A trending topic means squat unless you measure whether it’s positive or negative. All day long people commented that the social media buzz for Adam Lambert, predicted he’ll beat out Kris Allen tonight in the American Idol final. Adam was constantly ahead of Kris on Twitter Trending Topics (see picture at right), showing more overall buzz in the Vitrue Social Media Index 399-to-258 and generally way ahead on Facebook Lexicon (the graph below does show that last weekend Kris Allen got more buzz than Adam for the first time all season).
But just because you get a lot of buzz isn’t necessarily a reason to celebrate. Playing a bit with the Vitrue Social Media Index by adding the word love (as in people who love or feel strongly about one of the two finalists), you see that Adam Lambert love leads Kris Allen love 399 to 258. Throw in a negative like “hate” and you see a shocking reversal: Kris Allen hate is only 10.5 while Adam Lambert hate is a whopping 285. Digging into the buzz shows that while Adam Lambert leads in overall buzz, a great deal of that appears to be negative buzz. I would love to do the same analysis with Facebook Lexicon, but sadly it only lets you use two word phrases, which limits the ability to dig deeper.
Clearly, we have to look at the phrases in the conversations about our brands and dig deeper to figure out how users are phrasing positive and negative remarks so we can develop filters to get a more accurate measure of our campaigns and their impact on positive buzz. Throw in the fact that many a spammer is using trending topics as a way to get their product sold, it’s clear that filtering out the clutter is going to be the key for marketers at measuring their effectiveness in social media.
As for American Idol tonight? Well Adam has more positive buzz, but we’ll also get to see if those with the negative buzz came out to vote against him…I know he’s worn a bit on me.