Social Listening: using screenshots to detect trends early

New trends pop up daily on social media platforms. Learn how screenshots can help you automatically monitor social media trends.

New trends pop up daily on social media platforms. Learn how screenshots can help you automatically monitor social media trends.

Small or big, every business needs to be on top of the trends that affect its brand-related conversations. Whether the trend is positive or negative, both can shape a company for the better. Therefore, regular trend research is a must to harness the full potential of hot topics.

Here comes the importance of social listening: the process of overlooking and analyzing conversations on social media to detect sentiment and trends. In this strategy, you could look at anything from direct brand mentions, user discussions, specific keywords—and even memes!—that can be harnessed and add value to your brand. 

This article will teach us how to achieve social listening trend detection effectively. We will also add a powerful tool to the mix: automated screenshots!

Social media: an ally to trends

Research by Sprout Social found that 46% of consumers prioritize online brands that engage with their audience on social media. Nowadays, for most brands, promoting or following a relevant trend is an integral part of social media marketing efforts. 

Social media provides an open platform for customers to express their opinions. Similarly, brands can find the voice of their customer on these open discussion forums. When something starts trending, social media provides visibility because, most probably, people will be speaking about it. 

Therefore, to do comprehensive social listening trends research, look no further than social media monitoring. 

How to use social listening to find trends

Now that you know social media is vital for trend-tracking, let's dive into how to use these platforms to detect the hottest topics.

Set up an alert in your planning app

To get timely updates on any changes or new announcements related to your industry, setting up an alert makes sense. If you're using a platform to schedule your posts, check if they have a social listening feature and whether it allows for alerts. You can specify certain keywords or topics; this way, you'll get notified as soon as they trend on social media. 

Alternatively, you can use Google Alerts to set notifications for keywords and topics on this popular search engine and help you detect trends early. 

Get a community manager

With the growth of a company comes big responsibility. After a certain point, building authentic relationships with external (fans, followers, and customers) and internal audiences (partners, vendors, and employees) becomes inescapable. To handle these communities professionally, the services of a community manager come in handy. 

A CM can bridge the gap between your brand and customer by handling two-way communications. Overall, a CM is key in amplifying a brand's social listening efforts and tracking social media. With a CM constantly managing your audience on social media, they will be the first to detect a topic rising.

Stay updated with each platform's trend page

Platforms like Twitter feature their native trend analysis feed, allowing users to check what's trending easily. Twitter's "What's Happening" section will enable you to track real-time trending topics and hashtags. Further, if you click on "Show more", you'll get a personalized trending list and the number of tweets for a trending topic or hashtag. 

With this in mind, look for similar features in other platforms: Pinterest, for example, is great for trend detection. However, while determining trends, you still need to back that information up with the voice of the customer. So you can look at each trending topic and see if people have something to say.

Dive deeper when needed

While detecting trending topics or hashtags is easier on some social media platforms, others require you to do some hard work. For instance, Twitter has its trending section to help you with real-time tracking of trending topics and hashtags, whereas TikTok doesn't have one anymore.

On such platforms, you need to stay alert for sounds with few videos but lots of views, which indicates it's a rising trend. Also, check for challenges that repeat themselves often on your For You page.

Choose a social listening tool

On a more obvious note, you can look for a tool primarily dedicated to social listening. That may be ideal if trends have a big impact on the success of your product, like fashion, or if you want to take your analysis a step further. Here are a few recommendations:

Leading the social listening software market is Digimind. This tool collects insights from interactions with your audience and what they say about the topics relevant to your brand and composes complete, easy-to-read reports. This way, you can get a real-time approach to social media.

Mention 

It allows you to track brand mentions across 42 languages from all over the world. Here the analysis is made against at least two contenders to ensure your content is unique, ideal, timely, and relevant to the trend. Finally, with its crisis management feature, users can effectively deal with any commotion or emergency that comes their way. 

Complement social listening with other tools

Simply relying on one tool will not suffice the need, as each uses different sources and algorithms. Therefore, you must complement a social listening tool with other tools. 

For instance, besides setting alarms on your existing planning app, you can use Google Trends to help you with trendspotting and nowcasting. That is the easiest to access and use, as it's free and intuitive. In addition, it enables you to discover the top questions your target audience is asking. All this helps you to create fresh content and seasonal campaigns reflecting public perception at that very moment. If you'd like to know more, you can look at our guide on making the most out of Google Trends.

On the other hand, hashtags are an integral part of rising trends. To ace hashtag research, stick to a comprehensive hashtag research tool that helps you identify your niche's most relevant and trending hashtags. For instance, Inflict is a hashtag research tool that simplifies the sorting of trending hashtags on different topics and categories. 

There are many options to choose from, varying in interface and the type of information you're looking for. After checking out the examples above, check out our 5 top free trend-tracking tools.

Documenting everything with screenshots

Whether it's you or your CM managing an online audience, constantly checking for trending pages and Google Trends is exhausting. Fortunately, you can automate social media tracking with Stillio, allowing users to capture websites regularly. 

Yes, you read correctly! Provide Stillio with the URL of the page you want to capture and the frequency you wish the screenshots to happen—which can be as short as 5 min or as broad as a whole year—so that you don't miss out on any trend. 

And what could you capture? Anything you want! You can set weekly screenshots for all the trend tracking tools of your choice, with the specific keywords you want, and get all these trend sources saved directly to your Stillio account. This way, you can go back to timely trends whenever you want.

Through Stillio's GEO IP locations, you can also track trends worldwide. Moreover, its set-and-forget feature will significantly save your team's time and effort. As per your pre-set rules, Stillio will capture the websites and automatically save these to a personal folder or cloud storage like Google Drive. If one of the sites you chose has a cookie banner, you can adjust capture settings to avoid them and get the complete picture.

You can also set tags to organize your captures and time stamping, so you don't have to put in any extra effort. Automating this part of the process allows you to focus on what needs your attention: determining your game plan based on new trends.

Conclusion

It is now clearer how social listening can be an excellent tool for your brand and how you can leverage screenshots to make the process much easier.

With automated tools like Stillio, you can complement hard work, reduce some burdens, and amplify your social listening process. Try Stillio for free or book a demo to see how it could help size up your social listening and trend detection strategy.

Starting at $29/m

Start capturing website screenshots automatically and save a lot of grunt work. You'll be set up in minutes. No credit card required.