Social Listening: Real World Applications

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This is the final part in a three-part series on social listening tools in arts organizations. The two previous installments can be found here and here.

Despite the immense value social listening can bring to marketing departments, such tools are rarely used by many organizations; only about 20% of marketers across industries are using social listening tools. No doubt, this number is even lower in the arts. However, despite this low number, organizations that do employ social listening tools often gain interesting insights that aid their marketing efforts.

Music Festivals

In a recent article by Social Media Today, Dinah Alobeid analyzed a few insights gathered from social listening in regards to an array of topics. One of her topics was Lollapalooza, the music festival that takes place in Chicago every summer. In her report, Alobeid states that in the seven days prior to the festival lineup announcement, Lollapalooza was mentioned almost 169,000 times on social media, but half of that was on the 23rd, when the lineup was announced. In addition, 82% of those social media posts had a positive sentiment, and many of those with a negative sentiment were those expressing uncertainty that they could get tickets for that year.

Despite positive statements from the audience about Lollapalooza’s lineup, the marketing department might look at this social listening data from the days leading up to the lineup announcement and strategize how to create more of a buzz on social media for subsequent years. Perhaps by doing some sort of countdown, or asking audiences to recount their favorite festival memories, the marketing team could build anticipation. In addition, to reassure those worried they might not be able experience the festival, Lollapalooza can market their live-streaming services more heavily to those who can’t come to Chicago, or to those who missed their chance to purchase a ticket.

In another example, Eventbrite, a ticketing software system, conducted a case study on music festivals. They monitored millions of social media posts from across the country to find out what people were talking about, when they were saying it, and who these people were. In their topline findings, they discovered that the majority of conversations surrounding festivals occur before the event. Furthermore, most people who used social media to discuss festivals were focused on the brand and reputation of the festival as a whole rather than on any individual performers. A further breakdown of social media posts showed that the majority of activity occurring before the event were posts talking about the lineup and how excited audience members were to purchase tickets to a festival. Eventbrite found that 55% of their audience was female, and the majority of their social audience was between the ages of 17-24.

These findings can help marketers to clearly see who their prime demographics are. They can also begin to understand the motivations behind festival attendance. Since the majority of the users are under 30, and the majority of the posts were focused on experiencing the festival as a whole, marketers might induce that these music festivals serve a social need, in addition to providing an aesthetic experience. Millennials are already attending festivals in droves, so festivals can find innovative ways to serve the social needs of this demographic, such as a contest for backstage passes for a group of friends, or making travel packages for groups traveling from out of state that include dinner, and a hotel room.


Non-Arts Organizations

You may recognize the brand Acer, the world’s fourth largest PC provider. Recently, Acer teamed up with the text-analytics software company Clarabridge to find a way to increase the number of customer contact points in order to get more data and feedback from their customers. In the beginning, Acer’s only direct contact with its customers was from recorded calls to their customer service center. While Acer’s team did good work on speech and sentiment analysis with these calls, they lacked the time needed to build a comprehensive understanding of their customers' concerns; there were simply too many calls and too few people analyzing them. Acer decided to team up with Clarabridge to help gather and interpret their customer service data. Acer also increased the number of ways they collect data from their customers, by introducing surveys, polls, emails, online forums, and social media. These diverse data streams, interpreted by a text-processing software, allowed Acer to efficiently collect feedback and react appropriately in a timely manner.

In another example, DataRank, a social analytics provider, teamed up with a disinfectant company to prevent inventory shortage during the flu season. They decided to use social listening to see where the flu was more common at any given time. Locations where social media mentions of the flu were common were determined to be flu prominent. As a result, extra inventory was sent to the flu prominent areas, so there was less risk of shortages. Similarly, FEMA recently used social listening to track trends in communities so in order to provide help as quickly as possible. American Red Cross CEO Geoff DeLizzio is a firm believer in the effectiveness of social listening analysis: “We will see on a street three people talk about their water being out, and within 20-30 minutes we can have water on their street.”

Get on the Social Listening Bandwagon

Clearly, social listening can reveal deep insights to any organization, whether it is in the arts or the corporate world. If you want to hop on the social listening trend, you should ask yourself, “what is the goal I am trying to achieve?” With music festivals, it might be finding any correlation between conversations before, during and after festivals. In commerce, the goal might be to maximize the number of direct points between the company and customer to, in turn, get as much feedback as possible. With health organizations, the goal might be to geographically identify where problems occur and address them more quickly.

Regardless of your goal, social listening can provide a wealth of information that your marketing department will surely thank you for. 

Banner image by Eva Rinaldi, licensed under Creative Commons.