Winning the social media conversation contest is important for any brand, be that a Fortune 500 company, a start-up, a superhero or even a villain. Mashable published an article last month examining the most buzzed-about superheroes and villains on social media. Batman won for the superhero with the Joker winning out for the villain. While we love the idea of using social conversation as a viable data source, we also like to take our analysis a step further. The question here is, how much do these volume numbers really tell us?

Previously, we shared the value of understanding share of voice numbers on social media platforms and the limitations of simply looking at volume on its own. Let’s use the superheroes and villains article as an example of how this analysis can be taken to the next level.

Batman beat out Superman for the top spot amongst superheroes, winning by a margin of 7%. Here’s the thing, just because more people were talking about Batman does not mean they are a fan of Batman. Perhaps the majority of the conversation consisted of people saying that he was their least favorite superhero or fans sharing their frustration that Ben Affleck would be portraying Batman in the upcoming film. Would this still warrant a top ranking? Let’s look at it in terms of the fifth ranked superhero, Wolverine, in relation to Batman. Wolverine accounted for 6% of the social media mentions, while Batman accounted for 30%. If the mentions for Wolverine were entirely positive and the majority of Batman mentions negative, would that affect the importance you place on these results or how you plan to use this data?

Knowing the breakdown of conversation share is beneficial to any brand, but there is so much more than can be derived from this data. If you were to take the conversation data obtained for the Mashable article and go a step further with the analysis, you could uncover conversation sentiment, trends in conversation and even understand where this discussion is likely to take place. For example, the most popular trend in discussion for Batman may have been about his utility belt, but for IronMan the top trend may be his genius. Additionally, superhero conversation may be more likely to be found on Facebook, while discussion volume for villains might be highest on Twitter. This additional level of analysis can help your brand to develop messaging strategy and more targeted ad placement.

There is no shortage of insight that can be gleaned from social conversation. Share of voice numbers provide a great convenience metric for brands, however there is so much more than can be derived from this social data if time and budgets allow for deeper analysis.