How to use social listening to create consumer insight briefs
by Henry Chapman on February 17, 2023
Reasons to create social listening insight briefs
In this fast-paced world, staying ahead of the news and information curve is essential to almost every kind of business planning – from financial and political forecasting, to making relevant creative and digital storytelling choices.
But knowing what is happening is just a first step. Understanding the impact of the emerging event is critical to forming solid responses, and making data-backed action plans.
Social listening research is a wonderful tool to understand how people are responding: researchers get quick results on wide-ranging topics from politics to consumer branded goods, in real time. We use Infegy Atlas social listening tools to get a data-backed summary of the emerging events that come across our radar.
While we never quite know where they will take us, Infegy Insight Briefs always offer new and surprising perspectives on current events. Here, I outline the process the team uses to research and generate the insights that go into an Infegy Atlas Insight Brief.
Creating a social listening insight brief
Find a newsworthy event
The first step in creating an Insight Brief is finding an interesting event that's breaking in the news. The actual topic itself can be wide-ranging or specific. Social listening makes this step especially easy, as you can search for topics that range from politics to economics to social entertainment news. On a social listening tool like Infegy Atlas, you can even run a search to see what’s trending on a particular social channel, and use that as a jumping-off point.
Don’t just start with finance or politics. In the social-media connected world, it’s often random cultural events that trigger a landslide of brand visibility! For example lyrics in Shakira’s BZRP collaboration, Music Sessions #53 triggered a tidal wave of brand exposure for four different brands.
Get a bird's-eye-view of trends
Once you've identified a topic, start by looking at the post volume and an overview of trends. This will give you a general idea of how the topic is unfolding online, and often, by proxy, in the real world. Zooming out can provide historical context and help you ask general questions about the topic. When post volume surges, that event has risen to the top of social media users’ consciousness.
You can also get historical context for growing or shrinking industries. We did this for our Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) Insight Brief, and found that BNPL companies had surged in popularity on social media over the last 10 years. That surge in popularity keyed us into the potential importance of the topic, and drove further exploration.
Figure 1: Post volume for top Buy Now Pay Later companies, highlighting the emergence of Apple to the BNPL scene; Infegy Atlas data.
Understand the context of the conversation by viewing topic clusters
Next, I check out Infegy Narratives. Narratives shows clustered documents (posts and articles that are related to each other by theme or topic) and gives a good overview of which types of conversations are prevalent over others.
Additionally, you can also see how clusters of conversation are related to each other. This can give you much needed relational context in your research, so you don’t get siloed into one particular topic, and miss the forest for the trees.
We did this for our research into 2022 midterm election issues.
Figure 2: This shows Infegy Atlas's new clustering narratives around Joe Biden; Infegy Atlas data.
We found that inflation dominated conversations around the election. Other topics, such as immigration, student loans, and oil prices also played major roles in voters' decision making process.
Look at the main players in the conversation
To dive deeper into the specifics, I look into the entities (notable people, brands, products) in the conversation. Infegy Atlas makes this easy with pre-built recognition capabilities called Entities.
Our proprietary artificial intelligence recognizes companies, people, and products on a granular level. This happens automatically with no tweaking or coding required, and gives you a really interesting perspective on the specifics attached to a space.
My favorite example of using this in the last year was when we tracked specific areas of the Ukraine conflict using Infegy Atlas. Using Entity detection, we found that HIMARS, or a multiple launch rocket system, was frequently mentioned as being present around the Kherson region right before the Ukrainians took the city back from the Russians.
Figure 3: Infegy Atlas Entity table showing frequency of weapons posts in the context of a Kherson search; Infegy Atlas data.
Understand the social persona of the social media authors
Finally, I like to look at the demographics of the posters themselves. Infegy can detect age, gender, and self-described source bios, which can give you interesting insights into why people are reacting in a certain way.
We did this in our exploration of US conversation around a potential gas stove ban by the Biden administration after researchers found troubling links between the kitchen appliance and childhood asthma.
Contrary to our expectations, we found that self-identified conservatives complained much louder than cooks. This was evidenced by their source bios which used words like “MAGA” or “Trump.”
Figure 4: Most common source bios of social media users discussing gas stoves; Infegy Atlas data.
Understand audiences and public impact with social media intelligence
Creating an Insight Brief is a great way to stay ahead of the curve and have a better understanding of what's happening in the world. By following these five steps, you'll have a comprehensive overview of the topic, learn how people (audiences and consumers) feel, and be able to make informed decisions because you’ve captured useful insights from your data.