Growing your audience is arguably one of the most difficult aspects when it comes to running a business, if not the hardest. Where do you even start?
For some companies, this begins with gathering feedback from their customers and making improvements to the product or service. For others, this may mean redirecting their focus towards a different demographic, one with a greater interest or actual demand for the product or services being offered.
This is precisely the case with LSY. From calligraphy brush to makeup brush, their tools were originally created for Chinese calligraphy, an ancient art form steeped in centuries of rich traditions. Today, they’re better known for producing high-end makeup brushes used by top makeup artists around the world to apply foundation, blush, eye shadow and more.
By shifting their focus from calligraphy to makeup, they were able to evolve and grow with their audience instead of becoming a remnant of the past.
Pay attention to sales patterns
Observing a pattern of decline — which then grew into a 60% drop in their sales — LSY dived headfirst into a market analysis. What they saw was that changes in technology and society which had been unfolding for many years now, were steadily shaping a future that didn’t seem to have much room for calligraphy, apart from that of being a unique hobby.
Once considered a necessary tool by scholars and artisans, calligraphy brushes as writing tools have long been replaced by pens and pencils… and now by keyboards and touch pads.
It was time for LSY to make some changes. With some trial and error, they were able to revive demand for their product by turning their time-honored calligraphy brush into a sophisticated makeup brush.
Now 40% of their revenue comes from makeup brushes alone.
How can you tap into a new audience and expand the reach of your own product or business? Social media monitoring tools like Brand24 can help by collecting relevant data to help you innovate your product.
Grow your business with social listening
If I were LSY and I wanted to track all the different ways that calligraphy brushes could be used, I’d start by setting up a social listening project with some choice keywords. Since I want to keep my options open and find as many applications as possible, I’d select words that are pretty general. For calligraphy brushes, the best options are brush and brushes.
To prevent the tool from picking up certain conversations, I’d enter words like fire, tooth, and teeth in the Excluded keywords option. I don’t need to collect any mentions about brush fires or toothbrushes.
I bet you thought the most popular word associated with brushes was going to be ‘paint’, didn’t you? So did I, but a quick peek in the tool’s Context of a discussion revealed that it is actually (surprise, surprise) makeup. This means that whenever the words brush or brushes turn up in an on-line discussion, it is most often whenever people are talking about makeup.
Information like this is valuable. Prior to shifting their focus to producing makeup brushes, LSY first tried to market their product to pastry chefs and circuit board companies without much success. Observing the context of a discussion shows that most on-line discussions which mention brushes don’t contain phrases related to pastries or computers.
Mentions by category indicate that the keywords brush and brushes typically (74.5% of the time, according to the data) appear in mentions with photos. This information may come in handy later on, like when you’re thinking about the best way to promote your product. What do people who talk about brushes expect when the topic comes up? A striking visual.
What else does social media monitoring data show you?
A number of things. The information inside the “Mentions by Category” section (above) suggests that your audience is interested in what the brushes themselves look like. Or, that they appreciate visuals showing you how to use them. These are all serious things to think about while considering what should be included when you create content.
It can also tell you where to find people who are interested in brushes. Now you even know on which platforms you should be distributing content about your topic.
Here’s a video that shares some good tips on how to find the best platforms and websites to market your business:
The amount of useful insights that you can gain from using a social listening tool is endless. The information is out there. It’s just a matter of knowing what to look for. You may be able to tap into a new audience for your business. Try Brand24 and do a quick search to see how you can improve your product or find a creative new use for it among a different audience.
Would you have thought to repurpose Chinese calligraphy brushes as tools for makeup application? Neither did LSY for the first 91 years of the company’s existence. Now makeup brushes make up 40% of the company’s total revenue — and it’s still growing.
Collect important information with social listening and see how you can grow the size of your audience or tap into a new one.
For more resources on business and growth hacking:
- 17 growth tips & hacks using web monitoring & social media monitoring
- The top 8 tools for SAAS companies & entrepreneurs
- How to use influencer marketing to grow your small business