TikTok Myths Debunked With Social Listening: Myth #1

If you’ve spent the better part of the past 6 months staying at home, chances are you’ve heard of (or tried) one of the many dance challenges shared on TikTok and the rest of social media. We’re here to uncover more about happenings on this platform with a social listening dive!

While learning new moves is certainly a great way to pass time, TikTok offers much more than just that. The app is not just popular with individuals – big brands like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty have also jumped on the bandwagon. While Fenty’s Instagram page is more refined and filled with carefully-curated content such as official product announcements, their TikTok page is a little more playful, containing makeup-related memes and fun tutorials that earn a high volume of engagement.

Many marketers have assumptions about who should use this platform (“It’s only for kids”) and what you can do with it (“it’s just an app to learn dances”), and Circus Social’s 20/Twenty is here to debunk the top myths we’ve found around TikTok! Keep an eye out as we’ll be debunking one TikTok myth a day this week!

MYTH 1: “TikTok is only popular in the West”

False! Ironically, this is the only mainstream social media platform that did not originate from the West. In 2019, Sensor Tower reported that TikTok amassed over 738 million downloads globally. An estimated 190 million of these came from Southeast Asia – that’s 25% of all downloads! Indonesia accounts for the most number of active TikTok-ers in Southeast Asia, sitting at approximately 81 million downloads.

TikTok User Demographics
Image courtesy of BusinessOfApps

There’s more where this came from! Check out more myths busted with social listening here.

What Do You Do When You Can’t Trust Market Research?

Frustration From Market Research

I still recall back in school when we had to sit through surveys, I would blindly fill up the questionnaires because (i) it’s not graded (for me at least) and (ii) it’s boring. I didn’t think it was important at all – I mean, who really cares and takes them seriously, right? Market analysis..phew!

Fast forward 15 years later – That person is me.

As a skeptic who questions the soundness of everything, the workings of market research is a huge conundrum. Businesses are spending huge budgets to back “data-driven” consumer insights, and governments are counting on these findings to craft and implement public policies. But what happens when the data is less accurate than we’d like it to be? Having the privilege of being both a researcher and a consumer, it’s easy to see why many can’t trust market analysis or research, even when it’s conducted by the biggest and most experienced agencies. 

Tradition rarely triumphs.   

Following the great mantra “look inward before looking outward”, let’s start with innate issues that can be regulated by research agencies. From the logistical set up, to research design, agencies have the liberty to control everything. However, the commercial nature of market research makes it challenging for agencies to prioritize sanctity of research over profitability. Case in point – Established agencies are generally slower to innovate because the success of their current business model creates a strong inertia to deviate from.

Having said that, even a foolproof methodology is only half the battle won; you’ll need genuine data to derive credible insights. That’s where most problems arise – Not from the research design, but when researchers fail to see from the lens of a consumer. 

Consumers don’t care about your surveys. 

As a consumer, there isn’t enough skin in the game to want to help businesses improve through  genuine feedback. With competitors aplenty, we can always buy from someone else who already meets our needs, without all the hassle. This is where most researchers get blindsided – Just because you care about the findings doesn’t mean the consumer does.  

One may suggest that incentives give consumers a reason to care, but when was the last time you whole-heartedly completed a survey for cash? Chances are, you rushed through it just for the reward. Aside from concerns around data integrity, the consumer of 2020 is no longer enticed by measly incentives. This is especially true for Millennials, who are now more time-sensitive and digitized than ever before – making it harder to capture their fleeting attention. While not paying attention to Millennials wouldn’t be an issue 15 years ago (since most were still in school), they are now the largest market drivers across the globe. 

Pessimists may view the points above and render market research obsolete with no redeeming factors, but in reality, all you need is a little creativity to break out of the traditional mould in deriving consumer insights. Thanks to the agility of startups and our belief in the potential of social intelligence, the research team at Circus Social has developed a methodology that not only protects the quality of consumer insights, but ensures we understand consumers who matter the most – the Millennials.

Introducing Research@CS. 

What is Research @CS?

Though the industry has been around since the 1930s, a major bulk of the evolution of the market research industry has been dominated by self-reported data. Arduous data collection processes have become a huge obstacle in turnaround, but what’s worse is when this hurdle unknowingly compromises research integrity. With the internet creating a wealth of new data sources, research no longer needs to be confined to the traditional surveys and focus group discussions. Research@CS is the millennial of market research – research redesigned with 360° integration of social listening, gamified surveys and cultural studies.

How does this work?

