Gaining Audience Intelligence

Gaining Audience Intelligence - #TwitterSmarter chat with Christina Garnett - August 27, 2020

It’s easy to use Twitter. However, we don’t always realize how best to use the data we gather from our social media activities. For instance, one of the main purposes for a brand to be on social media is to understand their audience better. This involves listening to your audience; what they say, feel, and want from you, and then to use that information to improve your brand. But how do you go about getting that data in the first place?

We invited digital marketing strategist, Christina Garnett, to talk about acquiring audience intelligence. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Christina Garnett
Topic: Gaining Audience Intelligence
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What is audience intelligence?

In simple terms, audience intelligence is a fancy term to say ‘know who you’re talking to’. And on social media, you can glean that information by analyzing data and understanding your audience’s engagement patterns, sentiments, and buying preferences.

Another good way to think about audience intelligence is as Megan said—it’s an exercise to identify what exactly your target demography does and wants.

As our guest said, you can gain audience intelligence by combining social listening and researching your market.

Azad also pointed out that one of the biggest advantages of online marketing is the ability to closely observe your audience and use that information to make a positive impression.

Q2: Why is audience intelligence important for a brand?

Everything online is about talking to your customers. When you know what your customers like and dislike, you can tailor your content accordingly. That’s why audience intelligence is key for brand growth. What’s more, aside from satisfying your audience with custom and personalized content, you can also attract new leads and customers who seek that level of personal care from a brand.

While it helps to give your audience content they will appreciate, it’s also good not to give them content they don’t want. As Roxanne pointed out, you don’t want to talk about grass-fed beef to a vegetarian. That’s not good marketing, and it doesn’t help your brand either.

Q3: How do you start planning for social listening and audience intelligence?

For starters, know your why. And your what. And your who, where, and how. If you don’t know who you’re going to listen to, you’ll have a hard time drowning unnecessary noise.

For instance, when you start listening on social media, you should know what types of accounts to look out for and what common topics they discuss. All of this is standard information that you might already know. Nevertheless, make a note, including common hashtags, keywords and phrases, so that you and your team can waste less time trying to find ideal conversations to engage with.

At the same time, see that you and your stakeholders know why you’re listening on social media. For most of us, though the goal is to provide a good and personal customer experience, note down specific goals so that you can be accountable to them. It’s also helpful to have a list of regular tasks, do’s and don’ts, and tools you use so that others who manage your brand handle can stay on the same page.

Our friend from Salt Rank made a good point about social listening. Often, when we’re so engrossed in observing our audience and their conversations, we forget to ask our audience directly what they want and don’t want. It’s just too easy to remain on the sidelines and not enagage. Don’t do that—social media, and especially Twitter—are designed to encourage discussions.

Q4: What can you learn from social listening?

Social listening is like conducting a massive survey without actually going through the whole process. When you do it properly, not only do you get to know what your audience wants from you, but you can also understand their opinions about the market in general. It’s a great way to see what potential customers think of your customers.

Just as with knowing what kind of content to deliver to your audience, social listening can also give you a good idea of what you can do to improve your offering. As our friend from SEO Charge said, whether you sell products or services, social listening can give you valuable clues for improvements, offers, and promotions you can implement into your process.

Q5: How has COVID-19 impacted social listening?

With a large part of the world shifting to working from home, social listening has become more important than ever. It’s also worth remembering that because more people are now completely online for most of their day, they also spend more time on social media channels. This is a great opportunity to understand their problems and make an appropriate strategy.

Smita said it well—because of COVID-19, brands have realized the pressing need to focus on community building. What used to be mere personas and numbers have become actual people that brands converse with on a regular basis. This has also helped break down some of the disconnect that often exists between companies and their customers on social media.

Q6: How can businesses use social listening to engage their audience?

Think like your audience would. Our guest gave us a great example of a restaurant business. If they keep an eye on people talking about recommendations or takeaways, then they’re likely to tap into a new set of potential customers.

That point tied into what Jignesh said about finding new audiences. When you listen on social media, you can use that information not only to share helpful content, but also to identify new keywords, thought processes, and customer feedback. What’s more, keeping your eyes and ears peeled on social media will also improve your customer service.

Q7: How can you use audience intelligence to improve your brand/offering?

People often use social media, and Twitter especially, to complain about products and services. Use that to your advantage—take your audience’s voice as feedback and see how you can improve on it. Some people even request certain features or updates. All of that’s great data for you to improve on. And when you do implement an audience suggestion, let them know. That’ll also bolster your brand’s reputation and credibility.

If you use an audience analysis tool, like SparkToro, you can go further and identify users and customers who’re influential in other spaces, and initiate potential collaborations.

Vivek also spoke about using negative comments as a way to improve. Social media thrives on sentiment. If you can analyze how your customers feel about you, you can change your offering accordingly.

Q8: What tools can businesses use to gauge their audience’s preferences?

Christina recommended SparkToro for audience behaviour analysis, Survey Monkey to send out customer surveys, and Talkwalker Alerts for social alerts and listening.

She also shared a comprehensive toolkit for marketers. Check it out.

Bernie and some of our community members also mentioned Twitter’s in-app analytics, Social Oomph, and Google Analytics.

Norryn mentioned some broader strategies worth looking into. She suggested running polls, setting up feedback forms on your website, surveying your customers, and conducting live training or webinar sessions to gauge your audience better.

Well folks, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading, and for more insights from our chat with Christina, check out this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. If you’ve got some time to spare next Thursday, come join us for our #TwitterSmarter chat at 1pm ET.

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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