Social listening in four steps: from research to communication.

Social listening is a powerful tool in patient recruitment. It provides a variety of insight across all aspects of the recruitment process, from the early stages of protocol development to monitoring late-stage study activity. Perhaps the most useful element of social listening is that it allows a research-based approach to effectively communicate with potential patients in their own words. Using social listening to influence communication is as easy as one, two, three . . . four.

  1. Dive in and start searching.
    The most effective preliminary approach to social listening is a loosely structured one. Start with a broad search to identify who’s talking about a specific condition, what they’re saying, and where they’re saying it. In this preliminary phase of the social listening process, we cast a net over a sea of social networks and blogs, drag it in, and see what we’ve got. Once we’ve confirmed that relevant sources exist based on our initial search set, we move on to step two.
  1. Narrow and nix.
    It’s now time to sift through the search set cast in step one to determine what we should hold on to and what should be thrown back. Oftentimes there will be three or four outstanding forums with a wealth of relevant content, a handful of insightful blogs, and dozens upon dozens of social media verbatims from patients suffering from a particular condition who are willing to open up to their networks. There will also be just as much irrelevant content, which we filter out by narrowing our search parameters to focus solely on those hyper-relevant sources and influencers.
  1. wordcloud

    Qualitative analysis output of patients suffering from coronary artery disease.

    Compile information and conduct qualitative analysis.
    After narrowing our search parameters to hone in on the information most pertinent to our condition, we compile all the text and verbatims for a qualitative analysis. This includes a report identifying common themes and the generation of a word cloud. We remove unnecessary filler words that could potentially impact the word cloud, and we combine certain words from recurring phrases. We also remove any repetition of the condition we’re researching because this typically makes up the core of the search results and, thus, would have too much emphasis in the word cloud. In the end, we’re left with something like this:

  1. Analyze and implement.
    Once we on the analytics team have finished the qualitative analysis report and generated the word cloud, our work is done. At this point, we turn things over to the creative team so they can analyze the output and develop marketing communication around the various themes and phrases unearthed through the social listening process.

For a deeper understanding of social listening – what it is, how we use it, and what it provides – download our social listening OrangePaper.

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