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How Agencies Can Speak for Brands Using Social Data

By Jordan Hanson  •  May 24, 2016


How Agencies Can Speak for Brands Using Social Data

Posted by: Jordan Hanson on May 24, 2016

Good news: your agency receives an RFP to improve a brand's public perception. You have great ideas and a pitch meeting coming up.

Bad news: the clock is ticking and you're on a deadline.

Normally, preliminary research efforts are going to involve surveys, public polling, focus groups, you name it. These steps take time, resources, and consistent diligence to make sure your results are accurate. Doesn't that sound more complicated than it needs to be?

You're right. Social media intelligence tools offer many of the strengths behind each of these resources, delivering more flexibility and the ability to deliver powerful insights in less time.

Here are a few ways agencies can use social media market research to better understand their clients' target consumers:

  1. Perform trend analysis to understand how consumer opinions are shifting over time.
  2. Identify "white space" around ideal consumers to improve audience targeting.
  3. Stay up-to-date about how perceptions on the market, their brands, and their competitors are changing day-to-day and month-to-month.

Historical data analysis gives your social media market research the 'big picture' on a brand or campaign's past and present social trends.

To understand where you're going,  you must first understand where you've been. Performing historical trend analysis using social data can help agencies update their creative direction, shift messaging, and/or revise their audience targeting to ensure the continued success of any campaigns they are running on behalf of clients.


In one example, a research agency for Lexus used social intelligence research to analyze conversations related to their annual "December to Remember" promotional sales event.

They found historical social intelligence data was useful for:

  1. Gauging the historical consumer perception of their ad campaign.
  2. Comparing year-over-year campaign health across audiences.
  3. Improving overall public perception of the Lexus brand.
  4. Achieving significant lift in year-over-year sales.

Learn how social media insights turned around Lexus' holiday campaigns


Identify 'white space' around your brand's ideal consumers to measurably improve audience targeting.

To really speak a consumer's language, you have to understand their personal passions beyond mere surface level familiarity. It's the same reason word-of-mouth still carries so much weight despite the changing landscapes in content marketing and advertising.

Understanding consumer interests and passions allows brands to paint a picture of how their ideal consumers live. In practice, identifying this white space for engagement dramatically enhances the impact and overall reception of brand messaging.

If your agency wants to take charge of the PR campaign for regional or city tourism, follow a few simple steps to narrow the scope of your research to the right group of people:

1. Start generally. We'll use our hometown, Kansas City, as an example. Yet in our preliminary research phase we won't lock things down to just Kansas City and tourism. Use your own general knowledge to inform the direction of exploratory research and allow the tool to do the rest for you.


2. Understand what people who talk about Kansas City discuss most frequently. Each new topic is another layer of analysis. Are there significant historical or current events that affect the conversation either positively or negatively? When people talk about the 'best' and 'worst' related to the city, what topics come up most frequently? Look for the biggest discussion topics and then drill in to them to understand why.

3. Take a look at the demographic info. What is the median age? What gender is most vocal in share of voice? Are there any insights in the discussion trend differences between demographic segments? Great social intelligence tools can also incorporate information like age, income, and household size to help you construct ideal audience personas.


Go a step further: dive into interest clustering and linguistic analysis to look deeper into conversation, uncovering not only what topics your target audience members (moms, dads, sports fans, etc.) discuss most frequently, but also how they feel about these subjects when they do.

Understand how perceptions about the market, an agency's brands, and its competitor change day-to-day and month-to-month.

In this post, we've used social intelligence to measure things like overall awareness, favorability, topics, and behavior within earned mentions from Twitter and other channels like blogs, forums, and news sites.

The principles and basic query structure we have laid out can be carried over to social intelligence platforms, it won't be as direct of a translation with other tools' functionality.

A range of automated analysis functions ensure your agency has the freedom to approach an RFP from any possible angle: trend mapping, linguistic analysis, interest clustering, and demographic incorporation ensure agencies have freedom to look at data from any direction.

Analyzing a brand's creative profile, for example, involves understanding the target audience in addition to the way they react or respond to each of the brand's various campaigns. Creating confident recommendations in this scenario means you'll want the flexibility of examining and exploring the social data in your market research from a variety of perspectives.

Bonus: Remember the historical trend data we mentioned earlier? Performing historical trend analysis using social data can help agencies update their creative direction, shift messaging, and/or revise their targeting to ensure continued success of the campaigns they're running for clients.


Key Takeaways:

Traditional purchase funnels are dead and consumer perceptions are shifting faster than ever before. Agencies must be equipped to understand consumers with more specificity and confidence to achieve the best results for their clients, especially on a deadline.

In this post, we identified three easy applications for social intelligence tools to help agencies speak for the brands they represent:

  • Perform trend analysis to understand how consumer opinions are shifting over time.
  • Identify "white space" around ideal consumers to improve audience targeting.
  • Stay up-to-date about how perceptions about the market, an agency's brands, and its competitors change day-to-day, month-to-month, and/or year-to-year.

Understand who is talking about your query topic, how they talk about it, and how these words demonstrate their opinions with linguistic analysis by identifying emotions expressed (fear, joy, anticipation, anger, etc.) and consumer-based themes.

Did you like this post? We think you'll love this one, too:

Read Infegy's guide to using social media data for buyer journey research.


Topics: brands, marketing, social media, market research, audience, brand perception, retail


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