Social listening is the latest buzzword, and with good reason. It basically refers to the manner in which businesses use social media and the internet to find out what customers are saying about their brand and its competitors. It offers companies direct access to what customers have to say, and accordingly help businesses refine their marketing and advertising techniques.
Customers talk about brands often with their friends. But they rarely speak to the brand directly. This can be rectified with social listening. The interesting thing is that social listening is fast becoming an important part of business planning and strategy. People expect businesses to respond when they talk about them on social media channels. Research indicates that in the 18 to 24 year age group, 57% respondents reported that they want businesses to pay attention to what they say about them online. This percentage was higher, 60%, in the 25 to 34 year age group.
How to Use Social Listening
Contact with customers: Social listening is a great way to identify what your target audience wants and deliver accordingly. Whether it is to make a complaint, share an experience or to make a request, internet users use their social media accounts in versatile ways. Sometimes they may post a message that asks friends to share their opinion about a brand or product. It is also not uncommon for them to contact a business directly on its Facebook page. It is important for brands to actively listen to their customers.
Eye on the competitors: It is a good idea for a business to also listen in on the chatter about its competitors. This can help the enterprise identify its own problem areas or it may wish to step forward and ensure that customers are aware of its brand presence in the market. This is especially true of start-ups and small and medium sized businesses. It is wise to learn from the mistakes of your competitors and to consider ideas that are successful.
Encourage conversation: Customers often take the initiative to contact a business on its Facebook page or any other social media account. It is vital that a business takes the time and effort to respond to its customers. This will also offer insight into topics that concern them and are likely to elicit a reaction. Social trust is a key issue that influences shopping decisions. People like to buy products from brands that they like and trust.
On social media one often finds individuals who are likely to influence a large circle of friends around them. These are social media users who express themselves effectively through blogs and posts. They like to talk about and share information about products, businesses, and experiences with them. If a brand is able to make a genuine connection with such people, it is likely that it will expand its reach.
Customer service: It is possible to nip problems at the bud or to ensure that a bad experience with the brand transforms into a positive one. The modern customer needs to feel acknowledged and valued and social listening can go a long way in achieving this. It can improve customer service and personalize it in a unique way. Social listening can also help a business preempt problems and issues that customers may bring to its attention. And hence it can be better prepared to deal with them.
EU Claim, UK, uses a social listening tool to identify unhappy passengers who tweet about delayed flights and offer them information about their compensation options. It also frequently posts on issues that are important to travelers such as tips on packing and things to keep in mind when travelling with children.
Identifying social hubs: It is crucial that your business understand which social media channels are preferred by its customers. This would ascertain that you don’t miss out any leads, and on opportunities to connect the brand with its customers.
Engaging content: Social listening makes it possible for a business to identify issues that are important to its customers. If it offers relevant content that is valuable to its target audience, the brand will receive more attention and traffic on the internet. For instance, a business that sells baby care products, may find that on Facebook and Google parenting groups, parents talk about their worries about seasonal changes. If the brand develops content on the same theme, it is likely to make a good connection with its customers.