Social media is well into its teens and businesses still tend to use it quite like they would use a billboard to place an advertisement. Social listening is a skill that brands need to develop and work on if they want to achieve maximum success with social media.
Social listening refers to a business’ ability to listen to its target audiences on social media channels and respond appropriately. Forrester says that while companies are listening to their customers they don’t really know what to do with the information. It is imperative that businesses realize that the value of social media is not limited to publishing content and posting product and brand updates. The power and value of social media goes way beyond the obvious.
Why Social Listening is Essential
Social listening is crucial aspect in gaining new customers and retaining loyal ones. The modern consumer is smart and does enough brand research before buying a product. Where does a business stand with regard to its contemporaries? This is a question that worries more business owners. Social listening reveals what consumers are saying about a brand or even an industry. It brings to light issues and subjects that worry the average customer and those that strengthen their loyalty to a brand. Such research also brings to light what a competitor is doing right in terms of marketing and customer relations and offers others a valuable lesson.
Customer sentiment is the single most important factor that will help improve customer loyalty. A brand can use its social media space to converse with its target audience and gauge their sentiments regarding the brand. People appreciate businesses that listen to them, respond and take action on the suggestions that they may have shared. When a brand offers great customer service on its Facebook page, it reaches out to more than just one particular customer, but sends out a strong message to all its customers on the social network.
Social listening is great for market research. It helps a business understand what customers want and offer them the same. It is an excellent way for a business to generate pre-sales interest and support for the brand. Sometimes a brand may decide to join a conversation rather than initiating one and offer a customer a viable solution. Starbucks is known to engage its customers with well chosen posts and also continue conversations that are initiated by the posts. The brand’s My Starbucks’ Idea offers customers a space to share their thoughts and also see those Ideas in Action. This is immensely satisfying for customers as they know that the brand is seriously considering their ideas and putting them to work.
Is Your Brand Listening?
Use tools such as Mention.net that are especially designed to detect and identify when social media users post or tweet about your brand. Social commerce marketers need to educate themselves about issues, trends and words that are most likely to catch the attention of customers.
Use a Gmail account to receive notifications and select appropriate options that will help segregate the notifications so that they can be categorized and used effectively. A free RSS reader such as Feedly can be utilized to keep abreast on latest updates on a business’ blog. One can also add other blogs that are popular with the target audience. This will help identify issues that are important to customers. Knorr strikes the right chord with its whatsfordinner Facebook page and provides families some much needed meal time inspiration.
Action Based on Social Listening
Social listening offers insight into consumer behavior and expectations. This will help a brand design its social media content to garner interest and increase engagement. While some businesses may choose to schedule their social media posts it is also important to have a daily routine of checking updates and mentions so that posts may include information that will be of interest to the target audience.
Social commerce marketers can take away key lessons from social listening. They gain a better understanding of what is important to the customer and can fine-tune marketing campaigns accordingly. The biggest advantage that social commerce offers customers is that they can shop conveniently and without leaving their favorite social media space. Furthermore they can share their experience with the product and brand with their friends.
When a social commerce store is designed while keeping in mind the opinions and interests of its customers it creates a store custom built for this audience. A brand can offer deals, discounts and freebies based on its social listening, and make choices that will encourage maximum response.