What areas are going to define social listening in 2018?

Sometimes it felt like you couldn’t close your eyes in 2017 for all the changes in the social landscape; from Twitter’s character-chasing to influencer wars on Instagram, it was all systems go, go go. (If you don’t know what we’re talking about, read our recap of 2017 here.) But that’s the nature of social – it’s a constantly evolving beast. And we expect even more changes for social listening in 2018, both on the platforms themselves and in the way we engage.

Social expert Guilhem Fouetillou – Co-founder and Chief Evangelist Officer at Linkfluence – has taken out his crystal ball. Here he makes five predictions for social listening in the coming 12 months.

AI makes an impact on image recognition

social listening in 2018

As the visual web grows in size, consumers are revealing more about themselves than they could ever write. Billions of images are shared every day on digital platforms – and a large percentage of these are public. By analyzing these images, we can dig deeper into consumers behaviors, attitudes, and experiences. In recent months, new AI capabilities have created a shift in terms of the volume of images analyzed, but more critical for social listening in 2018 is what AI can identify in these images: brands, people, gender, age, objects, locations, products. We can now deeply analyze millions of visual feeds which are essentially life logs that give us the key to understanding consumers as never before.  

To get influencer marketing right, listen first

influencers

Laila Loves vs. Kim Kardashian. Source: Influence Marketing Hub.

The last couple of years has been all about influencer marketing. We’re moving from a celebrity marketing approach to micro-influencer marketing, replacing global celebs with hundreds of micro-influencers neatly connected to highly-engaged communities. At Linkfluence we analyze more than 200 million conversations each day for our clients, from millions of different sources and social accounts. By aggregating all of their conversations, we build a deep knowledge of who they are, what they talk about, who they reach, so at the end, they know how influential the influencer really is. This knowledge is key to effective influencer marketing – social listening allows you to identify and refine influencer targets in real time, globally, at scale.

Brand monitoring is dead; long live brand tracking

Brand monitoring traditionally structured itself as a surveillance activity to identify potential threats to a brand and evaluate their spread. It then became a performance issue, measuring the volume of conversations about a brand as an indicator of the brand’s digital health. Now more and more brand tracking experts are starting to look at social data to renew their understanding of brand perception. But volume and sentiment are not sufficient enough to track brand attributes over time. Social brand tracking will be a key trend for social listening in 2018 and will transform the way brands perceive themselves and how the digital world shapes brand equity. Traditional methodologies won’t be replaced by these new approaches, but challenged – and at the end, enriched – by these billions of unsolicited conversations.  

Reconnecting social data to IRL moments

Because more and more conversations and other ‘social traces’ we produce are geolocalized thanks to our penchant for showing places and locations in the photos we share, geofencing is becoming part of the social listening lexicon. Ways of interrogating social data not only based on words but also on what we call “proxies” to access to experiences are broadened by these new innovations. Brands can listen to all conversations located in a specific place to hyper-target campaigns. Excitingly, they can monitor every conversation taking place in a list of given shops, restaurants, institutions, public places, airports, theatres, music festivals, stadiums, arenas, and so on, at a specific moment – such as during an event, opening hours, on a Friday night or weekend – independently of what’s being said or shared. This gives social listening a new boost, reconnecting social data to physical, “IRL” moments.

Privacy matters (more and more)


The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law is coming in May 2018, indicating the global trend for governments and citizens to make platforms and industries accountable for the social data they aggregate, analyze, and rely on to create value. We at Linkfluence have believed for a long time now that the more transparency exists between the listeners and the listened to, the more ethical and sustainable it is for our industry. Listening to people who want to be heard – by broadcasting thoughts and images on public forums – and listening to them at that moment only, is what differentiates social listening from most big data approaches tracking digital experience. Transparency and consent, not stealth, is what sets social listening apart from the crowd.

Ready to listen?

social listening in 2018

The best way to keep on top of your social strategy and brand perceptions in 2018 is through using a social insights platform. Get in touch with our social experts to learn more about how social data can improve your strategy.

 

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