Research

Into the Woods: Exploring the Foresters’ World Through Social Media Listening

Exploring the Foresters’ World Through Social Media Listening

Eric Michelson

Eric Michelson

Social and Digital Media Strategist, Ambassador of YouScan

5 March 2024

🌲 In this insightful analysis, Social and Digital Media Strategist Eric Michelson takes a deep dive into the forestry community with the help of YouScan social media monitoring. 

With the rise in global forest wildfires and ongoing climate change debates, understanding this group's perspectives through online conversations is more important than ever. 

The study reveals fascinating aspects of forestry – it’s not just about trees and timber. It dives into forestry’s role in agriculture, land management, and its crucial part in tackling climate change and biodiversity issues. You might be surprised by how diverse and active this community is on social media! 👷‍♀️

This study's spotlight shines on YouScan’s Social Audiences tool – a fresh way to gather social data, focusing on the specific characteristics of the authors of posts. By analyzing keywords in their bios, their interests, and demographics, Eric found out who's talking about forestry and got a clearer picture of what they're saying.

So, let's dive into Eric’s insightful analysis and see what the foresters are talking about and how their discussions can influence how we look at our environment.


Analyzing the Foresters' Online Footprint

In the 100-day research period, there were nearly 60 thousand social media mentions by those involved in forestry. The community of foresters is diverse in background, the areas of their expertise, and interests. Eric Michelson categorized over 20 separate areas of expertise or interests.

Society & Politics emerged as a dominant theme, capturing 29% of chatter. Yet, this substantial share of discourse was the work of a few – 19 individual authors.

Top-10 topics of discussionTop-10 topics of discussion
Top-10 topics of discussion (Oct 20, 2023 – Feb 17, 2024)

The most active accounts in the Society & Politics category primarily shared perspectives that mostly aligned with right-wing views. These accounts frequently engage in discussions that fuel polarized online debates. In these discussions, actual forestry-related topics were an insignificant portion of their social media content.


What Captivates the Forestry Audience?

Here's an intriguing finding from his study: When it comes to engaging audiences on social media, there was a notable difference between accounts based on the gender of the account owner.

Accounts run by women saw remarkable levels of engagement. On average, a post from a female-owned account received about 315 interactions. In contrast, posts from male-owned accounts averaged around 40 engagements each.

Gender-Based Distribution of Mentions and EngagementGender-Based Distribution of Mentions and Engagement
Gender-Based Distribution of Mentions and Engagement (Oct 20, 2023 – Feb 17, 2024)

These statistics underscore a significant trend: though less numerous in mentions, female accounts generated disproportionately higher engagement per post than male accounts. This suggests that content from female accounts resonated more deeply with their audience and prompted more interaction.

The most engaged posts came from two Women Loggers – Katelyn (@tree_being) and Felixia Banck (@femalelumberjack). With only 47 posts between them, the average engagement was 11.2K per post. This contrasted with the just 3 engagements per post among those who mostly posted on Society & Politics.

Comparative Analysis of Category-Wise Social Media Engagement MetricsComparative Analysis of Category-Wise Social Media Engagement Metrics
Comparative Analysis of Category-Wise Social Media Engagement Metrics (Oct 20, 2023 – Feb 17, 2024)

With YouScan's Visual Analytics, Eric uncovered popular image content and the relationships between various scenes, objects, and activities in images. Authors earned their high engagement through portrayals of joy with their work, being in natural surroundings, appreciation for good tools, and complex work completed successfully.

YouScan’s Visual Insights: Relationships of visual tags and Image GalleryYouScan’s Visual Insights: Relationships of visual tags and Image Gallery
YouScan’s Visual Insights: Relationships of visual tags and Image Gallery (Oct 20, 2023 – Feb 17, 2024)

The top 3 most engaged posts came on video-rich platforms Instagram and TikTok. The success of each account arises from consistent content. Moreover, posts that were on topic to the profile biographies of their writers performed better than those posted on topics outside of their forestry biographies.

One of the most engaged postsOne of the most engaged posts

TikTok was, by far, the platform hosting the most engaged content. The average engagement was 43 per/post across all sources. Accounts posting on TikTok and Instagram remained on topic relative to their profile biographies. X platform was rampant with social and political agenda actors whose content is less likely to reflect the biographical background account holders posted.

Platform-Wise Content Volume and Average Engagement AnalysisPlatform-Wise Content Volume and Average Engagement Analysis
Platform-Wise Content Volume and Average Engagement Analysis (Oct 20, 2023 – Feb 17, 2024)



What Stakeholders Are Buzzing About Online?

Different stakeholders in the forestry sector had distinct approaches and levels of engagement on various social media platforms.

Let’s take a closer look at it:

1. Government Forestry: Focused on educating about public safety, habitat preservation, and economic benefits. Preferred X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, with higher engagement on Facebook.

2. Academics / Colleges / Universities: A diverse approach, from sharing research to personal interests. Individual academic accounts varied widely in engagement and content, while institutional accounts focused on programmatic expertise.

3. Researchers and Academicians: Offered a personalized voice in forestry sciences, highlighting their research, advocacy, and educational roles.

4. Teaching Institutions: Emphasized student value, institutional expertise, and research, targeting stakeholders like prospective students and land managers.

5. Private Businesses: Centered around land clearing for various purposes. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are their most engaging platforms.

6. Equipment Machinery: Focused on showcasing machinery and skilful operations, primarily through visual platforms like Instagram and YouTube.


Insights and Potential Implications

🌲 Community Diversity and Communication Needs

Foresters form a group, varying in expertise and interests. The industry faces a challenge in harmonizing traditional forestry practices with modern environmental realities, such as the effects of global warming on forests. Effective communication is crucial for bridging the gaps between different stakeholders and cultural perspectives within the community.


🗣️ Social and Political Commentary

Some who self-identified as forestry professionals frequently discuss contentious social and political topics on social media. Platforms like X (Twitter) facilitate robust dialogue but often lack moderation, leading to uncivil discourse and misinformation. Vigilance against misinformation and fostering fact-based discussions is necessary.


🤩 Engagement Patterns

Visual platforms like TikTok and Instagram yield the highest engagement. Female accounts saw engagement rates eight times higher than male accounts. Posts aligned with the author's professional identity in their profile bios garnered more interactions than off-topic posts.


💎 Quality and Trust

High-quality content from trusted sources drives engagement. The most compelling posts came from voices with genuine expertise and a passion for ecosystem restoration and climate activism.

In today's digital world, social media listening is vital for many professionals: researchers, marketers, PR experts, business developers, and sales strategists, particularly in specialized fields like forestry. Using advanced tools like YouScan and insightful analytics from experts like Eric Michelson, these professionals can delve into the depth of online conversations, identifying key trends and patterns of engagement.

Are you looking to dive deeper into industry trends and audience insights, specifically through understanding professions, demographics, and visual context? Try the advantages of YouScan's social listening now! Our AI-powered platform offers comprehensive insights tailored to your unique needs, helping you stay ahead in a competitive market.

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