When the word social platforms are mentioned, what comes to mind are the social media sites which allow people to share their experiences, thoughts and emotions to their friends, acquaintances, co-workers or to the public in general. The most popular ones to mention would be Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and much more. The popularity of these sites were due to the power it gave users to connect to the world and more importantly to connect to everyone on an emotional level.
Emotions are the driving force into a majority of the choices that people make. it also drives them to do more or move away from something. People are naturally built to share these emotions, as it is a primal need to connect with people and this is where one gets to do so in a defect level. Everything that people share and talk about whether it be an opinion about a particular news topic or trend to the latest gadgets to buy. A good example of where to see people getting emotionally excited with their products is in smartphone reviews. Take a look at the latest Smartphone reviews that talk about HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S3. You are more certainly going to find people stubborn defending their change purchase over the other, some even working hard to debunk the competitor's responses to a point of heated discussion. It is through emotional connection and identification with these choices, thoughts, and opinions that drive and influence consumer behavior.
In modern times, the social platforms create an arena for people to instantly share their feelings to everyone with a click of a button. One can "Like" something the second a product is released to the general public. Market researchers have to take note of not just the responses that these people make but the emotional implications that their responses contain through the practice of Sentiment analysis. This would be a rather tricky task as interpretation and the data itself can be quite subjective in nature. Creating the quantifiable data from these social platforms though is a need that has to be answered and a solution has to be developed quickly. Once a market researcher is able to utilize the empirical data that can be deducted from those that use these social platforms most especially quantify the emotional impact these people have towards a particular product, thought, opinion, etc, one would not doubt have a double edge sword that can be wielded to make something stand out or destroy an upcoming rival before it can take root.
Computers have been used for this in the past, now even smartphones can perform automated sentiment analysis of digitized text. It can even be further improved to show based on latent semantics analysis to identify a person's affective mental state towards a particular product or target. Open source tools are now being developed to help market researchers analyze all the statistical data and process them into quantifiable sentiment data information that is easily interpreted and utilized.
Data will never add up if you just look at the numbers, especially in consumer behavioral analysis. if you can not understand and quantify the emotions involved in the decisions and reactions of consumers then you will not be able to stir them to towards the thoughts, ideologies, products, and people you wish for them to be drawn towards. Understanding what makes people drawn to something is most certainly one of the most powerful marketing tool that any market researcher could and should have in his arsenal. Believe it or not it is a marketing war out there and if you can not get this done now, someone else will.