Going Green: Social Media Research for St. Paddy’s Day

Going Green: Social Media Research for St. Paddy’s Day

Mar 16, 2012

The team at Girardbrewer.com has decided to join in on the St. Paddy’s Day celebrations with a bit o’ social media fun to keep things interesting.

Discovery Research Group  has conducted a case study of St. Patrick’s Day using social media research (SMR) techiques to quantify unstructured text content for analysis and reporting.  Titled “Going Green: Social Media Research,” the case study utilized many online resources, such as blogs, forums, social networking sites and websites to collect content related to St. Patrick’s Day. This large amount of content was then reduced and sampled through random selection. The sample was then analyzed for sentiment and themes.

St. Patrick’s Day is a time of tradition — traditions that are meant for personal and social enjoyment.  Each tradition associated with certain holidays engenders varying levels of enthusiasm, sentiment and mention.  Because millions of  individuals continually and freely provide details and information in their online (e.g., Facebook) profiles, SMR is a strong and effective method for tapping the mind of the consumer via content analysis, quickly and inexpensively.


Blogs, forums, social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), along with website responses and other online sources all feature content from persons freely sharing their thoughts and knowledge with others.  SMR is more than just “listening” to these comments.  Its proper use requires that an empirical scientific process be followed to gather and accurately analyze social media data.

Although there are websites that allow interested parties to view or listen to social media content, this capability does not constitute true SMR.   Understandably, there is a great urgency and desire to monitor the pulse of consumers, interpret their content and make predictions about their spending potentials.  Without a reliable methodology and analytical plan, though, the findings and implications are not likely to have the desired effect or give answers to the questions marketers may be asking.

Use of social media as a research tool can be implemented as a standalone method or in conjunction with other traditional research methods.  Listening to the consumer is only part of the equation, however.  To ensure that appropriate conclusions can be drawn, the SMR process requires following proven research principles.  Precision measurement and an understanding of the online community are also vital components.

Although always in flux and constantly changing, much information about social media users’ mindsets on particular topics at a given point in time can be quickly gleaned  and then used to answer business questions in ways that give better understanding of overall consumer preferences.  This acquired insight can be used to help drive business growth.

For the St. Patrick’s Day case study, Discovery Research Group researchers implemented a rigorous process with the aim of generalizing the research findings referencing a larger group, in this case online users.


The St. Patrick’s Day case study produce the following findings:

•  2 out of 3 participants surveyed indicated that they “enjoy” the holiday.

•  There’s not much general anticipation for the holiday – most comments occur on the day celebrated (68.3 percent).

•  Businesses generate a significant amount of content related to St. Patrick’s Day (31.9 percent).

•  The most discussed activities related to the holiday center on eating food and drinking alcohol (24.1 percent).

None of this information is exactly surprising, but it’s always good to have opinions confirmed by data.  When you’re planning an expensive marketing campaign, you don’t want to base your decisions solely on assumptions about your market.

Enjoy St. Paddy’s celebrations…go green!