social listening

Social Listening 2019

SUMMARY OF SOCIAL LISTENING – 2019:

Social listening gives us clues related to our customer, our competitor and our marketplace based on conversation analysis at scale. These clues lead to insights that inform laser specific strategy for ALL silos in the enterprise. In addition, we can build a customer base from conversation analysis by enriching handles of those in the conversation. In addition, we can see who is influencing people talking about our chosen themes/topics.

Sentiment analysis and Emotions analysis gives us insight into what causes Joy, Anticipation, Fear, Disgust, Anger within conversations where our chosen themes and topics are being discussed. This is important because we can design better marketing campaigns, bring efficiency to our overall budget based on what’s working/not working in the marketplace, we can spot trends in the marketplace and anticipate where to focus our resources as a brand.

When we see WHO is talking about themes/topics important to our brand, WHERE these conversations are occurring, WHAT is driving awareness of our themes/topics, HOW customers are arriving to our channels AND to our competitors channels, then we make more intelligent decisions for our brand, for each silo in our enterprise.

Social listening is a process by which insights are derived from truly massive quantities of social data (online conversations, documents, and profiles). We distill these huge amounts of data into digestible insights for business stakeholders, accompanied by detailed datasets of prospects, and individuals/entities who influence these prospects. Software solutions combined with human analysts are our chief means for achieving this work

Our net deliverables are PDFs, spreadsheets and in-person meetings where we deliver insights & recommendations related to our research. These deliverables are important because brand leadership has a set of insights/action steps related to discovered individuals (our initial data lake of prospects). We also meet with stakeholders in various business units to discuss the findings, participate in action teams who are executing on initiatives supported by the insights, adjust process and rinse-repeat as needed, honing in on specific additional items desired. This refinement process is where we really drill into the “2nd concentric ring”* and find the exact targets worth acquiring. This is also where we find out what’s working and what’s not working for a specific unit/team.

*The “2nd concentric ring” is everyone who is following a specific influencer. Segmenting and defining the demographics/psychographics/personalities of every single person following an influencer gives us a better idea about whether this influencer is a good pick for our organization. We also find out a lot more about our ideal consumer when studying the “2nd concentric ring”. This is important because when we see every single person who has chosen to follow and engage with an influencer, we gain insight into the culture, buying choices, and online habits of our ideal consumer.

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THE NITTY GRITTY PROCESS 2019 (STEP BY STEP):

1. Define the questions/problem to be answered. This is done by sitting down with the client and interviewing leadership, then specific stakeholders, then those who work with specific stakeholders. It is best to do this in small groups or with individuals so as to get honest and truthful information. This is important because we want to start our study with a very deep set of insights on the organization and those who will be using our research. When I interview stakeholders and their teams on an individuals basis, I learn more than when I interview a group together. When I interview a group together, all of the politics and internal issues prevent individuals from sharing fully what is needed.

2. Define the scope/parameters – dates/topics/desired outcomes. After interviewing everyone, I have insight into how the organization will be most helped by the research work. Very few internal stakeholders and employees in the enterprise have the “big picture” view. Usually each person is interested in his/her own agenda or in pleasing specific senior stakeholders. When we know what is at the heart of the organization’s psyche, it’s heartbeat as it were, then we can deliver a scope of work that truly meets the brand’s need vs. individual stakeholders’ needs. This is important because we want our work to feed the brand, to nourish it’s life. A brand can breathe when fed useful insights, and it can die if it is shielded from useful insights. Truth about the marketplace, the consumer, the competitor, and, importantly, the inner body of stakeholders, employees, vendors, contractors and non-human drivers is vital.

3. Define the audience for the report(s) – who is this for/what is purpose of study/why are we doing this study. Each insights report we deliver will nourish a specific person, unit, division, region. When we know the true need, as stated in the last point, we can speak to the audience who has this need…we can speak to the heart of the organization itself. Knowing one’s audience affects one’s voice, one’s tone, one’s approach. This is important because we want our insights to be digestible, used, passed around. We want our research to truly affect change in the organization, change for the good of the brand.

4. Gather existing pre-study materials from the client and study these. Ask client questions about submitted materials. Gather more materials if needed/available.

5. Create boolean queries for conversation data aggregation in a conversation analysis tool.

6. Refine these boolean queries for more precise conversation data aggregation.

7. Download the raw mentions from the conversation analysis tool.

8. Download other relevant sheets from the conversation analysis tool, including Topics, Most Mentioned Authors, Most Used Hashtags, Leading Authors (in terms of Inf), Leading Sites (blog), Leading Sites (forum), Leading Twitter Authors, Leading Blog Authors, Leading Forum Authors, targeted Mentions downloads (using Rules and sub-queries within the search field in the Mentions tab.