As with every problem in the history of mankind, there is no perfect solution to answer all your research questions. Surveys concisely relay your questions to the respondents, yet people are incentivised for ingenuity. Focus groups open your eyes to the most unexpected ideas, but how often do you get the best moderators and innovative thinkers in the same room? All methodology comes with its pros and cons, and it is our responsibility to build on the strength and eliminate the noises in each method in order to hear what the consumers really have to say. 

Why is this better?

When we start depending less on tedious self-reported questions and answers, data integrity gets fortified – which in turn assures the credibility of insights. Opinions can rarely get any more truthful than unprompted views on social media, which is why social listening is our preferred method in gathering qualitative insights. By collaborating with partners that have access to communities of Millennials, these questionnaires that come in the form of gamified surveys are no longer a chore, but a fun relief from one’s daily routine.

Thanks to the widespread internet culture, a hefty financial investment and lengthy time commitment are no longer requirements for better insights. Since consumer responses are but a click away, our average study only needs a quarter of the time of traditional research – freeing up more time for stakeholders to strategize using our insights. The cost savings are also unparalleled – a simple research which could easily cost 5-figures, can now be done at a fraction of the price.  

At the end of the day, it boils down to what businesses are trying to get out of their research. Not all organizations wish to make changes, or have the operational capacity to make changes, that are driven by consumer insights; some are solely doing market research as a SOP, while others are down and ready for action. If you are a B2C business looking for direction on decisions, you probably want to start listening to your biggest consumers – because not only do millennials purchase, they influence others to do the same. 

And if you don’t trust market research as it is, Research@CS may just be what you were looking for – the millennial of market research that celebrates the digital age, embraces the short attention span and gives you the actionable, reliable and non incentivised insights that you couldn’t get before.

To find out more about what we do at Research@CS (or maybe have a debate with me on any of the points above), feel free to reach out at jillian.chi@circussocial.com.

3 Ways to Leverage on Social Listening for (more) Effective Digital Marketing

As we usher in the Lunar New Year, it’s a good time for us to look back on the 2018’s highs and lows.

Did you achieve the targets and hit the digital marketing and KPI’s you set? If not, are you making the most out of the information you gathered about your consumers and achieving high engagement & association scores linked to your objectives?

Leveraging on social listening to understand consumer habits, benchmark and track conversations can do wonders and perfectly complement your marketing strategy.

Here’s how!

Identify Conversation Themes and Brand Associations

Maintaining brand image and driving positive associations requires a structured plan that is built on consumer insights and spotting opportunities from competitive tracking.

The digital marketing conversation

To do this effectively, we encourage our clients to dive into the conversations that netizens are having and focusing on the key category themes that your brand or competitors are mostly mentioned in. Identify common phrases and emotions to get an idea on what netizens associate your brand with. It could be an emotion or a consumption moment; You’ll be surprised at the type of chatter you can find on social media.

How you can make use of it

By identifying these common conversation themes, you can streamline and optimize your content calendars for various digital channels for an optimal digital marketing strategy. Work with your social media leads or brand ambassadors to map out your communication materials for campaigns that are in line with category conversations.  This allows you to strengthen your brand voice by sharing content linked to existing themes or topics of discussion that your audience is already engaging in.  . Showing your understanding of the key topics that consumers’ discuss and ask about, is important if you want engagement and traction online.

 

Spot popular channels to get targeted/effective reach

Marketing on all social media channels would probably get a lot of reach for your brand, but are you really reaching the audience that matters to you? Are your ad placements and reach numbers converting into leads fast enough? Are they the right channels that are inline with your consumer behavior? If they’re not, then probably you need to rethink about your digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing today

Why aren’t my reach numbers converting into leads?

Paid media can be a hefty investment so it’s important to target areas that have high traffic and an audience base that talks about relevant topics. For example, if you are marketing electronics to people aged between 21 and 25, then perhaps placing ads and banners on popular E-Commerce sites, might get you a higher click-through-rate as compared to placing it on search engine portals. Determine popular “hang outs” by looking into your consumer online habits (e.g. Do they leave reviews on sites or comment directly on brand ambassadors’ pages? If they are camera-lovers, do they visit Hardwarezone or Nikon Rumours?). You can then focus on these sites for paid media to effectively target your audience.

You might also need to consider the type of content, messaging and communication style per channel to create more relevant content. Think about the types of questions your audience is asking on these channels, the pain points they regularly share, and what types of thought-leadership and educational content you can create to drive organic traffic, or boost your paid media as well. Put out your ears to social listening.

