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Using Social Listening to Reveal Actionable Insights

by Lindsey Goebel

News about advances in 3D printing technologies, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s stance on LGBT issues, and contagious cancers are seemingly incompatible stories. But a closer look reveals these issues are in fact related, part of a larger conversation about the topic of organ donation.

These trending headlines were uncovered when conducting a social listening exercise to assess what’s driving media coverage and online chatter relating to organ donation. An article about producing life-sized body parts and tissues using living cells as the “ink” in a 3D printer received more than 20,000 mentions over the last three months. Prime Minister Trudeau was recently in the news for promising to end his country’s ban on homosexuals donating blood and organs. And a writer for the New York Times reported scientists are curious about the potential transfer of person-to-person cancer cells. Using the social analytic tool Talkwalker, we learned these three articles alone had a combined reach of more than 40 million people.

Understanding the headlines and popular social conversations related to your brand, issue or cause is the first step in collecting valuable information about your audience. By keeping a beat on your audiences’ needs and motivators through monitoring the social landscape, you can better reach people where they’re already interacting, and ultimately influence behavior.

How social listening connects the hearts of organ donors

TalkWalkerGraph_2Social listening can also inform when a brand should join a conversation. For example, on February 14, National Donor Day, a dramatic spike in organ donor-related conversation was measured in both volume and positive sentiment, as noted by the green line in the graph. This holiday offered an opportunity to reach and interact with a broader audience who was already engaged around the donation topic.

Crosby’s client, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), part of HHS, recognizes the value of identifying key opportunities for driving greater awareness to encourage more people to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors. The government agency leverages Facebook’s targeted reach as one of many communications outlets to educate the general public. In monitoring the organdonor.gov Facebook community, HRSA noticed a common theme – many commenters were inclined to share emotional, life-changing stories about receiving a transplant, or how their loved ones saved lives by donating organs. This community was becoming a support group for those with a connection to the cause.

social-listening-hrsaThis insight drove HRSA to develop #MadePossibleMonday, a user-generated content (UGC) series designed to spread awareness about organ donation. This UGC campaign, fueled by social intelligence, allowed HRSA to share inspirational stories, not only demonstrating to community members that they were heard, but also activating those people to share the message with their networks, and ultimately driving new users to register.  #MadePossibleMonday content resulted in more than two million organic impressions and made up nearly 10% of all shared content from the organdonor.gov Facebook page in 2015.

Leveraging social listening as a component of the overall engagement strategy is a great way to not only identify key trends in the conversation, but to also utilize the information to inform business decisions about products or services, prioritize developing trending and relatable content, and fuel content ideation. In addition to the actionable insights social listening provides, understanding audience sentiment and identifying moments in the conversation where it’s appropriate for a brand/organization to step in and guide the conversation is another value-add of a formal social listening program.

This is an excerpt from the article, “How Social Listening Reveals Actionable Insights,” published in the April issue of O’Dwyer’s Magazine.

Lindsey Goebel

VP, Director of Social Media & Content Marketing

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