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Social Media Analytics in Uncertain Times: Maintaining Agility and Brand Affinity

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Panelists from several NetBase Quid clients including Walt Disney Television, ITC Limited, Nutrisystem, and Match Marketing came together during #SMWONE to explore the importance of social listening as a research tool.

All sessions from #SMWONE, our four-week virtual conference program, are now available on-demand.


An important goal of brands especially at this moment in time is staying consistently informed, in real-time, in order to adapt quickly to changes. In a special #SMWONE session dedicated to this topic, panelists from NetBase Quid, Walt Disney Television, Nutrisystem, ITC Limited, and Match Marketing explored why trend analysis and baseline metrics are crucial to being agile in uncertain times.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Always start with a question: what are you trying to find out?
  • Don’t overlook Reddit, blogs and other forums for information
  • Don’t be afraid to take a look at the messaging you have already out there

How sentiment analysis can boost efficiency

Regarding one of his clients Scotties Facial Tissues, SVP of Strategy at Match Marketing, George Conboy, stated, “There’s a lot of emotion around facial tissues right now. NetBase Quid’s insights allow us to explore the emotions of the business for our client and connect with audiences more meaningfully.” Before there was more concern around the functionality of such paper products like weight and given the recent state of the world, there’s been a huge shift away from things in weight in tissues to an emphasis on emotion allowing Match to change the direction of its marketing.

In a similar vein but for a separate client, OZO, Match has been able to connect more effectively with people who express interest in experimenting with plant-based meats as they resort to cooking and dining in more often and look for healthy alternatives while being stuck at home. “The adoption curve has accelerated. We can talk to people a little further along the path so it’s more triggering behaviors versus education where we would have been a couple of months ago.”

The role of social data in shaping broader strategies

Nutrisystem’s Social Customer Care Manager, Ryan Baker, described how the importance of social listening is key for the company to keep a finger on the pulse around how people are feeling and see what they are discussing and ensure their message is appropriate. This is key as the company not only competes in the weight loss category but the meal delivery space as well.

“Sentiment analysis is big for us. We’re tracking that across Nutrisystem and South Beach Diet, which we also own. We can compare this data monthly, quarterly even yearly to confirm certain findings.” ITC’s Nand Poddar also echoed the role sentiment analysis plays for his business “NetBase Quid’s social conversations allow us to measure the sentiment of social posts around consumer anxieties and help us better understand consumer emotions and trends.”

Walt Disney Television’s Libba Peromsik, on the other hand, shared that for Disney social listening can get you insights faster which can be integral in guiding strategy and tactics. For instance, using these insights to choose the new bachelor for the hit show. “With NetBase Quid’s social listening tools we have our own instantaneous focus group with quick answers to questions around our TV Shows,” she shared.

Identifying real-time marketing opportunities and planning ahead

Aside from sentiment analysis and staying ahead of the competition, social media data can play a pivotal role in maintaining flexibility in campaign timing — helping you pivot messages as needed to keep it personalized and authentic and inform critical business decisions in real-time.

“For my industry especially people post as they watch, so I can match social conversations minute by minute to what is happening on-air and pinpoint what is the driving most-desired or least-desired reactions and leverage that for future marketing efforts,” said Peromsik. In some cases, a decision needs to be made immediately and social is the best way to get that feedback. “There could be backlash about a casting announcement and something controversial about their past that came up or maybe they tweeted something and we can use social to understand the impact of the backlash and gauge whether it’s a small but vocal group driving the conversation or is it something bigger to address.”

For Baker, Conboy, and Poddar, social listening will be core to their strategies in learning more about what the lasting behavioral change will be post-COVID. “If there’s a negative impetus for change it tends to not be permanent,” said Conboy. For Baker and Poddar there’s a growing curiosity as to whether there will be a drop in grocery delivery and where the trend of eating in the home versus dining out will ultimately net out.

“Social listening has opened up to me the importance of areas such as Reddit. If you go down the rabbit hole enough you can find a lot of marketing opportunities there, added Baker.

As a few parting insights, Baker and Conboy shared, “Don’t be afraid to take a look at the messaging you have. You may be doing everything perfectly and appropriately.” Further, start with a question. What are you trying to find out? This may evolve as you go deeper but as a guidepost, this question is a solid place to start as you use social listening.

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