In 2005, hedge fund manager Michael Burry was sat in his New York office staring at a multitude of data relating to high-risk subprime loans. Combining the datasets and his well trained eye, the information was telling him one thing: the United States housing market was becoming very unstable. To cut a very long financial tale short, he bet against market-based mortgage-backed securities and made $2.69 million based on a trend he saw in the data.
Identifying data trends and reacting to them in a timely, relevant, effective manner before your competition is a surefire way to improve customer engagement. Primary research or market research are no longer the only ways to know your market; social media insights through listening help you to see what’s happening right now, in real time. You can unearth the interests and intentions of your audience, their concerns and motivations.
As you’re able to collect unprompted customer comments, you can listen to specific industry or category-relevant conversations and then analyse to see if new, unknown topics are coming up. The insight can be used across your business – by product development teams, marketing and communications teams, brand teams – it all depends on the angle taken when starting the research.
Here’s how social media insights you can gain a competitive edge:
Insight analysis is live research using user-generated content. Before you go anywhere with your analysis, though, you should define your goals. What is it you’re actually looking to find? It could be a macro trend, specific audience behaviours, feedback, negative sentiment. Whatever it is, honing in on specifics will save you from trawling through masses of data
These social media listening features help you identify insights at the click of a button:
Remember a few summers ago when everyone filmed themselves being doused in icy cold water? The Ice Bucket Challenge can be attributed to the ALS Association (Motor Neurone Disease Association in the UK) recognising an emerging trend with social media insights – people recording themselves doing ridiculous things like eating a spoonful of cinnamon – and creating a campaign (soon, trend) that would further their own message. They raised US$115 million in the summer of 2014 alone from people dousing themselves in icy water and inviting others to either do the same or donate to ALS.
ALS knew that when finding actionable social media insights, you should look out for:
When a brand knows what trends are affecting their industry, driving consumer behaviour, they gain the upper hand. The difficult part is knowing how to find these insights, and identifying them in a timely manner – cutting through all the noise to reach the right conclusions at the right time.
Using social media insights to identify trends and topics can help to improve conversions and maximise your returns from social media marketing. Discover changes in how people buy products, what the next big fad is and how lifestyles are changing to give you valuable insights that can be used across the business and inform future product or service developments.
It could be you, sitting there looking at the data, that identifies the next big trend. Let’s just hope it’s a bit more positive than what Michael Burry saw over a decade ago…