1.Deep Insights, or wide coverage?

Most of us are familiar with social listening tools and dashboards — Buffer, Mention, Sprout Social, Hootsuite and others that follow conversations customers are having about brands and with brands in a relatively immediate and unadulterated online setting.

And while social listening is a good measure of broad stroke trends and sentiments, limitations in current AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology mean that we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to actually understanding our audiences. 

At the more traditional end of the spectrum we have access panel surveys or focus groups and interviews. Where we work with a reasonable sample size, but have limited flexibility in evolving study questions during the process, and rely too heavily on participants’ recall. FocusTM  was developed as an alternative to both traditional market research programs and AI-driven social listening tools. 

“Organisations often spend thousands of dollars and several months on market research they ultimately decide they’re not interested in. On the other hand with AI and NLP we can tap into the prevailing customer sentiment, but can’t go too deep in terms of analysis, and you begin to see why the human element matters,” says Simon Chung.

FocusTM brings the best of both worlds — the breadth of social listening with the depth of a focus group. This makes it possible to arrive at comprehensive and actionable insights within weeks. 

It’s the platform’s speed and flexibility that make it particularly suited to this economic climate.

2. The loudest voice in the room

Do a small proportion of powerful influencers shape your brand’s social narrative? Across sectors from lifestyle brands to airlines, long-tail micro influencers guide social recommendations, they’re the most likely to post their experiences, and make or break new products. 

In a recent personas profiling study of an airline’s loyalty club members, the FocusTM team discovered that a disproportionate share of social posts were from travellers under the age of twenty-five. 

“Knowing the airline and knowing their customers, we realise that’s not an accurate reflection of the audience. What it does say is that when younger members fly first class, they’re quick to voice their opinions, and the stories they share are influential in shaping the brand’s image on social channels,” says Jonathan Magee. 

The question then is: do we keep to what we find organically or do we weight the study to reflect the older demographic? As a platform FocusTM gives organisations the flexibility to choose depending on their goals. 
“If it’s about getting maximum traction online or creating a thrill for a tiny, but hyper-vocal fraction of customers, then we can lean towards our organic results. If it’s about creating an experience that resonates with every category of potential customer, then we can look more closely at the underrepresented voices and adapt our approach.” 

With more customers tuning in to search engines and social media before their purchases, connecting with key personas can be a highly effective way of converting future customers. A granular understanding of persona preferences can help brands play a critical role at earlier touch points in the decision journey, tailoring products to meet the needs of both — the most vocal customers, and the ones who tend to slip through the cracks.