How to Increase Social Data Value: Add Context Over Time

By nature, social posts may seem fleeting. When sentiments expressed on social channels are analyzed over the course of weeks, months or even years, patterns emerge that can improve marketing campaigns in the future.

Social media is every marketer’s not-so-secret weapon. Acting as a direct link between brands and consumers, social platforms offer marketers the chance to learn the factors driving customers’ habits, preferences and buying decisions.

Customer-service representatives can respond to claims made on social media in real-time, while executives can use social to build their online identities and connect with audiences on a one-to-one level.

However, despite these benefits, one of the most valuable aspects of social media remains overlooked by many organizations: historical data.

By nature, social posts may seem fleeting. When sentiments expressed on social channels are analyzed over the course of weeks, months or even years, patterns emerge that can improve marketing campaigns in the future.

Below are three creative ways marketers can analyze historical social data to make informed decisions about the future of their industries.

Ride the momentum of a growing pop-culture trend

According to Entertainment Weekly, the most recent season of Game of Thrones averaged more than 23 million viewers per episode, setting new records for both the show and HBO as a network.

Even if you’re not one of those viewers, you’ve probably noticed something about the show: There are a ton of characters, and they change often. With more than 150 characters playing the “game,” marketers in all industries looking to benefit from the series’ momentum should be sure to put the most-loved characters front and center in their campaigns.

Since the show changes each week, it’s particularly important to consider the reactions and sentiments audiences have shared about characters over time–not just immediately after an episode ends.

According to social analysis, two Game of Thrones characters are mentioned on social media more than any others: Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow. Each character’s share of voice is consistent over time.

It’s also worth noting that 52 percent of the conversation surrounding Daenerys is associated with joyful sentiments, a number 10 percent higher than any other character–and more than twice as much as Jon Snow.

If marketers are looking to capitalize on popularity and likeability as they tie campaigns into the Seven Kingdoms’ lore, relying on imagery and language about Dany’s character and story is their best bet.

Learn what will resonate with your audience

Years ago, the fat-free trend ruled the world of nutrition and dieting. Today? Not so much. According to an analysis of the top phrases mentioned on social media in a nutrition context, consumers are increasingly happy about the “good fats” in their food. Compared to traditionally popular points of interest in the industry, including vitamins and natural ingredients, positive sentiments about good fats have nearly doubled since 2010.

This shift might dictate menu planning, recipe promotion and the types of foods that restaurant marketers choose to highlight in content (such as the avocado toast featured on your favorite brunch spot’s Instagram). For the rest of the industry, it’s a powerful lesson in learning how to deliver the experiences and services that bring customers joy.

Adapt to market changes in real time, not retroactively

In 2014, Airbnb became more popular among consumers than major hotel chains. The company has since become a mainstream travel option that paved the way for sharing-economy businesses to thrive.

However, it wasn’t always this way: In 2010, mentions of Airbnb on social media were rare, and many people contributing to the conversation were tentatively looking for tips and recommendations from others.

Analyzing Airbnb’s explosive growth over time, the demographics of users talking about the service and the social impact of the sharing economy movement gives marketers the chance to learn how to promote the same spirit of growth and predict trends in their own industries.

Your team probably has a process for monitoring social channels for customer feedback. By taking this monitoring a step further and applying historical social context to your ongoing marketing strategies, you can ensure your brand’s actions help form lasting relationships with customers while delivering the results and features they need most.

John Donnelly III is senior vice president of global sales and marketing at social data provider Crimson Hexagon.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.