Finding Insights and Trends: how social listening and social prediction technologies help Brands

The Internet contains a huge amount of diverse information. Special tools help you find patterns and identify major trends and consumer needs in the chaotic flow of the online world. This process is called social listening.
What is the difference between social listening and monitoring social networks?
Social media monitoring and social media listening are both tools for online brand reputation management. During social media monitoring, comments and posts related to the company are taken into account. For example:

  • Mention of the name of the company
  • Special brand hashtags
  • Mentions of main competitors
  • Key phrases. Data is especially important in crisis situations when a company needs to maximize its reach to target audiences that could be affected by a negative incident.
Social listening
is the next stage when a brand not only gathers information but also analyzes it. The data helps to develop a strategy for product promotion, focusing on the interests of the target audience and its relationship to the company. In addition, social listening helps find insights and trends which allow you to better customize advertising campaigns and make improvements to the products and services themselves.

For example, demand for compact bread packaging — especially of small portions that reduce waste — is increasing. It’s all because consumers are tired of the familiar loaf. It’s not that people don’t buy bread at all, it’s just that demand began to decline with the growing trend for conscious consumption.

As you can see, any business niche, even the most popular, needs constant upgrading of the final product.

Social prediction
is the processing of information by artificial intelligence algorithms to determine the duration and quality of current and future trends. For example, PepsiCo uses this method to identify beverage flavors that will be in demand. According to company officials, the approach allows not only to launch new products faster, but to more accurately respond to trends. Foresight studies allow us to determine how promising a new trend will be.
Why is social listening so important to brands?
It provides an inexhaustible source of useful information for developing the company

Through social listening, you get first-hand information from your customers. Comments posted online are more honest than responses to company surveys for improving product quality.

Negative reviews become more valuable. In addition to criticism, often undeserved, you can track trends that will help you improve the quality of your service. You will be able to better understand the needs of your customers and find out what they expect from you.

Social prediction helps not only to find existing trends but also to assess how tenacious they will be.

For example, VISA develops products for different target audience groups. In order to understand how to create services for different consumer categories, the company analyzes data from social networks. Small business owners' accounts and Twitter posts were reviewed to identify the needs of that audience. The information has been used to improve offers and products for entrepreneurs.
You reduce reputational risks

Using social listening tools, you not only track the main trends on the Internet but also react to negative events in time, thereby maintaining your positive reputation. If you solve a person's problem promptly and set them up in a positive way, you can turn a dissatisfied client into a loyal one.

In addition, Twitter research has shown that by answering consumer questions and solving their problems, companies increase audience loyalty and sales. On average, a customer satisfied with the brand's response is willing to spend 3-20% more in the future on purchasing goods at an average cost.

Twitter research shows not only audience loyalty but also sales increase by companies when they sort out customer problems
Social media monitoring helps you entice customers

You can track upheaval in all companies, not just direct competitors. An example would be the story of the owner of a cat named Victor, whom they wanted to take in the cabin of the Russian airline Aeroflot. In response to the passenger's approach, the airline deprived them of all privileges. This situation caused a lot of negativity online, and other companies took advantage. Citymobil offered the “victim”compensation for the loss of miles with taxi rides, and the Eldorado network presented loyalty program bonuses.

Social media monitoring helps you entice customers

Demand monitoring was at one time considered a “thankless” task, as long-term forecasts were often wrong. You can get useful data by tracking changes in audience preferences and analyzing previous experience. Therefore, marketers must study huge amounts of information in order to make correct predictions.

Unfortunately, the business world is full of stories of companies that have suffered losses due to inaccurate forecasts. For example, in the 1990s, a surge in demand for corporate computers was expected. In 1984, manufacturers offered over 60 business PC options. Experts predicted that in 1988, 27 million models will be purchased. But two years before date X, only 15 million units were bought, and many companies changed industries or even ceased to exist.

The reason for the mistake was that experts assumed that demand would be consistent and audience interests would not change.

Depending on your industry, monitor the demand for goods on social media and on major retail websites. This allows you to analyze existing popular trends and catch future trends. Of course, when a product is upgraded, there is always a risk that at the time it goes to market, mainstream interests will change. But without this, you may lose consumers who prefer you to competitors.

