Before launching into and implementing any online marketing tactic, your company should be investing in doing some audience research. Understanding your demographic and how they are engaging, sharing, searching and interacting online, not just in social media communities or on search engines, is important for understanding how to balance and integrate all of your online marketing channels. Understanding that helps your company implement their strategies much more efficiently and successfully.
There are a lot of tools that marketers and data analyzers can utilize to help them gain powerful insights. From enterprise level tools like Alterian’s SM2 and Radian Six, to tools that are affordable to smaller businesses like Trackur, plus add in great free tools like Google’s Insights, Trends & Keyword tool, sometimes there can be an overload or a firehose of information that has to be sorted through to gain any valuable insights. It can be intimidating when you get back so much data you don’t know where to begin.
Five Tips for Finding Opportunities in Your Audience Research Data
Keep Honing Your Keywords
Start with a combination of Pay Per Click (PPC) and organic search terms, but don’t stop there. Think about how people “talk” about your products, not just search for them. When people share, engage, and hold discussions about topics you’re interested in, they use words they are more comfortable, which can often be slang or jargon. These types of words might not be proper search terms to place into your PPC or organic search tactics, but they are just as important to keep an eye on. Don’t be afraid to filter out words that seem to have different meanings. Remember, audience research is about discovering how your audience refers to you, and discusses & shares their experiences with you, not how they “buy” from you.
Filter Out the Spam
There’s a lot of spam out there. Some platforms are more prone to it than others, just like certain industries are more prone to it. Remember to include negative keywords, filter out known “spam” sites and even block profiles from Facebook & Twitter from continually showing up and tainting your data. With all the “quick gimmick” schemes out there, you need to toss out the “nonsense” conversations or noise to get to the real meaty data that unveils the true opportunities.
Quantity Doesn’t Always Mean Quality
Just because a platform claims to have 500 million users doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right place for you to engage. Quantity does not always equate to quality when it comes to analyzing your audience research data. That also means while there may be a lot of conversation in one platform verses another, that those conversations may still not be of the quality you’re seeking. Until you filter out your spam and go in and actually see the data, the number or count of conversations happening can be very misleading.
Sentiment Analysis is Still a Fuzzy Science
Sentiment analysis is really still in its infancy. Some tools have worked hard on their “sentiment algorithm” and are better than others. Other tools even allow you to amend the dictionary the sentiment analysis runs from. Sentiment, as it stands today, is very rudimentary. The algorithims can tackle pretty simple phrases and rate them accordingly with pretty decent accuracy. However, get into words like “spongy” (think: bad for a car break repair shop, but great for a cake baker), that’s where it really becomes a lot harder to gauge the true sentiment. Before you base everything you see on the tonality or sentiment of the data, go in and examine it for accuracy.
Influencers Are Not Always Evangelists
There is a distinct difference between an influencer and an evangelist. Understanding the difference is important when you are looking at your data to find opportunities to engage in. Just because an individual in a community is deemed as an inflencer, doesn’t necessarily mean you should engage them right from the start. What if that influencer has a “beef” with your company, or they feel that your company wronged them in some way? Their influence in this case is a negative influence. On the other hand, engaging evangelists might not always be wise either. Sometimes, a person who looks like an evangelist doesn’t have a lot of influence – the community that they are in could see them in a negative light. While they love your company, their influence could be minimal. That’s why looking into your data will help you find the perfect balance of influencers (positive ones) and evangelists (influential ones).