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Understanding Online Consumer Behavior to Build Brand Loyalty

The goal for any company is to build a product and brand that keeps its target audience coming back for more. From traditional marketing campaigns and product development to crafting a unique social media presence, companies utilize a variety of strategies to establish brand loyalty. As the conversation around brands and products has shifted online, companies are using social media to connect with consumers, analyzing online consumer behavior with powerful analytic tools to better understand what their audience wants from a brand.

Analyzing Consumer Behavior on Social Media

Social media provides a large set of data on consumer behavior, and it can be difficult for companies to sort through this data and understand what is relevant. However, savvy companies understand how to use social listening tools to filter this data, building a better understanding of how their customers feel about their brand.

These tools use a technique known as sentiment analysis to identify the emotions underlying consumer behavior on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Sentiment analysis relies on AI technology such as image analysis and natural language processing, which can recognize emotionally salient content that is related to a brand or a brand-relevant topic even when the brand is not directly tagged.

For example, NetBase Quid AI uses sentiment analysis to assign Net Sentiment ratings ranging from -100 to 100 to content. Users can then organize this data to create audience segments based on shared demographic information or interests. This audience segmenting process is helpful in identifying which sorts of consumers have already established brand loyalty, and which could be targeted for future marketing campaigns and product development.

Suppose a company learns that Gen X customers have a high average Net Sentiment rating in posts about the brand, while Gen Z customers have a low rating. At this point, there are two options. The company could lean into its strength to continue to build brand loyalty amongst older customers, or it could implement strategies to reach younger audiences, perhaps altering the tone and visual presentation of its social media posts. In either case, the information on consumer behavior provided by utilizing sentiment analysis and audience segmenting is invaluable and should impact future decision-making.  

Building Loyalty Through Partnerships

Another strategy for building brand loyalty is to pursue partnerships with brands that the target audience is already connected to and views in an especially positive light. The key is to determine which brands are a good fit by analyzing consumer behavior within target industries.

For example, suppose a beverage company is considering partnering with a restaurant chain to try to reach a younger audience. Using sentiment analysis, the beverage company can compare the Net Sentiment ratings of younger consumers for a variety of potential partner chains. Because tools like NetBase Quid provide a precise numerical rating rather than a simple binary like or dislike rating, companies can make fine-grained distinctions when making these sorts of comparisons. While two chains might both receive a positive rating, there is an important difference between a brand with a rating of 20 and a brand with a rating of 35.

Competitor Analysis

Companies trying to establish brand loyalty can also consider what makes consumers loyal to their competitors. A competitor analysis powered by sentiment analysis can determine which competitors have the highest Net Sentiment ratings and can identify which demographics tend to post positive content about competitors.

Equipped with this information, companies can model future marketing strategies, social media posts, and product promotions on those that have been successful for competitors, while avoiding those that have been the subject of negative net sentiment ratings.

The TakeawayOnline consumer behavior can be an excellent indicator of brand loyalty or lack thereof, but brands need to utilize effective social listening tools to gain these consumer insights. Using sentiment analysis tools and audience segmenting, companies can identify those consumers who have already established brand loyalty and identify market gaps to target.

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