Where to look for Internet trends
If you are the first to know about trends on the net, you have an additional trump card in your pocket against your competitors. Here are four ways to find the latest trends.
  • 1
    Listen to your audience
    Study your target audience in more detail and analyze comments and reviews online. In addition to feedback, you can discover interesting insights and new ideas, which can then become a new trend.

    For example, the internet is discussing the trend of caring for the environment. Users complain about the large amount of plastic, and some are urging companies that don't care about the environment to be boycotted. Therefore, most companies are trying to meet consumer expectations and replace plastic packaging with biodegradable ones.
  • 2
    Analyze competitors and your business category in general
    To keep up with industry leaders, you need to watch out for your more successful competition. Analyze their best ad campaigns, new product launches, and any upgrades they've made recently.

    Study the criticism carefully. Negative reviews will offer you tips on how to improve your product while avoiding mistakes made by your competitors.

    In addition to business rivals, we recommend analyzing your product niche. For example, the American cranberry company Ocean Spray analyzed profile communities. The study found that many consumers do not want to take cranberry juice in order to avoid association with patients suffering from urinary tract diseases (cranberry is used as a preventive measure). The company has launched a new line of juices with a packaging design that is fundamentally different from a preventive product based on cranberry juice.

  • 3
    Monitor popular influencers
    Influencers are the first to react to popular trends on the Internet. Some of them create trends themselves and actively promote them in the media space.

    Find popular influencers in your industry and monitor their posts and audience reactions. You can also observe micro-bloggers who have a circle of active subscribers who discuss posts and share their opinions. This will make it easier to filter out unnecessary information.

  • 4
    Use special services to find trends
    Dedicated tools facilitate process and data analysis and enable quick responses. Services are now available that not only analyze audience behavior or key phrases. You can also find more sophisticated tools based on artificial intelligence that make it possible to better predict emerging trends, for example, Signum.ai, which we will discuss in more detail below.
Top social listening tools for identifying and tracking trends
This tool analyzes fluctuations in demand for a specific product. Before starting monitoring, prepare a list of keywords or phrases. Specify a time frame and see how the number of user requests changes. If the trend is up, then it is worth working in this direction. If it is declining, you need to select alternative options.

Some products are in seasonal demand, such as clothing with a floral print. The graph shows that the trend persists for several years and increases sharply in spring and summer.
screenshot of tool for tracking and finding trends Google Trends
This service allows you to scan all world markets and identify the most promising trends for business development. The tool has an intuitive interface. At the moment, developers have implemented a new feature for industry niches. New business directions will be posted to a private group on Slack. You can analyze which trends are most suitable for brand development.

The tool has two pricing plans: Essential and Pro.
a slide with the rates of the trend tracking and search tool TrendWatching
This service utilizes artificial intelligence technology and tracks trends in social networks and the rest of the media space (forums, online publications, and so on). Every two weeks, users receive a detailed report on new products in different business niches. For each separate trend, data is provided on what caused the surge of interest and how ideas can be applied to company development.
Trend Hunter is one of the largest trend communities. You can view the latest trends in various business niches. The service offers one of the largest content databases, with over 10,000 topics. You can add the most relevant information to your favorites.
screenshot of tool Trend Hunter
Tools for tracking influencers and top blogs
finds the most popular bloggers on Twitter.
fragment from the report of the tool for tracking influencers FollowerWonk
Excerpt from FollowerWonk Report
finds the most popular bloggers on Twitter.
allows you to create a report of the most read blogs on your topic
This service was created specifically for stores. It will be an excellent source of new ideas on how to expand your range with the dropshipping format, or for standard online stores and retail outlets. You will be able to follow popular product types using filters to narrow your search.

Contact Topface Media for Social Listening

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Social listening helps you find relevant trends for developing your business. According to analysts, by 2020, the volume of tools for audience listening may reach $7 billion and continue to grow. For comparison, in 2005 the market for online marketing research services, including tools for content analytics, was estimated at only $6 billion.

By ignoring what your customers are talking about, you lose profit and literally give your customers away to competitors. The information allows us to improve your products and services in line with consumer expectations.

Track trends in social networks, forums, and other platforms where your target audience spends the most time. Monitor your competitors, analyze what customers say about them, especially if a new product has entered the market.
Review popular influencer accounts regularly. They pick up or create new trends the fastest. Also, use special services and tools in your work to keep abreast of the latest trends.

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