At the heart of an account planner’s role is the ability to listen to what customers knows about a brand, how they feel about it, and how they use it.
That’s why we always have looked for new and better techniques to understand what they like, what they say to their friends, what they associate the brand with, and how they experience the brand – all in hopes of moving toward brand loyalty.
No wonder social media insight is proving such a powerful qualitative research modality.
Today, account planners can observe and learn from online communities by following the real-world conversations that take place there. Through networks (LinkedIn, Facebook), blogs, forums (WebMD, PatientsLikeMe), bookmarking (StumbleUpon, del.icio.us), podcasts, visual content communities (Flickr, Pinterest, YouTube), and micro-blogs (Twitter), we can construct a more complete picture of how a brand fits into a customer’s life.
More specifically to our work at GSW Worldwide, we can learn how a brand fits into a customer’s health and wellness.
Behavior & attitude. Reality & perception. Belief & emotion. Usage & trends. All the stuff of qualitative marketing research to help reveal both facts & insights.
Then we mine and analyze it all to help optimize strategies, product innovation, media campaigns, and even clinical development.
In addition social conversations already taking place, we can use social media platforms to create our own source of customer research. Here are just a few tools we’ve used lately in our Discover stage with clients:
- Online focus groups
- Webcam one-on-one interviews
- Content monitoring services and text analysis software
- Keyword search analysis
- SEO and linking research
- Brand story and concept evaluation surveys
That is a significant range of research conducted online now rather than traditional interviews. No wonder Joan Lewis, global consumer and market knowledge officer of Procter & Gamble Co., said she expects surveys to dramatically decline in importance by 2020 and sees the rise of social media as a big reason why. Another research executive, Frank Cotignola of Kraft Foods, has spoken about the imperative to cast the social media net wide beyond simple brand monitoring to derive deep, unexpected consumer insights about unmet needs and alternate uses for products.
How social media monitoring is applied to the 5C’s in the Discover phase of the Brand HealthCheck process.
We apply it to analyze the social media environment and present learnings that can help in optimizing strategy to achieve our client objectives.
Let’s take a look at details of the social insights listening methods we can use in each of the 5C’s:
- Category – Document the language used by customers to describe the class, mechanisms of disease, modes of action, and the dynamics of care. Capture both the words and visuals found throughout social media. Analyze the frequency of use, as well as the context.
- Competition – Audit competitive online promotions. Moreover, verify customers’ positives responses or negative reactions (using social media monitoring tools, such as Atlerian SM2 and Scoutlabs).
- Clinical – Compare and contrast how audiences are talking on social platforms. Uncover opportunities for message clarity about the disease and treatment options. Monitor products in the pipeline through social reaction to press releases, clinical trial updates, and investor communication.
- Customer – Evaluate forums where like-minded physicians are gathering or patients with similar conditions are interacting. Identify channels for community management, content planning, and media engagement. Target the diverse stakeholders who are potentially impacting information and decisions of the customers.
- Culture – Assess social exchanges in broader cultural contexts, such as payer environments, practice settings, legal controversies, or patient advocacy positions.
In one recent example, this kind of listening to the online conversations helped us decipher the priorities of a hospital-based specialty group. Going into the research, our brand team imagined that patient safety would be most important – and it was. Beyond this, however, was additional insight of more efficient information sharing within the group practice, as well as better communication with the referring PCP.
Because the Discover phase is the start of Brand HealthCheck, a quick assessment report can provide an initial high-level overview of metrics. Next, we can conduct a more all-encompassing review with analytics of conversations, including: HCPs, Consumers, disease-state, competition, communities, and KOLs. Then, continuous monitoring can be updated with key performance indicators.
Submit a question for our Social Media e-book
Later this week, we’ll be creating an e-book that summarizes many applications of social media. If this article on social media insight has stimulated thoughts about how to use it to learn more about your key audiences, post your question in the comment section below. Not only will we feature answers to your questions, but also you’ll be the first to receive the book.