How to use social listening for industry trends and SEO keyword research
by Hephzibah Dutt on May 17, 2023
Series: Social Intelligence for Content Strategy - Part III
One of the key benefits of social listening is its ability to help you stay on top of industry trends and see how and which keywords and topics drive engagement. You can use these insights to craft a content strategy that captures your target audience!
Here, we conclude our three-part blog series on ways to strengthen your marketing content strategy using social listening:
- Build personas
- Analyze your competitors’ content strategies
- Assess the effectiveness of your content with social media benchmarks
- Stay on top of industry trends
- Gain keyword insights and conduct topic research
In particular, we focus on applying social media insights to steps four and five from the list above. Be sure to check out how to use your social listening solution to build personas for your content strategy in Part I and how to analyze competitor strategies and content effectiveness in Part II of this series!
Why use social intelligence to stay on top of industry trends?
You know that matching your content strategy to industry trends helps you create fresh, timely, and relevant content for your audience. Staying ahead of the curve with unique content is a great differentiator in a crowded market.
But how do you see and latch on to industry trends while they are still on the upswing?
Well, there are several methods, including traditional market research and attending conferences with your peers and industry experts. However, these are often expensive and cost you the very resource that is precious when it comes to trends – time!
Your social listening platform lets you jump to the head of the line!
Social listening not only gives you fresh, unfiltered perspectives on consumer interests and passions, but it also gives you actionable trends insights in a fraction of the time. In fact, top social listening solutions like Infegy Atlas process queries in seconds, not minutes.
In a previous article, “The Beginners Guide to Spotting Consumer Trends Early,” we discuss how to use social listening to research industry trends in greater detail. Here, we will hone in on social media analytics that inform content strategy.
And yes, we are sticking with social listening to Star Wars conversations online for our illustrations!
Using social media analytics to discover relevant industry trends
A recent social listening dive for tips on building audience segments revealed a surge in the popularity of content franchise collectibles, specifically Lego kits. We decided to see whether this interest in figurines and collectibles was an industry trend that applied to the Star Wars conversation.
Sure enough, a general query into Star Wars revealed a significant interest in Star Wars-branded Lego collectibles. We saw a 123% increase in post volume about Lego within the Star Wars conversation over the past three years. Sentiment analysis shows that the conversation is 88% positive. We also see that the Skywalker saga and The Mandalorian are frequently discussed in relation to Lego (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Top Topics within the Star Wars conversation with “Lego” highlighted (April 2020 - April 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
Diving into the data on Lego as a topic within Star Wars conversations online, we found that a huge percentage of people convey an interest in collecting Star Wars-branded Legos and Lego kits. There’s also a subgenre of people discussing photography of Star Wars-branded Lego figurines (Figure 2). Looking at the age distribution of people posting about these topics, we found that the largest group consists of users aged 25-34, indicating a distinctly adult audience.
Figure 2: Top hashtags in the conversation around Star Wars and Lego (2020-2023); Infegy Atas data.
Figure 3: Age histogram showing distributions of social media users likely to post about Star Wars (April 2020 through April 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
From a content standpoint, popular and trending sub-interests (here, Lego collectibles, photography of branded items) within your primary content area (Star Wars) can open doors for many content deliverables! For example, knowing that branded Lego figurines are a high-demand area of interest, the Star Wars brand could create tutorials on best practices for photographing Lego figurines for “action shots” or create social posts and ads where Star Wars Lego figurines feature instead of human actors.
We followed the breadcrumb trail behind the popularity of the term “Black.” We found a sizeable conversation about Star Wars The Black Series. The consumers discussing this interest speak about it with highly positive emotions: Joy and Trust metrics are 22% each, and Love and Anticipation are at 19% and 12%, respectively (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Top Emotions associated with Star Wars (April 2020 through April 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
The Black Series, owned by Hasbro, creates premium, high-dollar action figures with a wide range of accessories. We found that conversation about Star Wars Black collectibles grew by 36% over the last three years and that 89% of the conversation is positive.
Using social listening tools to find related areas of interest allows you to become more comprehensive in your strategy; you can cover a broader range of topics that are still relevant to your target audience!
So, ask yourself, “What are emerging trends are in my industry?” Then use social media analytics to learn how that trend is resonating with or developing for your specific audience. Use those insights to create content that would educate, entertain or capture your audience’s attention.
Related: Experiential Marketing That Captivates And Converts: Using Social Intelligence To Personalize Brand Interactions And Target Your Audience. Download the free eBook!
Social listening for keyword and topic insights
Since social listening relies on conversations people have organically online, social media analytics reveal related areas of interest that rarely show up in traditional search or surveys.
Conducting keyword research with your social listening tool will help you identify the search terms and phrases your target audience uses to find information related to your industry. This, in turn, will lead you to keywords and topics that are optimized for search engines, making your content more likely to be discovered by your target audience.
For Star Wars, we began with an Entities analysis using Infegy Atlas. This analysis returns the people, places, brands, and items that appear most frequently in conversations about Star Wars. It will also show you the frequency with which any of these Entities appear, allowing you to determine relevant keywords.
While you can think of the top Entities as keywords or topics to include in content, you can go even deeper with your social listening solution!
Infegy Narratives can quickly cluster and categorize millions of social posts and news articles into easily digestible categories, jump-starting your search for relevant insight. Use this topic-clustering feature to identify the most frequently-used topics related to your industry. You'll also be able to see the nuances of how topic clusters are associated with each other.
Since keywords are topics that people mention when they’re looking for content online, you can use topic cluster labels as keywords to target the content that people are talking about. They also point to topics that are current in posts and surfacing with regularity.
Figure 5: Narratives connected with Star Wars (April 2020 through April 2023); Infegy Atlas data.
Our Narratives analysis of Star Wars shows different related clusters and content pieces that people are searching for. We observed a “Jon Favreau” cluster close to the “The Mandalorian” cluster. We also saw that director-related discussions (George Lucas) are close to the “Jon Favreau” cluster and “Michael Ardent” cluster. These are all related conversation clusters that show that people aren’t just talking about Lucas or the original Star Wars Trilogy. They discuss other directors and the newer parts of the franchise with great frequency. Use these insights to build out topics for your content calendar!
Narratives gives us a cluster of conversations summarized under “Avatar,” “James Cameron” (who directed Avatar and other blockbusters and special effects-driven movies), and “The Force Awakens.” At first, this may seem odd since Avatar is typically considered a Star Wars competitor within the sci-fi/fantasy genre. However, Narratives clustering them together reveals that there are underlying commonalities in the conversations around the three. If you were the Star Wars brand, you could dive into the subcluster to determine further keywords or topics that connect the Star Wars world and the Avatar world or look into competitor keywords around Avatar to make your content appear for their audiences.
In this way, social listening analytics not only reveal keywords that you may not know are relevant to your topic or industry, but they can also give you deeper contextualization than what a search engine would give you. This allows you to expand your SEO tactics, confident that these connections exist.
Use social listening to keep your content timely and relevant!
If you have a social listening platform as part of your research matrix, you don't need to wait on traditional market research to start creating cutting-edge, relevant content.
Social listening data allows you to hone in on the trends that matter to your business. It will also guide you to keywords and topics that may not seem directly related to your business but are indeed interesting to your target audience.
We’d love to hear from you if you want to learn more about how social listening can boost your research and consumer insights! Reach out for a custom demo today!