Focus groups can be time and labour consuming, expensive and not always reliable; that is before social listening was added to the mix. Social listening can dish the dirt on how our audience really feels, without them feeling under pressure to offer a particular answer. It is the difference between asking a question and eavesdropping on a conversation.

What can social listening unearth?

By using social tools, such as Meltwaters media monitoring platform, we’re able to gain insight into how our audience perceives our product features, brand positioning, value offering and where we stand against competition. Such analysis can be found at a click of a button.

How brands are using social listening as a research tool

Kim Kardashian is quite the pro at using feedback given by her fans in a proactive way. Before launching her perfume, she asked what colour the bottle should be. Asking our audience questions so that they can contribute to the wider picture is also a great way of boosting brand advocacy. Nissan is another brand who also benefited from social listening. After running a search on their 370Z sports car they were presented with a pool of information, Nissan then used the insights to modify the car.

Here we demonstrate a simple keyword search on Nike using Meltwaters Media Intelligence platform. All we have to do is listen to know the ‘not so secret’ opinions of our audience. From the search we can see some of the most popular items in Nikes portfolio. We can then drill deeper into the key themes and pin point what exactly it is about these items that has caused a buzz.

Social listening tools can save us time and money; and money saved is money earned. Now, we’re not saying that social listening has caused the extinction of traditional focus group. It hasn’t, and it probably never will. Rather, social listening has presented an entirely new research opportunity. For companies wanting to gain a quick, inexpensive and ad hoc snapshot into the brand perception, social listening tools are the way forward.

We have an engaged audience at our finger tips so let’s have some fun and start using them!