The invention of the Web was the first major step in bringing consumers into the digital age, but Web 2.0, which we all know better as social media, was arguably a much more significant shift because it put the true power of the web into the hands of everybody.
It represented such a fundamental step-change in the way consumers research their buying decisions and make purchases that marketers are still trying to come to terms with social media, over a decade since the most popular platforms launched. They’re having to innovate faster, deliver campaigns across more channels, and address more audiences than ever before. Agility is key.
Focus on Customer-Centricity
By putting the customer at the heart of everything you do, it’s easier to meet these challenges. That means understanding the needs, beliefs and values of customers, and addressing them proactively. Embracing this philosophy will enable businesses to adapt and optimize their marketing activity quickly enough to achieve a real impact.
As the last few years have shown us, the world can change dramatically in a very short space of time, so it’s important for brands to be ready to re-define their role they play in consumers’ lives.
In the past brands which wanted to become consumer-centric relied on retrospective research methods which provide a snapshot of consumer opinion at a specific point in the recent past. The world moves too quickly for this approach to be useful anymore. Businesses need that data in real-time, without sacrificing depth and reliability.
Beyond Social Listening
Social listening goes some way to providing that real-time insight that modern brands need but, while it’s capable of giving you a live view of consumer opinion, it lacks the depth and quality that can be achieved with conventional market research methodologies.
The tools available in conventional social listening platforms are simplistic. They rely on a generic keyword-based approach which does not provide context or relevancy, and if any useful insight is to be gained from these tools they require skilled analysts to make sense of huge volumes of unstructured data.
Despite early promise, social listening has often struggled to make major inroads into many organizations.
This is where Consumer Intelligence comes in, as the next evolution of social listening technology. Consumer Intelligence involves gathering and analyzing information about customers to gain a deeper understanding of their real behaviors and attitudes, instead of relying on preconceptions, thereby enabling the business to make better informed decisions based on real insight.
Getting to the Insights Quicker
At Linkfluence our goal is to offer businesses the best of both worlds. The immediacy and always-on benefits of social listening, coupled with the depth and reliability of robust, proven market research methodologies. Simply put, we want to help businesses get better and faster insights that can make a genuine impact.
While many businesses are fully on board with the principle of using consumer insight across the entire organization, the practical reality is that it’s often difficult for marketing executives (who are usually those responsible for this task) to find insights from social data that are truly actionable and can deliver real value. As a consequence, they tend to under-utilize consumer insights platforms.
We’re trying to solve that problem by making actionable insights easier to surface, and easier to socialize within your business. So that means solving two problems:
- How can people who are not data scientists or analysts extract meaningful insights from social data?
- How can consumer insights be applied across the entire business so that they are acted upon instead of living only inside presentation slides, never adding value?
The first of these problems is a huge technical challenge, but one which Linkfluence (and our parent company, Meltwater) has focused a lot of resources on addressing.
Weaknesses of Conventional Social Listening Tools
One of the weaknesses of conventional social listening tools is that they give the user huge volumes of unstructured data, leaving them to decipher it unaided. We use AI to structure all of the data our platform ingests, so every single item of content in our data stream is categorized by topic to three levels of granularity (e.g. sports -> soccer – > Manchester United).
This immediately makes it much simpler to interrogate the data, ensuring that queries return highly relevant results and eliminating noise. On top of this, we add an element of human oversight, employing the skills of analysists with market research expertise and deep knowledge of vertical markets, to ensure that our platform is providing users with actionable insights, and not just data charts.
Furthermore, our main focus this year is making it even easier for users to uncover insights without the assistance of our own analysts, using new AI tools that help them automatically identify useful information hidden in social data.
To address the second problem, getting those insights to different teams across the business so that they make sense and can be acted upon, we use what we call Insight Pages. These are specialized dashboards which are designed specifically for a wide range of common use cases, and structured specifically for the needs of marketers and c-suite executives who need insights to drive their decision making.
An Insight Page can be shared with stakeholders across your organization, and there’s no need for them to have a login for our platform. They can be used as-is for common use cases, or customized by the user for the needs of their particular application.
We believe that social data can offer incredible insights for businesses, and that it shouldn’t be hard to get to those insights, and as our platform evolves we remain focused on enabling marketers and researchers to get insights more quickly and easily than ever.
Linkfluence will be joining the upcoming Qual360 Europe 2022 on 5-6 April in Berlin! Meet them there and schedule a face-to-face meeting to find out more about their latest innovation.
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