9. Organize conversation data downloads, cleaning up columns, deleting un-needed columns/rows, filtering for site type and putting into separate sheets/tabs in Excel.

10. Enriching the Twitter handles/Instagram handles with additional info about those authors using audience intelligence solutions.

11. If needed, further enriching these titles with add’l social handles using APIs that give us PII (phone, email, address, etc.).

12. Analysis of conversation snippets for insights (junior analysts do this, filling in coding columns and insights columns).

13. Analysis of leading sites.

14. Analysis of leading authors.

15. Upload specific sets of conversation snippets into a tool using the LDA algorithm (Latent Dirichlet Algorithm) for Topic Modeling and Emotions Analysis.

16. Look over analysts’ hand coding work and develop macro insights based upon this work.

17. Look over emotions analysis and topic modeling for add’l insights.

18. Look over the types of people talking (from audience intelligence tools) and add add’l insights.

19. Conduct in-person focus groups, where needed/if required by client (using ideal candidates found from the conversation/audience data analysis).

20. Create final reports with insights, recommendations, appendix and, where needed, the working Excel sheets. Add charts and graphs to Appendix of report.

21. Deliver Insights report to client.

22. Deliver an Excel sheet of the enriched author handles, along with addl charts containing psychographic insights, influencer insights, related to these authors.

23. Deliver Excel sheets from audience intelligence dashboards (includes offline insights from sources like Acxiom and Experian).

24. Go over recommendations one by one with the client.

25. Ask client if there are add’l questions they have. Identify opportunities to collaborate on future research together.

The Advent of Machine Learning as related to Social Listening

The advent of #MachineLearning as related to social listening precipitates a lot of honest-to-God hard work during a transition from human-led to machine-led insights. This will happen because many humans will be needed to create custom attributes and custom classifiers for the machine to use in the new upcoming #AI driven insights industry. Humans teaching the machine to think like we do, to analyze like we do, to understand nuance, culture and the evolution of language (keep in mind, social tech experts, I am referring to a truly global machine analyzing the languages of the world…not just English).

Since there are many gaps in social data, we face an uphill in pairing other data sources to the snippets we get from public sources of conversations. The key to a complete “AI Social Data Intelligence Machine” will be sources such as Axciom, census data, background check sources, private networks like Doximity/A Small World and finally, if possible, the nexus of data from Facebook and Amazon. This particular nexus is a kind of holy grail that the leading machine intelligence experts will eventually open to brand leadership. But previous to such events, we have a grueling journey as analysts, insights researchers and programmers to “teach the machine how to be a human”.

One of the most exciting branches of this “teaching” will be a self-aware machine, an artificial mind that will begin to offer recommendations…and then may decide to act upon these recommendations.

The Power of the Listening Hub for the Enterprise

The purpose of this post is to outline a few best-practice actions as related to set-up and the early months of running a Social Media Command Center (SMCC) within a major brand headquarters. Such pilot programs demonstrate the types of insights and recommendations possible through the implementation of a SMCC.

First, let’s start with some definitions:

DEFINITIONS:

Social Media Command Center (SMCC) – A centrally located space where monitors (or signage screens), PCs and desks are configured for research of social data (and other data as prescribed) by in-house employees and 3rd party vendors. The SMCC provides a way to visualize data in various configurations relative to the needs of the corporation. The focus of research at a SMCC is social data.

The phrase “command center” has become common due to the central data research function relative to a brand’s outlets or regional offices. Insights and recommendations relative to past events, current initiatives and/or future opportunities are distributed from the command center.

A SMCC can be used for actions by various silos (upon approval). Such actions can include Marketing Campaign planning & engagement, PR response, HR discovery, Sales prospecting, Customer Service, Call Center integration, Competitive Intelligence, Customer Intelligence, company overview for the C-Suite and much more.

A fully realized SMCC is more than just a research center. The SMCC can be populated by representatives from each silo/department. The representatives can be authorized to take immediate action on critical issues. Policies can be put into place that give these representatives acceptable parameters for action and response.

For example, Customer Service representatives present within the early-stage SMCC can demonstrate an enhanced response time to resolving customer needs. Other names for a SMCC include Social Listening Center, Listening Center, Social Analytics Research Facility, Web Intelligence Center and Data Research Facility.

Social Data – Data specifically derived from the Internet and social networks, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Slideshare, Instagram, blogs, online forums, websites, and other online communities/networks. The data is public information, meaning it can be accessed by anyone.

