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What Are Your Customers' Interests and Passions? 

By Derek Franks  •  May 1, 2018

Here's why and how to use social listening to learn about what your customers and audiences are interested in

What Are Your Customers' Interests and Passions? 

Posted by: Derek Franks on May 1, 2018

In one of our most popular blog posts, we set up the 25 questions social listening can help you answer. With the overwhelming response we got from that blog post, we thought we would expand on those 25 questions. In this post we are tackling our next important question: what are your customers’ interests?

The race is on to better understand consumers and consumer behavior in order to keep up with your industry and stay ahead of competitors.

Like many, you probably are seeking out new ways of predicting your target’s buying behaviors, pain points and path to purchase. This creates an interesting challenge that social listening is positioned to help solve.

What if you could take all of the people who are talking about your brand, who follow along or interact with you, who have trust in you, or who show purchase intent in your products, etc. then figure out what topics and hobbies they are interested in?

Social listening and monitoring tools offer that kind of insight. With this technology, you can discover some incredible insights that can help you find more answers to questions about your audiences. This is where brands and agencies have a largely untapped opportunity to learn about the people they want to reach and connect with.

What insights about your target audiences’ interests will you find that helps your team make big business decisions?

We’ll now take you through this technology and how to leverage it to research your audience interests and we’ll show you how you can apply these insights to your strategy.

Customers Interests and Passions TITLE

Using Social Listening to Discover Your
Audience’s Interests

Social listening tools, which are artificial intelligence-driven intuitive platforms, can analyze the entire web, from social media sites, to blogs, review sites and forums, and identify specific audience segments, then pinpoint other topics these people talk about and are passionate about.

By correlating this information to your (or your clients’) brand or business, you can get a better understanding of your target consumers and what drives their behavior.

This could be especially helpful for:

  • Building audience personas and customer profiles
  • Helping shape your message around relevant topics for your audiences
  • Targeting your digital ads
  • Placing your ads and media in the right place to reach the right people
  • Building personal connections with relevant people at scale

Social listening tools allow you to research your audiences and analyze the topics and categorical terms they are interested in, enabling you to formulate the right strategies and approaches to campaigns, messaging, product improvement and digital content.

Let’s go how to leverage social listening for discovering these key insights about your target audiences.

How To Analyze Audience Interests

Audience interests analysis is a must-have feature in your social listening tool (see the other must-haves in this article).

Let’s say you’re working on the brand Whole Foods. You’ll want to know what Whole Foods’ audiences and customers interested in and what they are passionate about so that you can better understand these audiences.

How can we use audience interests to inform our strategy and planning for this brand?

In our social listening tool, Infegy Atlas, we can find Interests on the main dashboard. Below is a look at the first results page of a search within Infegy Atlas. This is the Query Overview and Social Persona data search results for our query for Whole Foods.

Atlas Whole Foods Overview pointing to Interests tab

You can go to the Interests tab to find out what our audience is interested in. There, you’ll find analytics that are collected by cross-referencing historical conversational data from online audiences with more than 300 lifestyle and interest categories.

The difference here from other social media monitoring and listening tools is that this is data based on what people discuss and are passionate about online, not simply who they follow on social channels.

Some social media analysis tools will only incorporate “interest” data based on how they are connected such as following them on social channels, rather than their actual comprehensive online behaviors.

Here are the top interests for people who discuss or interact with Whole Foods online in the last 6 months, according to the social listening data:

Whole Foods Interests

This data can tell us all kinds of key details about your target audience and can reveal some- shall we say it-- interesting revelations about those people.

Let’s go through some ways you can apply the information provided by audience interests analysis.


What to Do With The Audience Interest Data

What we see in the visual above is that people who mention Whole Foods online also frequently discuss topics such desserts and baking, clothing, music and different types of cuisine.

Let’s go with the top category. 49.8% of the people who talk about Whole Foods are also interested in desserts and baking. This tells us that we absolutely need to include this interest in our customer profiles.

Now, we can dig into the platform to understand more. If you go the demographics tab, you’ll see that there is a larger female audience for Whole Foods.

Whole Foods Demographics

Then, you can click on the Female Voice percentage chart to reveal a button that will allow you to see results filtered only for female audiences.

Whole Foods Female Demographics

You see here that the largest audience for Whole Foods appears to be women ages 25-34 and 35-44 who are highly interested in desserts and baking.

Because this social listening data is made up of unsolicited, unbiased information with a large sample size, we can rely on this information as strong indicators of our buyer personas.