 

Establish Engagement Level Norms during the Year: During Campaigns, and Quiet Periods

“We have to be Always-on!”

That’s something that many of us believe in, but what happens when you are “off ?” Getting traction during periods where your brand does not have a big launch or activation can be a challenge. Instead of aiming to achieve such high traction all the time, establish some engagement norms to identify a healthy traction range for your brand.

Social platforms and digital marketing

What do you mean by a healthy range for engagement?  

Identify the level of engagement that your brand and their biggest competitors typically garner on a weekly or monthly basis. Stay in tune with the online behaviour and patterns of your consumers. This average can serve as a benchmark as to how much traction your brand should be gathering. Deviating too far from it will be an alert for you to re-look your social media engagement strategies and identify opportunities to act. You can even take it one step further by identifying an upper and lower limit of engagement levels to see how much your engagement levels can afford to fluctuate.

Instead of aiming to achieve high traction all the time, establish some engagement norms.

The key takeaway is to understand your audience. Social media intelligence and social listening can tell you a lot on your key target market and provide insights into consumer behaviour. From brand awareness to brand associations, these are just some of the ways that you can make use of social listening to improve your digital marketing strategies. So the question is, have you been listening?

Why Social Listening for Luxury Brands?

Why Is Social Listening So Crucial For Luxury Brands?


There are more than 1,000,000 engagements about the luxury space occurring every day in the social media and digital ecosystem.

This is where word-of-mouth takes the form of reviews, customer support is expected in real-time and where brand messaging and consumer communications play a very strong role. Hence, this is exactly why listening and actively tracking what consumers share about your brand matters the most.

Luxury merchandise, spanning across jewelry, cosmetics, apparel, automotive to even custom designed furniture and handmade electronics – all have a consumer base that’s actively conducting research and contemplating their high-end purchases online.

More than a million mentions daily on luxury products

This is also where consumer conversations left untracked can take a turn for the worse.

BRAND SENTIMENT GONE WRONG CAN HAVE IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE

To share an example, Burberry recently faced extreme criticism online for destroying a great deal of merchandise to avoid it being sold at a lower cost. This resulted in high volumes of negative consumer sentiment and criticism online via blogs, forums and even on the brand’s own online properties such as its Facebook page.

Burberry gone wrong

The news and negative sentiment around this matter continue to spread and this could potentially result in a loss of millions for the brand, if not addressed well in time.

Such instances can cause an irreversible damage to your brand perception by consumers if not dealt with immediately and with the right messaging.

BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF WHAT YOUR CONSUMERS ARE SAYING – AND TURN THEM INTO POSITIVE OPPORTUNITIES

 

By actively tracking consumer sentiments and receiving real-time alerts, you can preemptively prepare for customer service issues, brand reputation incidents and­­ communicate well to your audience. ­­­

Identifying what these conversations are all about is not the only aspect that is crucial, but also understanding where audiences are engaging the most and exchanging their views.


Identify where conversations are taking place

IDENTIFY WHERE YOUR CONSUMERS ENGAGE ONLINE – LEVERAGE THESE PLATFORMS

Luxury automotive brand, BMW, known for its innovativeness and performance, has consistently engaged its consumers. This is done frequently online via various digital touchpoints, immersive website experiences and digital campaigns such as the Z4 AR campaign and the recent “Eyes on Gigi” campaign.
These initiatives not only engage consumers online but also fortify the luxury car brand’s perceptions among its consumers.


BMWs EyesOnGigi campaign

Another luxury beauty retailer, SKII Japan, leveraged online discussions to create a futuristic in-store experience. The experience, called SKII Future X, allowed consumers to feel, touch and experience their SKII products in a unique way including skin scanners and personalized skin maintenance recommendations.


SKII FutureX experiential store

DISCOVER AUDIENCE GROUPS & THEIR PREFERENCES

Understanding the digital behavior of your consumers and understanding who & what they engage with, is necessary to ensure you are creating content that resonates.

They also offer you a means to discover new audience groups, identify current gaps and opportunities and discover which features or attributes they care about most.


Identify audiences and influencers

With 20/Twenty, our next-gen social monitoring solution, Kinder was able to dive deep into the chocolate industry and discover insights about what consumers felt about Kinder products. The brand was not only able to identify key chocolate consumption moments but also how other chocolate brands like Ferrero and Cadbury were being perceived by consumers. This allowed Kinder to create effective and memorable content for moms and teenagers, that was differentiated, targeted and built ground-up from real consumer insights.

THERE’S MORE TO DISCOVER WITH SOCIAL LISTENING – EXPLORE THEM HERE!