An undeniable effect of the digital age is that it has empowered consumers, allowing them to research brands thoroughly before they commit to their products or services. In platforms and discussion forums such as Quora, Reddit, and Twitter, customers discuss their preferences, ask questions about products, and offer both positive and negative feedback after product usage.
This wealth of information can be used by smart organizations to identify potential customers and maintain the existing ones by constantly meeting and exceeding their expectations. This is why social listening should be at the heart of every organization's digital marketing strategy.
What is Social Listening?
Social listening is the monitoring of social media channels for mentions and discussions on topics, competitors, industry trends, or specific keywords related to your brand. This is followed by analysis and taking the relevant responsive action that will lead to sales or the improvement of brand popularity.
It is therefore a two-step process, the first being social monitoring to collect the information, followed by a measure, action, or suitable response to the information.
Why Does Social Listening Matter?
Any business that does not indulge in social listening is missing out on a critical product research, marketing, and customer retention tool. Below are some ways social listening can help an organization:
Increasing customer engagement - Engaging with customers is a sure way to win their loyalty and become your product ambassadors. Responding to customers negative feedback can help retain customers who would have left, whereas hitting up the direct mail of satisfied customers will make them love you more.
Crisis management - Negative social media sentiment against your brand will hurt your chances of getting new customers. Social listening will help you identify disgruntled customers and follow up to sort out the problem cause. In case of a crisis such as a certain product malfunctioning and causing damages or losses to the customer, learning of such a scenario early on can help you take measures to mitigate it before negative sentiment spreads from it.
Tracking competitors - Knowing what people say about your competitors is as important as knowing what people say about you. You can incorporate what people like about them to your product and services while avoiding some of their mistakes as identified during social listening. This will give you an advantage over them.
Identifying new sales leads - Through social listening, you can form relationships with potential customers. Knowing and addressing what pains them will allow you to place yourself in a position of trust, influencing their purchase decision in your favor.
These are just some of the ways businesses can benefit from social listening. To reap these benefits, however, you need to know the right way to listen.
4 Tips for an Effective Social Listening Strategy
1. Identify your Goals and Keywords
Every strategy should have a driving goal behind it. By knowing the intention of your social listening campaign, you can select the relevant keywords to help you gather the required information.
2. Automate your Social Listening
The bank of information available makes it impossible to manually collect and analyze the data. Besides, why hunt for the needle manually when you can pass a magnet over the haystack to pull it out? Using social listening tools will automate the process for you and make it cost-effective for your organization. Some tools that can be used include:
These tools help in the tracking of keywords, analyzing social media data, competitor espionage, increasing brand visibility, and so much more.
3. Track Analyze, Repeat
After tracking to platforms of interest, the next step is to analyze the information to give you a feel of the online mood. Use analysis metrics to give you the general sentiment of the customers which can then be used to make the necessary adjustment to the strategies.
4. Take Action
Without taking action, you will only have engaged in social monitoring. The action you take does not need to be of volcanic proportions either. The action can be as simple as replying to the comments of a concerned customer. Other actions could include making changes to the product or services, changing the marketing channels, etc.
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