This means that the broader brand can apply this across the company’s business efforts.

If you were on Whole Foods’ advertising team, you could create strategies for your ad planning and placement based on your audience’s interests. Maybe you determine that placing ads on baking blogs or on cooking television networks is the way to go in order to reach this audience segment.

As a member of Whole Foods’ social team, you could incorporate this into your social media strategy, leveraging content that used a lot of visuals of desserts.

FullSizeRender 5

This is a great Instagram strategy for Whole Foods. They know that their largest audiences are women, between ages 25 and 44. What’s great is that with social listening tools, you can always monitor your audience’s social media behaviors and confirm that your strategy is on point.

What’s more, social listening tools give us the capability to filter results by several key factors, such as:

  • Demographics
  • Age segment
  • Channels (such as Instagram, Twitter or blog posts)
  • Categories
  • Entities (such as companies, people, influencers, brands and products)
  • Time
  • Geography

Below is a visual of the social listening data filtered by channel for just Instagram:

Whole Foods Instagram User Persona Profile

As you see from the persona overview below, the Whole Foods Instagram audiences’ median age, gender and interests line up.

You just saw how you can better understand your audience’s interest and then how to use those interests to develop brand strategies. People’s interests clearly motivate their behavior and are big factor in what drives them to act.

Keeping track of your audience’s on an ongoing basis across all the different channels and touchpoints, by using the many filters and search parameters in a social listening tool, will be invaluable in helping you better understand your audiences and what interests them.

What Gets People Talking?
Understanding What People Are Passionate About

You can dig further into your target audiences to understand not only what they are interested in but also what they are passionate about, what they view positively and negatively and the emotions they associate with certain topics, brands or products.

Let’s take a look at a specific passion point for our Whole Food audiences.

Using the scatter plot chart in the Interests data, we can identify a data point that seems to stand out on the chart. In our Whole Foods audience research, we see that Vegan cuisine is something Whole Foods’ audiences are interested in. According to this social intelligence data, people who discussed Whole Foods were 13 times more likely to be interested in vegan food than the average.

Whole Foods Interest Scatter Plot VEGAN

So, let’s dig into this specific audience segment to see what it is that makes people who are vegan or interested in vegan food so passionate about Whole Foods.

This is the data with the search results filtered by the vegan category. These results are made up of people who discuss Whole Foods who are also interested in vegan food:

Whole Foods Vegan Query Overview

Looking at the results we see a few key details. First, there are over 200,000 people discussing Whole Foods and Vegan online.

That’s a pretty sizable post volume, which tells us this is a popular topic among Whole Foods audiences. You will also see that the potential reach for this topic is up to 2 million people, meaning that millions of people viewed and interacted with content related to this brand and topic.

What it also gives us is large sample size, meaning that this data is pretty reliable.

You also see that these audiences have a favorable view of Whole Foods. 81% of user created content was positive, according to the research.

Now, you can analyze this further by using sentiment analysis within the tool to see how passionate these audiences are:

Whole Foods Sentiment Passion Highlighted

The passion score for this topic is 43%, which is high. This means that Whole Foods Audiences are seriously passionate about vegan food.

Dive even further into this data to figure out some specific topics or events that really get your audiences talking.

One capability is that you can see the Passion trends over time to see the levels of passion from your chosen audiences:

Whole Foods Vegan Passion Trend

What topics of conversation are getting these people excited about Whole Foods? You’ll see above, you can locate the highest point then filter the search results to the time frame on the chart.

Then we go look at the top posts during that chosen date. As you see below, the top headlines and subjects during that particular time for Whole Foods was their event “Beauty Week.”

Whole Foods Posts Beauty Week

Lo and behold, this event was very popular amongst this audience segment and they were passionate in expressing their their thoughts during this time.

This data can be used to inform future strategies and also plan out specific messaging, content, events and campaigns for their vegan audience base.



Adding all of this up, you have a really good picture of your target audiences laid out thanks to this data.

Going through these steps during your social listening research will help you document a much more accurate overview of your target audiences and help you analyze what those audiences are interested in and passionate about.

It’s key for your team to better understand the people you’re trying to reach and analyze the topics of interest and the things that motivates your audiences to act. What people talk about is a key indicator into what they will do as a potential buyer.

We have a great overview on how to make social listening research easier in order to discover the right insights about your audiences in this article.

To learn more about your audience’s interests and passions sign up today for a personalized demo of our social listening tool, Infegy Atlas.



Topics: market research, social listening, consumer research, social listening tools

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