Tapping into the Power of Collective Data During Times of Crisis



During #SMWONE, panelists from Netbase, MMGY and Chemistry broke down the insights for using social listening to promote empathy and inclusion in campaigns.


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Want to know what your audience is talking about? Grab a seat and join the conversation. NetBase Quid turns chatter into usable data that drives successful communication strategies through social listening. Social listening reveals and pinpoints the discussions that resonate at the highest frequency within a target audience.

During #SMWONE, Kelsee Wilson, Account Manager, NetBase Quid, sat down with Brandon Billings, Vice President, Social Media & Content Strategy at MMGY and Laura Forester, Vice President, Strategy & Engagement, Chemistry to discuss how they utilize social media analytics to build consumer profiles, adjust communication priorities, and identify emerging trends that inspire winning campaign strategies.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Social listening is here to stay
  • Empathy goes a long way in disappointing situations
  • Social listening tools work best in conjunction with channel-specific metrics

Social listening is here to stay

Culling conversational data to inform decisions is a relatively new concept, but one that’s gaining speed in light of recent events. We’re online all day long—ingesting news and interacting with the brands we trust, connecting through our personal channels, and making public our thoughts on everything from purchases we’ve loved to frustrations we’ve encountered.

“People always want a real-world example of this new concept,” says Kelsee, who has been with NetBase for more than five years. Laura Forester VP of Strategy and Engagement at the full-service agency, Chemistry, is happy to provide one. “One of our clients, a Western PA utility company, was with us for just 50 days” when an unprecedented storm hit their service area. That, paired with more than two-weeks long Stay At Home order in place, created a situation that demanded a pivot in communication strategy.

Stepping away from their initial plans to build up the utility company as a thought-leader in the industry, they instead began to focus on a community-powered communications effort. For Laura, social listening revealed commonalities that exist when dealing with multiple crises. Framing the eventual repair of the services as a combined effort from the consumers’ point of view drove collective empathy and in turn, passively prompted community inclusion. Before long, people were sharing videos of the workers, posting words of encouragement, and contributing to the “we’re all in this together” vibe that the country has been thriving on.

Understanding what the customer wants, right now

Indeed, empathy goes a long way in disappointing situations. Brandon Billings, VP of Social Media and Content Strategy with MMGY, an integrated travel- and hospitality-focused agency knows it well. “I’ve never seen such downtrodden emojis,” he says when discussing what was revealed by his deep dive into recent social conversations surrounding travel.

Understanding the travelers’ perspective requires real-time data even in normal times. In times of uncertainty, it’s been key in his understanding of what people are thinking and feeling, presently. For MMGY, social listening has revealed a red thread of “dreaming” of travel. People literally and figuratively need to escape and are just waiting for the moment when they can stop dreaming of travel and instead announce that they’ve booked their trip and are counting down the days.

Tools that work best together

Both Laura and Brandon agree that social listening tools work best in conjunction with channel-specific metrics, so long as you keep the brand goals at top of mind. For Brandon, this means reassuring clients that travel drives economic recovery, and travel buys are influenced by social media escapism. For Laura, this means tapping into the Human Truth that fosters all connection.

By harnessing the power of collective data, we’re able to continuously shift strategy in alignment with consumer needs and create real impact from important data.

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