How Brands Can Increase Visibility By Using Social Listening
Billions of conversations occur daily on social networks, many of which include brands, services, and products. This means that a solid social media presence, along with listening and interacting with customers, is essential for your brand.
What is Social Listening?
Social listening refers to monitoring social media networks for any mentions of your brand and analyzing them to glean insights about what actions you can take in response. This can include your brand’s name and any discussions that include specific topics, keywords, competitors, and subjects relevant to your industry.
This information must then be gathered and analyzed (to get insights about what customers want or find problematic) and must then be acted upon to address customer needs and to provide new business opportunities.
Is Social Listening Like Social Media Monitoring?
Social listening is not the same as social media monitoring. The latter involves simply counting mentions, likes, relevant hashtags, etc. These metrics, while important, often do not tell the whole story or provide insights into what is driving them — especially when, for example, high numbers are driven by negative comments. Social monitoring without taking action is not social listening and is not as effective in addressing your customers’ needs.
As the term suggests, social listening requires you to listen to what customers are saying and assess the mood or emotions behind it — this is referred to as the “social media sentiment” associated with your brand. This can help you understand how people feel about your brand (as well as your competitors) in specific ways. By identifying the meaning and sentiment of such brand interactions through social listening, you can gain important insights about your customers that can be used to drive targeted business strategies.
Increasingly, social media sites are also at the frontlines for customer service as users often first turn to these platforms to discuss issues or problems they are having. Social listening enables a brand to provide timely customer support and actively engage with customers and demonstrate that they value them and are attentive to their needs.
These opportunities for customer engagement are extremely important and help to protect your brand’s reputation, enable the timely resolution of any challenges or customer issues, help you to identify new customers, and provide invaluable insights about how to grow your business in the future.
Why Use Social Listening?
Social listening lets you see what people are saying about your brand so that you can understand how your customers view your brand, compare it with your competition, and provide invaluable product and market research.
Social listening enables you to assess perceptions of your brand, monitor its reputation, and find out what users are saying about it in real time. It can provide unique insights into how your products and services can be improved.
By analyzing what customers say about your brand and its offerings, both good and bad, you can get an unparalleled assessment of what customers want. You can also avoid negative perceptions by engaging with what is said. This is because social media sites provide a space where customers feel more comfortable expressing their honest opinions than in a more staged setting, such as a focus group.
Increasingly, social media sites are also where your brand’s customers first turn when they have problems or customer service issues. Social listening provides a proactive way for a brand to offer its customers assistance while addressing customers’ negative experiences before they impact the brand’s reputation.
Benefits of Social Listening In Marketing
On a social media site somewhere, real people are actively discussing your brand and industry. Social listening lets you know what they are saying and how they feel about your brand. Creating a business strategy without this knowledge puts you at a disadvantage from the start.
Social listening enables you to create the type of content and information your customers and followers want, helps you to respond nimbly to industry changes and trends, and improves your brand’s overall customer experience by engaging with them directly.
This enables you to continuously shift your customer strategy to meet customer needs and means you can respond to and resolve problems before they tarnish your brand’s image forever.
If you care about your customers, then you will also care about the insights that social listening can provide. The following sections outline how social listening can benefit your brand:
Improve Customer Engagement.
Everyone wants to be heard, and customers want to feel your brand is listening to them on social media. They feel more engaged when a brand responds to their questions and joins in with relevant customer conversations.
More importantly, prospects and existing customers tend to make purchases with brands that offer valuable information and are seen as responsive to customer needs. Monitoring and interacting with social media users can be invaluable for engendering brand loyalty and improving customer retention rates.
Protect Brand Reputation
Sometimes it’s not all sunshine and roses, and your brand can face a scandal or a serious product issue. When a significant issue results in a sustained negative response on social media, your brand needs to work out whether it is causing long-term damage and address the problem.
Whether it is a decrease in followers, sales, or some other significant metric, you need to understand the impact and take appropriate action in response. Sometimes just posting to reflect your brand’s viewpoint or owning the problem and promising to do better can be enough to forestall permanent customer dissatisfaction and a negative brand reputation.
Get Customer Insights
Your brand’s loyal customers can provide unmatched product research opportunities. When a significant number of your followers or customers identify a particular problem or issue, it allows you to make changes and innovate to solve that problem.
When customers talk about a desired feature or need, it represents an opportunity to satisfy that desire. Customer feedback is key to providing a better product or service. Social media offers a unique space where customers will be more honest about how they feel about your brand, providing you with unique insights and perspectives about your products and services.
Discover New Customers
Social media is a great place to broaden your brand’s pool of prospective customers. Followers on social media are not always your customers; sometimes, they are only responding to your published content or have joined in a discussion related to your product.
These are the types of prospects your brand needs to target. By providing interesting and valuable content, your brand can convert followers into leads and, eventually, customers. Once again, by carefully listening to what these discussions center on, you can gain insights into customer pain points, any perceived barriers to purchase, and a wealth of other customer insights.
Social conversations about your brand can help you to discover individuals who are thought leaders or influencers in your market and provide opportunities to engage in a conversation about your brand and potentially partner with them. These people can have a significant impact on how your brand is viewed and how it is compared with its competitors. If someone is saying great things about your brand, you should reach out to them and propose opportunities for collaboration.
Using Social Listening In Your Marketing Campaigns
In today’s marketing environment, you’re missing out on a unique method for gaining customer insights if you’re not using social listening. You might be missing out on the most critical insight about your brand: just how customers feel about you and your competitors right now.
Social listening is not just about counting how often your brand is mentioned but engaging with customers and measuring their overall sentiment about you and the products and services you offer. It helps you to keep your marketing and product development efforts on track and allows you to respond quickly to any negative issues that could have the potential of permanently damaging your brand.
Today there are many social media tools available that provide features that make it much easier to implement a social listening strategy. They can monitor multiple social media sites at once while enabling you to respond to conversations, keywords, hashtags, or mentions from a central dashboard and provide a wide range of reporting and other functions. By carefully analyzing the information social listening tools provide, you can constantly hone your marketing and customer acquisition strategy and measure its success in real-time. If your brand has a social media presence but is not using social listening, it’s missing out on vital customer insights.
If you’re interested in learning more about how social listening can be utilized to improve your media buying and advertising strategies, contact The Remnant Agency today for a complimentary strategy session.