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Organisations are flying blind – social listening can help

Apr 6, 2020 11:26:39 AM

This is a guest blog written by Ray Poynter, Chief Research Officer with Potentiate, the Founder of NewMR, and author of the book Handbook of Online and Social Media Research. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Ray PoynterAs I said recently in my post “Nobody alive today has had to manage an organisation through a time like this” and therefore “everybody is flying blind”. Companies, organisations and Government need insights, they need to know what has changed, and what stays the same. They need to know how people are feeling, what people think is happening, and what people are looking for. This information can come from multiple sources, for example market research, passive data, and social.

Things you might want to be watching for and tracking via social include:

  • Mentions of your brand – simply to see if you are staying salient.
  • Analysis of what people are saying about your brand. In addition to traditional sentiment, consider ‘on message’, ‘neutral’, ‘off message’ as a categorisation. If people say ‘long queue at Tesco, everybody forced to keep 2m apart, only 50 people allowed in the store at once’ – that might sound to a traditional algorithm like a negative, but for anybody looking to shop safely, it is ‘on message’.
  • Interactions with and reactions to your social campaigns. Check that you are not shooting yourself in the foot (if you are a cruise company, don’t advertise cruises for 2021, but if you are a sports brand, perhaps talk about the best things from 2019).
  • How are people filling their time? Are there things you can do that align with what people are doing?
  • What do people believe? Can you spot hoaxes, fake news, or myths that you can help correct, especially if they are in your circle of activity / expertise?
  • What are the memes that are emerging, do they have relevance to you, do they offer chances for you to align with them?
  • What brands are being praised? What is it that those brands are doing, could/should you do something similar.
  • What brands are being criticised on social? What can you learn from that.
  • How many different personas can you identify from social? For example, home alone and loving it, home alone and hating it, home schooling and building bonds, struggling to cope etc. Once you have identified the personas, devise efficient ways to identify them, think about whether you should be responding or interacting with each specific persona or not, and what your message would be.

Listening is more important than asking at the moment

Listening is always an important skill in insights, but at the moment it is the key skill. In order to ask questions, you need to know what the right questions are. At the moment, while we are all flying blind, we are less sure that we know the questions – so listening is key. Find out what people are saying to each other, decode what they mean, and analyse what it means for your business.

Photo by Matt Alaniz on Unsplash.

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