There is a difference between listening and learning.
It’s the difference between the immediate and the reflective; data and knowledge.
Social listening is maturing, delivering well against a number of business cases:
- Online customer engagement.
- Social activity + keyword monitoring.
- Tracking, measurement + reporting.
And there’s a common thread here, social listening works best when supporting metric-led activities, providing KPIs for the social age (likes, sentiment, shares, keyword frequencies).
But measuring isn’t learning. It’s not creative. It rarely inspires. And this is why those looking for real insight are often disappointed.
The business case for learning
It’s very simple. People spot patterns and find insights in ways computers can’t. They do more than listen, they learn.
They can read what people talk about in the social conversation and find new insights unlocking before them. They can take the context in which an organisation works and use this to shape what they learn from the data they’re exposed to. They can appreciate the situation, what’s important and why.
They can transform data into knowledge.
Knowledge which can inspire organisations to find new opportunities to be more successful. They can find ‘why’.
Let’s look at a couple of examples…
1. I am beard
If you listen to men in the US talking about their beards on social, you’ll get a load of keywords.
If you read and reflect on this data, learn from it, you’ll see the importance of superstition, how concepts of ‘I am man’ play out, the fragility of the male ego.
This can then fire up your marketing plan, it shows you how men really live their beards – and it’s this natural insight that gives you something really different to say.
2. Not just a pretty face
When you just listen to the social conversation about Victoria Secrets in Australia you’ll find mostly vapid mentions of their models and events.
When you go deeper, you learn more. You see what often happens; brands fixate on how people talk about them, while consumers relegate the brand to something that’s a small part of their lives.
Victoria Secrets is missing a trick, their focus on models and events ignores the real person and what they want, a great #beachday.
The benefits of Social Learning
If you’ve just listened, you might be feeling a bit underwhelmed. But you can’t push the tech to deliver what’s missing.
You need people, the right people. People who can see the patterns in the data. Those who know how to listen and learn.
If this sounds interesting, you might like to see some examples of how we’ve helped some great brands learn new things more about their customers.