Using Social Listening for Market Research: How We Made 'The Fashion Industry's New Era'

Five illustrated people stand in a group connected by dotted lines and icons, for a blog about Meltwater and Twitter's new fashion report.
Five illustrated people stand in a group connected by dotted lines and icons, for a blog about Meltwater and Twitter's new fashion report.

Businesses don’t need to solicit reviews and survey answers to learn more about their customers. The goldmine of insight they’re searching for is on social media, where consumers unleash their most unfiltered opinions and ideas. 

This is especially true for fashion consumers and Twitter. That’s why Twitter and Meltwater teamed up to analyze millions of fashion community Tweets and learn more about evolving consumer attitudes and rising trends. Some of the questions we wanted to answer were:

  • What subtopics are most prevalent in the global fashion conversation?
  • What macro and micro fashion trends are emerging?
  • Who are the Twitter authors leading those conversations? 
  • What opportunities exist for fashion brands?

We got insight on these topics and more using Explore, our social listening platform, in conjunction with other Meltwater solutions. Beginning with more than a dozen complex Boolean queries created by the insights services team at Linkfluence, a Meltwater offering, we narrowed our searches down to English-language Tweets posted between March 2021 and February 2022.

The team identified the macrotrends and microtrends taking over fashion Twitter conversations by comparing the volume of Tweets about specific fashion subjects published in the first six months to those published in the second six months. Our resulting report, The Fashion Industry’s New Era, offers insight into the fashion industry, but its main question — what do consumers want — is universal. “The insights shared within the report provide fashion marketers and advertisers with a solid foundation they can use to build out their future marketing strategies," says Lauren Jenkins, Head of the Twitter Official Partner Program. Here’s a closer look at how we did it.

To create innovative and impactful marketing strategies, you must have a comprehensive understanding of your target audience. 'The Fashion Industry's New Era,' developed in partnership with Meltwater, taps into the hundreds of millions of conversations Twitter users had around fashion the past year to identify meaningful insights and emerging trends within the industry.

Lauren Jenkins, Head of the Twitter Official Partner Program

Table of Contents

How we used social listening for market research

The Fashion Industry's New Era is the forward-thinking marketer's guide to the fashion industry. Read on to learn more about how we created the report and used social listening for market research. But first, here's a brief look at our methodology:

310,548,010 English-language fashion community Tweets posted between March 2021 and February 2022

8.7% growth in the global fashion conversation in that time

5 macrotrends and 10 microtrends identified

What tools did we use?

The Fashion Industry's New Era was created using Twitter data sourced through Explore, our social listening platform. We also used two of Meltwater's consumer insights offerings: Linkfluence and Audiense.

How did we source the data?

The Fashion Industry's New Era is based on data sourced from Boolean queries, conducted on Explore, of English-language Tweets published between March 1, 2021 and February 28, 2022. 

The macrotrends and microtrends discussed in the report were discovered via an analysis of mentions volume via Explore, the Twitter explore feature, additional desk research, as well as other fashion-related studies currently underway at Linkfluence. We compared keyword mention volume evolutions between the first half and second half of the 12 months measured (i.e. 3/21 to 8/21 compared to 9/21 to 2/22).

Our analysis led us to a number of rising fashion trends including meta fashion and inclusive fashion. See the full list of trends by downloading the report.

Keyword searches and trendspotting

With keyword searches in place, we at Meltwater dug into the data using Explore’s analytic charts. Keyword clouds and bar graphs of the top hashtags revealed the most-talked-about subjects and entities for each trend, showing us where we needed to dig further.

A keyword cloud from the meta fashion Explore query created for Meltwater's

Keyword searches and mention tracking are straightforward ways marketers can use social listening to tap into consumer conversations and industry trends. Social listening doesn’t just tell you who’s in on conversations about your brand and market, it also shows you the topics catching their attention. From there, top social listening platforms surface the words and phrases showing up most often in their social media posts, reposts, and comments. 

At times, the same keywords popping up across different conversation topics can point you to commonalities and trends across audiences, helping you find and define the different communities and personas that make up your general audience. For example, the phrase “out this listing” popped up in keyword clouds across multiple queries. They pointed us to valuable Twitter conversations about fashion resale where users were encouraging people to check out their listings. 

While manually combing through individual social media posts might slowly clue you into current hot topics, social listening provides a bird’s-eye view that lets you tap into rising trends, without much lift.

Identifying conversation leaders

While making The Fashion Industry’s New Era, we sought to understand the people and entities driving conversations around emerging fashion trends. Using Explore’s analytic dashboard widgets, we looked at the most retweeted Tweets, the most-followed Tweet authors, shares of voice by keyword mentions, and the top professions of Tweet authors in each conversation. High-level insights like these revealed the different communities driving fashion conversations on Twitter, as well as the influencers those different groups trust for recommendations, commentary, and inspiration. 

A graph of Twitter author professions from 'The Fashion Industry's New Era,' a new social listening report from Twitter and Meltwater.

We also used the platform’s timeline visualizations to pinpoint conversation spikes. Because they are dynamic, we were able to click on specific data points to see more in-depth analytics for specific days and times. That’s how we learned more about how the inclusive fashion communities rally around Twitter authors and Tweets that highlight plus-size, modest, non-Western, and accessible fashion.

Combined with geographic and topic filters and narrowed-down search terms, social listening saves essential time when it comes to scouting ideal marketing partners and influencers. By letting data — sourced directly from your audience — drive partnerships and collaborations, marketers can increase overall engagement and better align with company goals.

Powering sales and consumer insights

Social listening takes the mystery out of website traffic and sales surges. Spikes in relevant keywords and conversations that match up with sales rises and dips offer valuable context that just may reveal untapped marketing opportunities. This goes double for marketers analyzing their own brands and competitive ones. The data insights social listening reveals help marketing professionals invest in and maximize ROI-generating projects and programs. 

Outside of insights on sales trends, social listening extracts invaluable data for consumer insights research and compatible tools. Social media users tell the world about themselves in two places: their published posts and their profile bios; social listening picks up information from each area. Done manually, researching social media users’ bios is a time-consuming, data analysis nightmare. However, social listening platforms that are part of all-in-one suites eliminate the legwork. 

We used our social listening platform Explore in conjunction with our consumer insights platform to learn more about the audiences of five macrotrends. The compatible platforms use easy-to-use download and upload functions to simplify the process of transferring data from tool to tool. Along with giving us a closer look at their online habits and most-followed influencers, Audiense (powered by IBM Watson) generated a deep dive on each community’s personality traits and purchase influence factors. For example, we learned that meta fashion enthusiasts are more likely to be influenced by a product’s utility than the general public when it comes to purchasing decisions.

A chart of meta fashion netizen personality traits from 'The Fashion Industry's New Era,' a new report by Twitter and Meltwater.

Turning insights into action

Combined, the benefits of social listening point marketers to new opportunities and stronger ways of connecting with consumers. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the time, tools, or resources to get started. Especially for global brands, there aren’t enough hours in the day to manually keep up with, contextualize, and draw insights from every social media mention of your name — let alone those of your competitors. This is where time- and money-saving platform features, like Explore’s unlimited keyword searches and dynamic data visualizations, take marketers the extra mile.

We used the power of social listening to analyze fashion, but the methods and tools we used are invaluable across industries. Download The Fashion Industry’s New Era for our full findings, methodologies, and more than a dozen new insights for marketers. Schedule a demo today to learn more about what Meltwater solutions can do for you.

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