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Why Is Social Media Important for Consumer Insights?

Social Media is Important for Consumer Insights? Here's Why.
Alex
5 min to read

Social media has come a long way from its beginning as a fun way for young people to kill their leisure time to become an integral part of everyday life. For now, consumers use social media to:

1) Communicate: social media has become one of the main ways people communicate, whether for personal or business purposes.
2) Learn: social media are an essential source of information and information, they are both a search engine, a content repository and a first stop for sharing new ideas
3) Observe Trends: social media are the number one source of life inspiration for consumers
4) Shop: consumers look for new products and deals on social media. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok all tap into e-commerce business. 

Just as newspapers and television once did, social media is now the predominant way for companies and brands to reach consumers. It also provides companies and brands with extremely valuable data compared to those traditional media. Finding and analyzing consumer insights on social media can address the limitations of traditional media in a way that we never experience years ago:

1) Real-Time Insights

Social media listening tools collect brand information in real time and in a way without bias. With these tools, brands can analyze thousands of voices of customer (VOC) in real time while still capturing personal conversations and unexpected perspectives.

2) Large Scale and High-Quality Research

With billions of social media users sharing texts and videos about their thoughts and feelings every day, brands can gather customer insights on social media at large scale, while still be able to ask tightly defined questions.

3) Capture A Wider Range of Scenarios

Social media data research allows brands to analyze large amounts of online information and scenarioize this analysis with an understanding of real-world events. For example, a brand might see a peak exposure following an event, or a mention from certain celebrity or public figure.

4) Analyze Trends

Social media listening gives companies and brands insight into trending topics, as well as analysis of what is causing these trends, what audiences they are attracting, and where they are most popular in the world . Most importantly, all of these can be done in real time. Identifying them in a timely manner and providing relevant consumer insights can help companies and brands gain first-mover advantage. For example, 2018 was the peak of the "dad sneaker" craze. These "ugly sneakers" became a must-have fashion item, with brands around the world scrambling to catch up. Those companies and brands that understood the trend correctly and reacted were able to cash in. However, there are plenty of them still missed out.

5) Predicting Trends

But social media listening and analysis aren't just about reacting passively. It can actually help companies and brands predict future trends before they even happen. With a certain amount of high quality social media data, consumer insight teams can create predictive models to forecast future trends using four key KPIs.

1. Awareness (Quantity)
2. YOY Growth (Annual Growth Rate)
3. Recent Growth (Growth Rate in the Last 6 Months)
4. Visual Appeal (Share of Image VS. Share of Text)

This last point is very important for food, fashion and lifestyle brands. They all need to create products that can succeed on Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. In this case, the model was able to predict the visual appeal of the product and helped shape the company product vision and marketing strategy.

6) Tracking Segmented Audience Groups

The consumer insights team's job is to understand their consumers. If they can identify and track segmented audience groups, they will have a better understanding of what motivates and excites their target audience. Thankfully, social media users tends to share some of their information. Their profile pages, timelines and conversations together tell brands what they care about. Good social media listening tools will automatically group these users and  pull up other recurring topics and keywords (in addition to brand names), so the company and brand will know what else they care about.

In short, social listening enables companies and brands to identify valuable signals in social media data. "With the rapid growth of information in the digital economy, it's easy to miss valuable 'weak signals' that are often hidden in the noise. These signals can help companies figure out what customers want and spot looming industry and market disruptions before competitors do'' - McKinsey, 2014.

Social media is definitely a great source of data for gaining consumer insights. There are 4.5 billion social media users worldwide who are sharing every aspect of their lives every day. Companies and brands alike need to start using social media to access all the data and information that is beneficial to create products and services that resonate with consumers. If you want to learn more about overseas consumer insights or are looking for a good VOC tool, follow Shulex VOC and learn more about our products and services, we'd love to help.