Social listening has big payoffs for brands that take the pain and time to listen. More brands and individuals are joining social media by the day, some on multiple platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat.
As they join, they also join the conversations making the rounds on social media. Much of this conversation centers around brands and businesses. As a business, it is not just enough to join social media, you need to listen for what users are saying about your business on social media.
Social listening involves keeping your social eyes and ears open for what people are saying about your brand or company on social media; good, bad and ugly.
In this post we’ll see ten ways social listening can benefit brands like yours, but first
What is Social Listening?
Social listening involves monitoring social media for mentions of you or your brand, products, services, hashtags or keywords. That way you get to hear and see firsthand how your brand is perceived per time.
Social listening does not end with social monitoring. Information obtained from monitoring is analyzed and necessary action taken to address concerns raised.
What do Customers Say About It?
Customers usually go online to:
- seek more information about a product or service before deciding on whether to buy
- complain about a product or service
- say how happy they are about a product or service
- recommend to others
In the process, they could be promoting you or seriously harming your reputation online. Depending on how you listen, respond and how fast you act, you can manage the outcome with social listening.
Statistics say 63% of consumers expect companies and brands to provide customer support on social media. While more than 70% depend on reviews to make a buying decision. So you need to pay attention to what they’re saying about you.
10 Reasons to Listen to What Customers Have to Say
- They will talk anyway, whether you listen or not
- They will talk about brands that impress or piss them off
- They may have a point after all
- They’ve nothing to lose, so can be brutally honest
- You can feed their feedback back into product research and development
- They’d feel important if you listen and act, or kick and curse if you don’t
- There are plenty of other options out there, competitors
- Your competitors are probably listening and your customers are looking them up
- They may be (micro) influencers
- They can do damage if unchecked
10 Ways Brands like Yours Can Benefit From Social Listening
- Improved Customer Support
Social listening because of its direct relationship with the customer opens up channels of communication between you two.
Either through social media or other channels, customers feel valued, heard, and are happy someone cares about their needs.
- Better Lead Generation
Happy customers are talking customers. Did you know 77% of consumers would recommend a business to their friends if they are happy about it?
Active and effective social listening brings free publicity, turns customers into lead magnets, brand ambassadors, advocates and evangelists.
- Better Targeting
By simply monitoring certain search optimized keywords, you can land in hitherto unknown lands and places where your target demographics hangout on social media.
Places like Facebook groups, Reddit threads, online forums, communities, etc, where your ideal customers all meet to chat, interact, share, learn and socialize. This is one smart way to do market research.
- Improved Online Reputation
Positive ratings and reviews will naturally boost your online reps, which can in turn boost organic traffic, sales and conversion. Customers can get this on social media, via Google search, Yelp, Trust Pilot, etc.
Bad mentions or publicity can also be turned around to boost online reputation and positive sentiment. How? By listening, picking up signals and responding promptly and adequately, before things escalate.
- Enhanced Product Development
When you listen to customers, and understand their needs and wants, you will learn that every complaint or suggestion they give, is an opportunity to better your product.
User testing and feedback should be a continuum. Consistent user experience feedback is key for product research and development.
- Better Profitability
By paying attention to your customers you will learn which of your products they love most and invest more resources to produce more of it .
You’ll also learn which of your products or services suck, which you need to improve on and which you probably need to flush down the drain.
- Better PR Management
Sometimes you may come under fire; rightly or wrongly. You may find yourself or brand enmeshed in scandals and rumors. Sadly you may miss this if you aren’t socially listening. And the effects can be far reaching.
However, with active social listening you can quickly trace the source and deploy your best resources to address the situation and nip it in the bud before it escalates into a wildfire.
- Gain Competitive Advantage
You don’t have to be the one under fire before you learn. Since you and your competitors are likely using similar keywords, you can eavesdrop on what the others are saying about them.
If good, you learn what they’re doing right so you can apply or replicate same principles. If wrong, you also learn why and find out ways to improve on such areas so as to stay one step ahead of your competitor.
- Win More Positive Sentiments
Customer perception and sentiment can be very subjective, and can change any minute without warning. Either way, brands who know how to sway it their way will go a mighty long way.
Brands who actively listen and take wise measurable actions will always generate a lot of goodwill, even in the midst of messy situations that threaten to tarnish their hard earned reputation.
- Keeps You Well Informed
There’s a lot you can learn from active social listening. You can learn more about your customers, consumer behavior, trends, new hashtags, industry, competitors, experts, influencers, news, breaking news, etc.
They who listen attentively learn and know, and what they know will show in how they apply such knowledge to improve their products and customer service.
Active social listening is imperative. Some startups are carried away by early success and begin to pay deaf ears to customer concerns. These quickly go from deaf to dead, and may be buried before they realize it.
You can avoid this by paying attention via social listening.
Amos Onwukwe is an AWAI trained Business and Ecommerce Copywriter who has featured in Huffington Post, Dumb Little Man, Self Growth, Ecommerce Nation, eCommerce Insights, Understanding Ecommerce, Floship, Result First, Successful Startup 101, among others. You can get in touch with me either through Facebook or Twitter.