When marketers monitor social conversation, it’s difficult to determine if a spike in post volume is worthy of attention or simply a fluke.
For instance, Dairy Queen’s marketing team may notice a sharp increase in social posts that mention their brand. Getting to the bottom of a conversation spike normally requires digging through hundreds of posts to get the complete picture. What caused the spike to occur? It could be something in the news, a shout-out from a celebrity or a customer service issue gone viral. Either way, Dairy Queen needs to go beyond post volume to understand the reason mentions spiked at all.
What’s important to note, however, is that a sub-topic that spikes around your brand is truly only valuable if it deviates from the norm. For instance, if posts about Dairy Queen rise at the beginning of the summer, no one should be surprised. People are spending time outside, are warming up and desire an ice cream snack. This is a routine rise in conversation from a predictable event.
On the other hand, if Dairy Queen were to see a spike in posts in December, they would need deeper insight as to why — what stimulus has become a common enough connection to my brand that it is a driver of a major conversation spike? Is this an opportunity to develop new content, innovate a product or optimize media?
When brands have this information, they can react quickly and connect with customers on a new level.
For instance, FIFA sponsors like McDonald’s and Budweiser recently got a shock on social media when high-ranking FIFA officials were arrested on corruption charges. Fans spoke adamantly on social media to demand these brands abandon their sponsorship, and the media buzz only increased when Last Week Tonight host John Oliver demanded the end of these brand sponsorships on his show, greatly increasing the issue’s visibility. The problem is that these brands see massive amounts of social posts about them every day. During this public relations crisis, it was crucial that the brands be able to understand why people were posting about their brand and when in order to determine an appropriate response.
The way consumers use social media to discuss brands changes rapidly. From product reviews, social event planning or sharing content, the ways your customers chat about your brand vary and it’s important to understand the reasons behind these changes to remain relevant in their lives and conversations. When you understand the why behind a conversation spike, you bridge the gap between social reaction and proactive social conversation generation.