July 11, 2016 Duncan Alney

Jason Falls: Social Listening, Educating Brands & Mining Conversations

Jason falls

Jason Falls is Senior Vice President Digital Strategy at Elastic.

In my Shorthand series, I ask fellow social media marketing industry leaders for three quick and easy insights into their areas of expertise or interest.

In addition to his work at Elastic, Jason Falls is an entertaining keynote speaker at conferences around the country and the author of two books—No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel’s Guide To Email Marketing.

Let’s get to the questions!

1. What’s on your radar these days?

Jason: My time is generally focused on driving strategy for a few key accounts at Elasticity. While I certainly stay active on the speaking circuit and pop up from time to time on webinars and such, I’ve been working hard to just do good work for folks like Fireball Whisky, Rawlings Sporting Goods, Schlafly Beer and others.

However, my passion for mining online conversations for consumer insights has been growing lately. So keep an eye out for some new activity there. I’ve always got something cooking.


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2. When it comes to deep social listening, what are some of the benefits for a brand?

Jason: Social conversations are the world’s largest focus group. Yes, the data is unstructured. No, it’s not easy to get in there and carve out actionable insights for your brand and its marketing decisions, but the data is there and taking some time — and leveraging today’s advanced technology — can turn around incredible insights that feed your decision-making.

The first rule of marketing is to know your audience. Advanced social listening is a way to get to that without having to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on research. Mind you, traditional research will always have a role to play and in many situations is more valuable than social conversation research, but with advanced social listening, we can close the gap on real-time insights, research in an ongoing fashion rather than snapshot efforts and move with our customers, not just react to what they said the last time we surveyed them.


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3. Within the practice of monitoring for social mentions – what are some of the challenges one might face?

Jason: I’d say there’s two big challenges. One is the arduous task of disambiguating the data. (I paid a lot of money for that word, by the way. Heh.) For instance, if I search for Elasticity, the agency I work for, I’m going to get a lot of conversations about waste bands, underwear and so on. Making sure the data you’re looking it relevant and actually about you is not easy or fun, no matter how awesome the listening tool you use is.

But at a greater level I think the biggest challenge for brands in the practice of social monitoring is getting out of the mindset that it has to be limited to monitoring you. If I’m a frozen pizza brand manager, for instance, I can actually monitor what people say online about dinner. Or lunch. Or pizza. Or microwave cooking. I don’t have to just look at mentions of me. I can research. I can learn. That’s the second step in evolving to a sophisticated social listening program. And most brands are barely at the first one, which is monitoring in the first place.


BONUS: What’s most important to you today?

Jason: My kids. But from a work perspective? Educating brands on how social listening for research and insights gathering can be game-changing. I really see a future for that level of data analysis as a speciality. So I’m working on something in that space.


To learn more about Jason, please visit his website: www.jasonfalls.com.

Interested in being featured in a future Shorthand post? Email me! Be sure to include ‘Shorthand’ in your subject line and let me know what you’d like to talk about.

Duncan Alney

CEO at Firebelly
Fun Fact: Duncan co-authored the book "Facebook Marketing Secrets." He founded Firebelly in 2001.
Duncan Alney

About the Author

Duncan Alney Fun Fact: Duncan co-authored the book "Facebook Marketing Secrets." He founded Firebelly in 2001.

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