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Harnessing the power of social media insights for marketing strategy

While marketers tend to focus on what people are saying about their brands in social media, they sometimes overlook the people who are driving these conversations.

In our latest video blog, Cathy Buena (Research Director, GfK Digital Market Intelligence) discusses how GfK helped a major pharma company—by combining social media insights and market research—learn more about how social media was affecting their clinical trials.


To mine the strategic value of social media data, you need more than a dashboard. Marketers have a tendency to focus on what people are saying about their brands on social platforms – and that is important. But they sometimes overlook the other half of the equation – a deep knowledge of the people driving those conversations.

By combining social media insights with traditional market research, and developing a nuanced picture of both the “who” and the “what” of social dialogue, brands can learn how the voice of the customer is shaped today.  

Health care is a great example. Social media influencers can profoundly affect the fortunes of major new drugs, from testing to launch to physician uptake.

When a major pharma company wanted to learn which social media mavens might be affecting clinical trials, GfK used “Social Listening”. This/Our three-step framework enabled/allowed/helped us to identify the influencers among patients, advocates, and other key groups.

The result was a list of highly qualified influencers that we can use in future clinical trial recruitment. We also identified key online communities and forums, which the client is now tracking to stay on top of emerging trends.

By going beyond “buzz,” brands of all kinds can harness social media for insights that lead to smarter product development and marketing. The key is knowing who is talking, as well as what they are saying.

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