The Consumer Intelligence Blog - Infegy

Learn How Barefoot Proximity Uses Social Listening for Key Insights

Consumer experience strategy agency Barefoot Proximity knows a thing or two about using technology to help brands win big with data.

Their Strategy and Channel Integration teams use over 380 different tools to find those all-important insights to lead brands to accurate data-driven strategies.

One way they do this? They leverage the game-changing, a.i.-driven social listening insights from tools like Infegy Atlas to uncover hidden trends, pitch new business, map the consumer journey and further investigate data from other sources.

They dig. They dig deep.

As we do with all of our client partners, we’ve worked closely with Barefoot Proximity to help them use social listening and also learn how they’ve best used the tools.

One thing we can say for sure: Barefoot is using the analytics in new and innovative ways that we haven’t seen before. Other agencies and brands can take a lesson on their strategic approach and apply these techniques themselves to conduct better consumer research.

We sat down with two impactful members of their team, Valerie Robbe and Brian MacDonald from their Channel Integration team to learn more about the clever and strategic ways they use social listening.

Here’s how Barefoot Proximity uses social listening data to find previously unknown insights related to their clients’ brands:


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Monitoring Industry Trends and Competitors

Tracking and monitoring industry trends and competitive analysis are classic examples of social listening use cases.

However, Barefoot has a strategic approach that allows for ultra-effective research within social listening tools.

What sets their social listening analysis apart is their mindset.

“We use social listening most for monitoring industry trends and addressing issues or concerns in a given brand’s community,” MacDonald said. “These trends are both proactive and reactive P.R.-focused monitoring.”

Robbe says they utilize listening to see what consumers think about various issues that matter to them.

For example, food and beverage clients need to know if people are concerned about nitrates in specific foods or how animals are treated. If there’s a news story about nutrition or ingredients, they need to keep constant tabs on the pulse of the community and make sure they’re ahead of any needs, concerns or pain points.

“A lot of times, clients will come to us with a specific need or concern and we’ll jump into action to quickly see how their consumers think or feel.” Robbe said.

Additionally, the Barefoot team needs to keep a close eye on client competitors.

“We use social listening for competitive monitoring to see what CPG brands are putting on their packaging and reactions to that to see if that’s something they should be doing as well,” MacDonald explained. “If they’re making changes or adding new things to their packaging, we need to know immediately if those changes are something our client’s community would want or need as well.”

Social listening allows for quick and in-depth consumer insights that can’t really be accessed anywhere else. And the Barefoot team has found a way to make the data work for them by using a specific strategic approach.

The following attributes of the Barefoot Proximity social listening process make them more likely to succeed:

They’re proactive-- they have preset hypotheses heading into research instead of just going in blindly. They are also in lock-step with their clients, keeping in constant communication to know ahead of time what kind of information they need to look for.  

They’re always asking questions-- At each step of the research process, they’re asking appropriate questions about what the data means, why consumers are talking the way they are online, and what each data point means for the big picture for whichever brand their tracking or listening for.

They’re people focused-- too many researchers and analysts get side-tracked by numbers and charts. Social listening insights are consumer-driven. When you see 12% of online posts are expressing the emotion of Love, the researcher should hone in on what is loved by the consumer and dig further on that analysis. Always remember: these insights are about people, not numbers.

In the next use cases for social listening leveraged by the Barefoot team, we’ll see some examples of those three elements in practice.

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New Business and Brand Analysis

If you need quick brand insights and analysis of brand health in a pinch leading up to a pitch, social listening provides that data, the Barefoot team says.

The technical capabilities, research data, and easy user experience lend themselves well to finding instant insights that can be compiled and analyzed by the team to prepare for a business pitch.

“If you need to get a quick snapshot of the brand health or analyze their competitors before you pitch, these insights help you bring the right thinking to the table.” Robbe said.

The Barefoot Proximity team can be quick on their feet in gathering ultra-accurate data and use it to gain an understanding of the prospect’s brand health, the state of their industry and data-driven competitor analysis.

Personas and Journey Mapping

It’s a challenge finding important information about a target audience and potential customers in that endless sea of noise out there.

Just think about how much people talk online. There are hundreds of millions of pieces of content, in one form or the other, created online every minute.

The internet moves at blinding speeds. You need a way to keep up.

Social listening allows for agency teams like Barefoot Proximity keep a close eye on their target audiences to see what it is they care about and discuss.

As we mentioned earlier, monitoring industry trends and competitors are key components to successful social listening strategies.

By keeping up with those hidden trends and understanding the context of consumer situations, the Barefoot team is able to build more accurate personas, and then, subsequently build an accurate customer journey.

They use social listening to find out the role their clients and brands can play in the customer journey by understanding an audience’s needs and seeing how they can be in a position to meet those needs at each stage of the journey.

“Once we learn specific consumer behaviors and see where they might be interested in something that’s in that brand’s space, we then develop strategies for our clients on new ways to understand and reach them.” Robbe said. “Helping provide information like barriers for the brand or potential ways the brand’s product or services can meet the needs of the particular consumer is a great way to implement these insights.”

The team has a healthcare client that they’ve helped by identifying crucial data around the patient experience that they wouldn’t find anywhere else.

They look at behaviors or sentiment around someone who was recently in a hospital or has an ongoing condition that is being treated and are able to look at the entire life cycle of the patient. They can understand their needs or pain points and the important aspects of the overall experience.

“If we find that if a cancer patient has fatigue and is struggling with their side effects, how can our client better meet that person’s needs and better assist them?” Robbe said. “This is information they may not have unless they are able to listen online.”

Barefoot Proximity has utilized these insights effectively, providing new information about consumers and how clients such as hospitals can understand and assist their patients at all the various stages of their journey, and furthermore, map out future consumer journeys for future patients.

That level of preparation and predictiveness demonstrates the smart and exhaustive research methods the team goes through and that other agencies and brands can strive for in their social insights analysis.

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Organic and Paid Search Analysis

One of the more novel approaches we’ve seen leveraging social listening analysis is search engine keyword research to understand people’s online behavior and how it relates to what they talk about online.

We’re really excited to discover this unique way social listening can be used to find more key insights about different types of audiences.

The concept is pretty simple, actually.

The Barefoot team monitors search terms people are using surrounding a specific brand or topic, then researches those terms within the social listening platform.

This accomplishes a few things:

  • It helps discover and analyze new questions, pain points and needs customers have
  • It uncovers what people who search those terms might already be talking about those topics
  • It provides demographics, emotions, interests and other key insights about similar people who might be conducting those searches
  • It validates and/or verifies if paid and organic search and SEO strategies are successful

Let’s use the example of healthcare again.

If people search for their symptoms or healthcare experiences, there’s a good chance the same types of people are also talking about those experiences online.

“If they have a headache, they might search for a specific term around a remedy or medication,” MacDonald said. “Then later they will talk about those treatments online, so we’re looking for analysis on similar audiences that are searching for these various terms.”

This use case is proof in the power of being creative with research in social insights tools.

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The Barefoot Proximity team has learned to be nimble and to ask the right questions when conducting consumer research within social listening.

Better yet, they’ve pushed the platform to make it work harder for them, and they’ve challenged conventional thinking around their research. This means that they get even better insights for their clients than even we could have predicted.

The Barefoot Proximity team sets the bar high for consumer research and analysis. They have put together a blueprint for success using social listening that all teams should emulate.

To learn more about how Barefoot Proximity and other top notch agencies and enterprise brands succeed with the game-changing insights provided by social listening, get in touch with us today for a free personalized demo.