VALUE:
The value of a SMCC to a brand or corporation includes:

– provides the possibility to view all mentions of the brand online
– provides the possibility to view all mentions of competitors online
– provides the possibility to discover key influencers as related to the brand, market space and competitors
– provides the possibility to monitor actions by competitors online
– provides customer insights based on conversations online
– provides recommendations for action to be taken in multiple silos at the brand/corporation
– provides recommendations for research projects related to customers, competitors and corporate initiatives

SAMPLE RESEARCH PROJECT SUMMARIES:
The following sample projects demonstrate just a few types of research possible through the use of a SMCC.

Brand Audit – An overview of mentions and sentiment related to the brand. An overview related to brand initiatives using specific search terms. A comprehensive audit of where the brand is being mentioned and by whom. Discovery of key influencers driving opinion about the brand, the maret segment and competitors. A study of competitors’ to the brand and a comparison of mention volume, sentiment and other factors.

Product Launches – As specific new product lines are launched, the SMCC staff can provide key internal decision makers with valuable insights based on mentions.

Marketing Planning Projects – Planning as related to marketing can be enhanced through the use of a SMCC. Specific marketing projects can be created as a result of listening to customer and competitor conversations and noting trending topics. Creatives from the brand & third-party agencies can collaborate in a SMCC while viewing visualizations of mentions and complex query results.

Example: Monitor conversations during brand campaign launches and create on-the-fly sub-marketing campaigns for specific regions/cities based upon mentions. Discover influential voices online (individuals and/or specific sites) that are either detracting or celebrating the brand.

Sales Prospecting Projects – Sales directors can discover prospects for sales teams, along with detailed on these prospects. A SMCC can be used by sales strategists to created finely segmented lists of prospects. The SMCC can also be used to gather and append valuable contact and demographic data to each individual prospect.

Example: Monitor specific regions and deliver B2B prospect lists to enterprise sales staff in those regions. This is based on conversations in those regions by ideal B2B prospects. Deliverable includes a list of B2B prospects in a region with appended contact/social data and intelligence on each prospect (why this is a good prospect for brand business services in that region, along with suggested ways to gain advantage with specific example). The ultimate goal with this project is to demonstrate the efficacy of social data in helping sales leaders close deals for brand Business Services.

Human Resources Discovery – Human Resources can quickly discover ideal candidates for positions within the corporation. Insights on employee sentiment within the brand can be delivered to HR from SMCC analysts. Insights on sentiment of employees at competitors can be delivered to HR also with the SMCC program.

Example: Identify lists of ideal prospects for specific positions at brand and/or brand franchises. Demonstrate how social data can yield ideal prospects for HR purposes. Monitor employee sentiment related to specific initiatives, discover ratings by ex-employees or current staff at sites like Glassdoor.com and LinkedIn.com. Monitor employee sentiment at competitors and discover opportunity for recruitment/head hunting/competitive intelligence. Monitor partners and vendors. Discover core differences between existing partners/vendors and their competitors.

PR Response – Analysts at the SMCC can provide valuable and quick insight into mentions of the brand online. Response times to positive or negative mentions online can be greatly reduced by having one central research hub. In addition, the ability to quickly visualize threats/opportunities, along with ability to append valuable conversation and contact data, will greatly enhance critical PR efficiency. Monitor “watchdog” reports related to specific products at brand.

Example: Monitor specific regions and/or franchisee locations for mentions and sentiment. Develop insights for these regions/franchisees on what customers/local inhabitants are saying about those store locations. Monitor global sentiment relative to competitors – what PR issues are our competitors dealing with. Discover specific threats to the brand. Discover specific social proof (positive trends & mentions) related to the brand.

Customer Service – Customer Service is perhaps the most valuable action within the SMCC. The ability to aggregate/analyze customer sentiment as demonstrated in online conversation and respond quickly to the needs of one’s customers is greatly enhanced in the context of the SMCC. Again, a fully realized SMCC is more than just a research center. The SMCC can be populated by representatives from each silo/department. The representatives can be authorized to take immediate action on critical issues. Policies can be put into place that give these representatives acceptable parameters for action and response. The Customer Service representatives present within the early-stage SMCC can demonstrate an enhanced response time to resolving customer needs.

Example: Monitor specific regions and/or locations for mentions and sentiment. Develop insights for these regions/franchisees on what customers/local inhabitants are saying about those store locations. Monitor mentions related to specific brand products and competitors’ products. Discover venues for providing swifter service, product complaints and other online arenas where brand brand word of mouth is spreading. Recommend specific programs or amendments to existing programs at the brand.

Competitive Intelligence – The SMCC can provide insights related to activities by competitors online, and also to the customers, vendors and employees of these competitors. As a sub-set of this research, we can monitor partners and vendors.

