Do you have burning market research questions? Need insight into an emerging trend? Looking to prove a long-held belief about your audience? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we have good news for you: You don’t need to schedule a focus group to get answers. You just need social listening tool

Consumer social media usage is on the rise. People turn to social to make connections, share ideas or simply speak their minds. Social listening helps brands tap into those readily available conversations to extract unbiased feedback and perspectives, allowing you to quickly spot key trends and discover new opportunities to connect with your audience. 

We’ve used social listening to answer questions on behalf of brands everywhere, like What day is leg day?” Now, we’ve turned the mic over to our social followers. You asked, we answered.

1. Which brand had the hottest merch drop of the summer?

Corporate merch drops are having a major moment. From established brands to startups, an unusual amount of companies have launched branded merch lines. While corporate gear is not a new phenomenon, it’s certainly never been met with this much mass demand. 

These drops are social-first events, with many companies mimicking the direct-to-consumer drop trend popularized by streetwear brands like Supreme. Typically, drops are meant to build hype around another new product or item, like McDonald’s surprisingly stylish crispy chicken sandwich hoodie

So who had the buzziest drop of the summer? We were able to find a clear winner after using Sprout Social’s Advanced Listening to analyze 440 Tweets from June 27, 2021, to August 1, 2021. In a summer stocked with streetwear-inspired launches, it was the Panera Bread Swim Soup collection that really got people talking. 

The line, created to celebrate those who appreciate a hot bowl of soup regardless of the weather, sold out in less than a week. Many praised the brand for the delightfully weird launch on Twitter using the “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji most frequently.

2. What do people want to know about crypto?

In May, conversations around Dogecoin spiked by 125% as people raced to social media to discuss its unprecedented surge in value. Now, many are turning to Twitter to figure out which memecoin will take off next.

Memecoins are cryptocurrencies that increase in value based on viral popularity. Their surges are often linked to a social event, like a Reddit post or Tweet. For example, Dogecoin’s popularity was initially spurred on by a post in r/SatoshiStreetBets (a crypto-focused offshoot of r/WallStreetBets). 

Because this type of virality is fast-paced and unpredictable, many crypto investors rely on social networks to keep tabs on up-and-coming tokens. At least, that’s what our data suggests. After analyzing over 44,700 cryptocurrency related questions shared on Twitter during the month of July, we found 3,135 Tweets sent with #Shib (Shiba Inu’s ticker symbol) and 2,485 sent with #Sanshu (Sanshu Inu’s ticker symbol). 

3. Is dropshipping dead? 

Dropshipping is an ecommerce fulfillment method where the seller doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, they purchase the items from a third-party supplier and who then ships the item directly to the customer.

Since the method rose to popularity in the mid-2000s, the market has become saturated with sellers using dropshipping to jumpstart their online businesses. This has led to increased competition, leaving many hopeful entrepreneurs wondering if the model is still worth it. 

According to 170 Tweets analyzed in Sprout Advanced Listening from July 5, 2021, to August 5, 2021, messages mentioning “dropshipping” are most likely to be positive, with 42% having a positive sentiment and 33% sharing a neutral sentiment. Still, phrases including the word “scam” were found 32 times within the query as well. Overall, this suggests that those discussing the longevity of the dropshipping model are optimistic, although some buyers and sellers have become wary of common grifts within the industry. 

4. How many brands are looking to have a TikTok presence in the next year? 

TikTok has a lot to offer brands. Since the network first launched in 2016, it’s generated 689 million users worldwide and it’s not slowing down. Marketers across industries have praised the network and the algorithm-based For You page for expanding awareness efforts in new and exciting ways. 

Fifty-four percent of marketers say that video is the most valuable content type for achieving social goals. Videography is becoming a highly sought-after skill for social marketers and creative consultants alike. But are marketers buying in? 

It’s looking like quite a few are. Tweets spiked in late July when the network announced that brands can sponsor trending posts and again in early August when they launched community commerce tools in partnership with Publicis Group. These features are both aimed at increasing marketer adoption, and they seem to be getting a favorable response. Of all 4,714 Tweets sent from July 5, 2021 to August 5, 2021, 39% had a positive sentiment. 

Learn more about your audience with listening

Your audience is out there, and they’re voicing their thoughts and opinions on social. Brands need to zoom out and listen to the larger conversations happening online to better understand their industry and competitors. 

Get the answers you need to stand out from the crowd using this social listening map. Use it for a step-by-step breakdown to creating a listening strategy so you can deliver the content your audience craves (and the insights your business needs).