Using Social Media Listening to Power Up Programme Research

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Published on

May 2, 2017
Time to read: 3 minutes

Social media listening offers a powerful way to expand the scope of any programme research and more fully connect with audiences around the world.

In 2016, 9 out of 10 British 16-24 year olds regularly logged into some form of social media. But it wasn’t just young people using these services: in the same year, 75% of 35-44 year olds also used social media to chat about the things that interested them.

Across the demographic spectrum, social media offers a potential window into the conversations people are having about the things they love – you just need to know how to listen in.

TV is a big part of this online conversation. Sharing reactions to new plot-lines; commenting on character arcs; or quoting funny lines of dialogue – today’s viewers regularly sign-in to social media to talk about their favourite TV moments (or, sometimes, vent about the issues that didn’t work for them). Tapping into this dialogue offers a powerful way for broadcasters to supplement traditional qualitative programme research and learn more about the issues exciting or frustrating viewers.

Social Media Listening - 2016 Stats - Hook ResearchPowering up programme research with social media listening

At Hook Research, we use a number of tools to track these conversations and understand what is resonating with audiences. Whether that is on a niche Reddit forum or in the comments of a fan-made Instagram spoiler account, our tools allow us to explore the various places where viewers are openly talking about their favourite programmes and identify the individuals sparking these conversations.

We begin each social media listening project by identifying our client’s demographic and platform needs, as this will have a direct impact on the networks we scrutinise during our research. If we’re targeting younger fans, for example, we’ll turn to younger-skewing platforms like Instagram, while older viewers might be more profitably explored on Twitter or (where possible) Facebook.

Targeting these platforms, we then build an overall understanding of top-level of posting trends: How many people are talking about the show across all relevant platforms? When are users engaging with the programme’s official hashtag? Are certain keywords or alternative hashtags regularly used? What can these terms reveal about the show or episode? Answering these big questions gives us a context for more in-depth probing later on.

In addition, we often use social media listening to situate a programme within its competitor landscape. Gaining a general understanding of the moments generating dialogue across a genre, allows us to shed light on themes that could drive maximum engagement with our client’s target audience in particular.

Deep diving into social posts

After identifying the macro-trends, we then deep-dive into the individual posts themselves. This allows us to focus on key moments driving online dialogue and identify the themes and topics that are instigating discussions online. Not only do we explore the moments being talked about, but we also explore the multimedia being shared, and perform a broad sentiment analysis of the language used.

At this stage, we look particularly closely at the individuals who are creating the dialogue with the highest engagement. Are these celebrities? Joke accounts? Lifestyle bloggers? Are they creating original posts or sharing a popular meme?  Getting to the heart of the factors driving this engagement allows us to develop takeaways about tone and content, or identify potential for future collaborations.

Social Media Listening - Hook ResearchRevealing the bigger picture

From character and plot development points to issues on tone and style – our social media listening projects have generated action-focused insights for many of our broadcast clients.

Bringing together a big picture understanding of the social media landscape with an in-depth look at individual posts generates a comprehensive picture of online engagement around a TV programme. And this picture becomes even more powerful when supplemented by our qualitative techniques and unique 4D methodology…

Introducing Social Intelligence – powering up social listening with AI and Qual Research

At Hook, we’re teamed up with data science company Signify to produce a ground-breaking new methodology called Social Intelligence: a process that combines the power and scope of Artificial Intelligence with the nuance and depth of Qualitative Research. Find out more about Social Intelligence here!

Or, if you’d prefer, we would love to take you out for a coffee and a chat – just drop us an email and let us know when you’d like to meet up!


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