Image listening: the most important development in social media analysis since…ever

2017-06-28 14:06
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by Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia | LinkedIn

There are a number of different levels at which social media resonates with businesses (and individuals) as a tool.

We all know how valuable social media can be as a way of engaging our audiences inside and out, because, unlike other types of media it is many to many (rather than one to one or one to many). This is using social media at its most basic level.

The next level is social listening. The ability to be able to listen to what communities are saying about your market, your brand, even your competitors. This can provide valuable insights into what your customers really want.

I say, what they “really” want because the problem with traditional research is that merely asking questions distorts answers. For example, if I walk in to a room and say, “what do you think of my shirt?” people may tell me that they don’t like it. That is a long way away from me walking in to a room and someone saying unprompted “I don’t like your shirt”. That because in the first example, I forced an answer and people merely settled on the shirt as being the offending item.

This “listening” is valuable in many ways, including R&D, customer research and NPD. But with the proliferation of 4G, smartphones, and the development of people’s expectations, so much of what is shared between people on social networks is not words but pictures.

Imagine that all these “brand mentions”, for example, that photo of me wearing an Adidas shirt, or sitting in my BMW could be trawled, indexed and searched at scale across every social network.

This is image listening

So, what are the practical applications for this (rather than just interesting anecdotes) you may be asking?

Imagine if I try on a shirt and post a photo on my network to see if people think it suits me. Surely that’s the ultimate buying signal. How about if I’ve just run a campaign and want to try and calculate the “old school” media value from that campaign? It would be a pretty powerful at doing that too.

In fact, it is an amazing leap forward in terms of how valuable social media can be to organisations. You can probably think of several ideas yourself about how you could make use of image listening within your own marcoms departments. 

It takes the guesswork out of success and opens up a whole new world of opportunities. According to Inc. by 2018 over 80% of social communications will be visual which means that if you don’t employ image listening then you are basing all of your marketing decisions on 20% of the data. At best that is careless. At worst negligent.

Which brings us to our friends at Brandwatch. To help you get the full picture of your customers, they have launched a new product, Image Insights. This enables brands to collect and analyse images containing any logo from Twitter, with more sources to be added soon. This includes your logo as well as those of your competitor’s logo or any other that’s important to you. If you’d like to learn more about it, get in touch with the Brandwatch team.

We are a Social Media Agency. We do three things: Social Media Strategy,Social Selling and Social Media Management. Drop us an email and let’s talk about how we can make an impact on your organisation. 

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