conversations or specific relevant influencers that have been identified.

The next step for the business units receiving the insight should be to start taking action, which could be anything thing from engaging in a conversation or creating improvement to a product – indicated by the people that would by it.

In a later post I will share our framework on the subject of listening, but we are still tweaking on it from all the learning’s we get through our work with some of our clients.

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!