Transmedia, OnDemand and the power of listening to audiences

By Nathaniel Hansen, CEO, The Socializers

If more Marketing Managers at Fortune 500 companies/major media companies truly understood the potential of future media delivery channels like GoogleTV PAIRED WITH “content-informing-intelligence”, there would be a mass re-organization of dinosaur-age ad/marketing agencies whose teams have yet to even train in social monitoring/intelligence tools AND have none of the talent-identification capabilities that a CAA or William Morris has. Those same Marketing Managers would then turn to social business agencies for the following process:

(a) pre-product dev intelligence gathering/listening,
(b) demographic-savvy content/product design RELATED TO what is discovered/analyzed from conversations in the social fabric of the internet,
(c) Relationship Architecting with related Social Strategy to identify ideal Key Influencers (and their content), thus paving the way for seamless and swift introduction of said content into the fabric of communities hungry for it,
(d) on-going listening that creates a virtuous cycle of this process.

The future leaders of transmedia will use the process above as just one of their approaches in expanding possibility for those who interact with media, advertisers, media/content producers AND communications entities. Transmedia and the associated processes that will bring this fabulous new way of interactive relationship to programming IS the future of CONTENT IDENTIFICATION AND PRODUCTION.

Colin Donald of FUTURESCAPE.TV says it best in the following comment on an article entitled Struggling for control: The humble channel-zapper is evolving in ways that will shape television’s futurein a recent edition of The Economist magazine:

“Internet-connected TVs lead to massively increased choice and require next-generation EPGs to help viewers navigate the wealth of content.

One solution backed by many in the industry, like Rovi, is to develop social EPGs that let friends recommend TV shows and videos to each other, via social networks or via systems which use data from social networks.
However, the implications are even more radical than your article suggests.

When Futurescape.TV recently researched this nascent social TV sector, we concluded that Facebook and Twitter are already battling for key roles in the TV industry as Internet-connected televisions transform TV into a social medium.

The two social networks have an actual or potential commercial role across the entire TV value chain.

For instance:
Global pay-TV, estimated at $250bn in 2014, needs social recommendation and discovery services because these encourage viewers to subscribe to more expensive packages and buy more video-on-demand – Facebook and Twitter are both major providers of social data.

Facebook in particular has a highly developed social graph of people’s relationship with entertainment content, from the ubiquitous Like button, integrated into many broadcasters’ Web sites. Both it and Twitter own considerable, detailed data about people’s behaviour, such as discussing TV shows and sharing links to videos.

As your article described, set-top box middleware and EPG providers similarly need social network data for recommendation and discovery – the European EPG market alone will be worth $555m by 2014.

TV manufacturers’ strategy to provide video-on-demand direct to viewers also requires social recommendation, while their connected TV apps enable viewers to interact with Facebook and Twitter on home TV sets. Facebook aims to tap the $180bn worldwide TV ad market, competing with broadcasters for brand advertising – Google TV and similar Web-on-TV systems will put Facebook and Twitter targeted ads on TV screens.

Facebook and Twitter buzz affects TV ratings, while broadcasters that use the social networks for viewer engagement are effectively sharing their audiences with them.

The social networks know in real time how people react to TV programming – this is an essential supplement to Nielsen-type viewing data.

Integrating social networks with EPGs is only one manifestation of a profound and permanent change in the television industry, a change through which Facebook and Twitter are positioning themselves as major industry players.”

The teams working on Oprah’s new cable channel and on eBook sales strategy at Bertelsmann’s Random House are contending with issues related to the new possibilities in transmedia and how to make content delivery platforms lucrative for their shareholders WHILE giving users the most flexibility in interacting with their portfolios of content. Those media publishers who acknowledge the value in being customer-centric vs. product-centric in their offering AND develop platforms that allow maximum interactivity WILL win!

To quote Ali Valdez, a senior Microsoft sales leader, “Their customers will be their marketers. Their customers’ social network friends will be their new customers. Full transparency, good and bad, will drive innovation and competitive pricing. The consumer will win. Those brands that enable consumer victory will share in the bounty.”

TO SUM UP: Combining research from tools like Recorded Future, the world’s first temporal analytics engine (a video intro to Recorded Future here), and Radian6, a leading social media/network monitoring solution, media companies now have the opportunity to LISTEN to audiences that have OPTED OUT of traditional marketing channels and are OPTING INTO new, socially chosen/recommended channels. They then are able to match valuable information from conversations within the social fabric of the internet WITH market trends and probable future events to create product/service/content offerings with previously un-paralleled precision. Existing portfolios of content may be re-purposed into countless monetizable and USER-GENERATED interactive communities.

Understanding the future requires observation and listening and it is a Chief Customer Officer who will teach this to marketing staff, brand managers and community managers.