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How To Use Social Listening For Creative Storytelling

By Derek Franks  •  April 18, 2018

Use this blueprint for applying social listening data to your brand's story

How To Use Social Listening For Creative Storytelling

Posted by: Derek Franks on April 18, 2018

You’re in a meeting with your team going over the strategy for your brand or client. The goal: figure out the next chapter of your story.

Whether you’re beginning a new campaign, looking at the results of a rebrand, starting a new company, or somewhere in between, you’re tasked with gaining an understanding of who your company is, who your audiences are, and how you’re going to reach your customers with the right message.

The importance of effective storytelling cannot be overstated. Focused brand campaigns with thematic creative and a cohesive, ongoing story are 11 times more effective than isolated ones.

While your desk or powerpoint slides may be stacked with numbers, graphs and charts, it may be missing crucial insights about the people who matter most. That’s where social listening analytics come in.

Social listening tools help you discover, monitor, analyze, report on and understand the billions of online conversations so you can paint a more clear picture of your brand health and target audiences. We’re here to show you just how you can use this information to help you tell your story.

Let’s see how brands and businesses can utilize this data to construct a narrative around their brand. Here are 3 ways social listening data will help you with your creative storytelling.

How to Use Social Listening For Creative Storytelling TITLE copy

1. Show Who Your Audiences are and What They Are Talking About

The first win provided by social listening is that you can easily and quickly get a precise read on who your audiences are and how they feel about you.


Listening helps you figure out what people are talking about with regards to relevant topics to your brand or business, giving you a large sample of unsolicited thoughts, feelings and emotions about that topic you’re researching.


This is crucial because if you can get a statistically significant sample size on how people think and feel about those specific topics, you can zero in on the trends about your customers that are most important and use them to shape your story.


This will help you find out what people are saying with regards to your brand and showcase it to other members of your team or your clients.


Why is understanding what your audiences are saying key to telling your story? Because every story has an audience and every audience has some sort of personal investment in how that story is told. You should could keep close tabs on your community and gain a true understanding of those people at every turn.


Let’s take Kellogg’s brand for example. If they wanted to analyze the topic of “back-to-school” for their brand to prepare for the upcoming school year, they could use social listening data to understand consumer sentiment and interest around this time of year.


The first thing Kellogg’s could do is start monitoring the online conversations around this topic. What do people say about going back to school? Are kids or parents excited to get back to the school year? Or might they be anxious about it?


Here’s a look of the top conversations surrounding “back-to-school” visualized here in our reporting dashboard, Infegy Canvas.

Kellogg's back to school conversation CANVAS


You see here that sentiment from people online is positive. 74% of audiences talk about returning to school in a positive light. The top themes expressed in conversations are anticipation, creativity and joy. The biggest words in our topic cloud are kids, students, work, think, help and love. 


Here is some more analysis of the social media and online conversations:

Kellogg's back to school social CANVAS


Kellogg's back to school demographics CANVAS-1


So, you’ve got the story of back-to-school: parents and kids are excited and highly anticipating the challenges and activities involved with returning to school, albeit they are going to miss summer.


Moms are much more vocal online about the new academic year than other segments, voicing their enthusiasm for buying their kids’ school supplies and clothes, making their lunches, and participating in traditions and events at the school.


Students expressed their happiness in getting to see their friends, decorating their notebooks and meeting their new teachers. And you see some of the top interests for these audiences are food, education, family and parenting.


With this information, you start to paint the picture of audiences and their feelings about the back-to-school season.


Kellogg’s could zero in on the data about shopping or American cuisine that are discussed heavily by these audiences and focus their story on the parents’ excitement and interests in these topics and build a campaign around those topic or even partner with a major retail or grocery brand.


What your audiences are saying about topics or events that are relevant to your brand is essential to your ability to tell a cohesive, intriguing and creative story that resonates with your audiences.

2. Highlight Your Strategy or New Campaign Visually

As you’re gathering your intel through social listening research, you can start to develop a strategy of how you can tell your story in an ongoing and cohesive way.


Knowing what people are talking about or are interested in gives you the context needed to inform your strategy. Now, you can display this visually for your team to understand and work through.


When I’ve worked on strategies for brands and small businesses in the past, showcasing this conversational data visually for our teams has helped accomplish several different things:


  • Present reporting to the team on how our efforts have performed
  • Provide context to the story we want to tell with our marketing or advertising
  • Develop new goals for our brand or business based on data
  • Show clients the reasoning behind our strategy and ideas
  • Show clients the success of our efforts
  • Explain and understand who are audiences are and the stories they’re interested in
  • Explain the story we want to tell through the upcoming strategy or campaign
  • Prove to clients or supervisors that what we’re doing or planning is what our audiences want

LG V30 image

Say phone maker LG wants to see what people are saying about their recently launched smartphone to help them with their upcoming campaigns and future product innovation. They can quickly analyze the many online conversations about them or their product.

Here’s a glimpse at the sentiment and conversational data around the new LG V30 smartphone:

LG V30 product Sentiment

So, in the meeting with the team, they can show how successful the new phone launch was.


So now, LG wants to plan their upcoming campaigns to advertise this new phone. What kinds of information could they display visually to provide context to the team using social listening?


One idea-- they could research audience interests within the social listening platform, which will show you the top topics people you’re searching are also interested in related to your search term. In this case, here’s what people who discuss LG are also interested in:


People who talk about LG are 1.3x more likely to be interested in soccer than the general population

Using this information, they could discuss the idea of doing a campaign during the next World Cup event, based on their cross-index with soccer fan interest. Or they may want to do a partnership with streaming channel like Hulu in order to capitalize on their audience’s high interest in TV.


The story of LG is really about what the audiences want and are interested in. That’s the most important factor in applying this data effectively.


Now, let’s take a look at how a brand could use social listening to show the reaction to their new branding.

3. Show the reaction to your your campaign or branding efforts

By understanding the conversation and reaction to your campaign efforts, you can apply these learnings to your ongoing strategy and campaigns and start to build a more cohesive story around your brand.


If Chobani does a complete overhaul to their brand logo and packaging, they’ll need to know what people think of the rebrand. They know that the brand look and feel is every bit a part of their story as the product.


So, to see how well it was received, they could use a listening tool to tune in to the endless stream of online conversations where people share their thoughts and feelings, unsolicited by researching through a social listening tool.


Here is the data on Chobani’s audiences and people talking about the rebrand:

Analysis on Chobani Rebrand in Infegy Atlas_

With a platform like Infegy Atlas, you have access to consumer sentiment and also crucial information about the people in your target: their feelings, pain points, concerns, purchase intent, demographical and influence data, as well as linguistic analysis of the top talking points.


We discussed the consumer reaction to the Chobani rebrand in more detail in this article.


The story you have to tell matters. To captivate your audience and keep them engaged with your brand or client, it requires a cohesive story guided by this crucial data.


With the use of social listening tools and research, you will be able to build a structured, data-backed narrative that will help your team succeed with its efforts and connect with the appropriate audiences. Better yet, you’ll be able to visualize and document the proof of your efforts so you can keep telling the story of your brand effectively.


To see how you can improve your creative storytelling using social intelligence and listening, sign up for a personalized demo of our tool, Infegy Atlas, today.


Topics: strategy, social listening, marketing strategy, social listening data

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