Create content. Market that content. Create more content.
This is a mantra that all marketers live by. The more content you create the more people will get attracted to it and the higher the lead conversion rate. But for an effective communication to take place and a long-lasting and fruitful relationship to be made with the customer, it is equally – or more – important to listen.
Social listening gives you access to powerful business insights by helping you track, analyze and respond to online conversations that are about your brand and your industry. Social listening is somewhat similar to social media monitoring and hence often get confused with each other. They work best together but shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
Dan Neely, the CEO of Networked Insights had the perfect description that helps distinguish the two; “Monitoring sees trees; listening sees the forest”.
To best understand this difference, here’s a fitting analogy.
Let’s say you own a fast food restaurant and you source your meat from a couple of different vendors. A customer comes in on Monday and orders a cheeseburger. But on taking a bite they complain about how chewy it is. You apologize profusely and give them a refund. On Friday, a customer orders a cheeseburger and the feedback is amazing.
Next Monday, another customer comes in and orders a cheeseburger. The complaint again comes to you that it is too chewy so you give them a refund like the customer from the previous week. This trend continues for about a month.
Looking at these situations on a case-by-case basis, you might write them off as one time issues. You solve the problems as soon as it arrives. That’s social monitoring.
But after a month, you can see a trend developing. As all the complaints come on Mondays you conclude that there’s probably something wrong with the meat on that day. Using that knowledge, you can address the issue by dealing with the vendor about the meat he supplies to you on that day. You can then stop losing money on refunds and in turn be able to provide much better meat on Mondays. That’s social listening.
With social media monitoring, you can track mentions and notifications and take immediate action which is key to an effective engagement strategy. But analyzing context and larger trends that surround those conversations through efficient social listening will give you valuable insights that will enable you to better speak and serve your audience.
The Aim of Social Listening
- Community Building – Social listening enables you to track conversations, detect buyers, leads and key influencers which builds a positive image of your brand while fostering better relationships with a tight community of loyal followers. Influencer Marketing can help you convert more visitor to your site and increase conversion
- Consumer Behavior Guide – Social listening help your brand pay better and closer attention to your consumer base, helping you understand the customer’s main problems, motivations, and issues with ease. This, in turn, supports your endeavors of bettering your customer service.
- Powerful Marketing Insights – Through social listening, you will be able to discover what is being spoken about your brand, who is saying it, on which platforms, how often and who the main influencers are. You will then be able to leverage this data to improve your content marketing by optimizing your content, SEO, and PPC strategies.
- Improved Promptness – Timing is vital when it comes to social media. For your brand to build a positive image in the minds of your customers, you must focus on your time of reaction. Social listening helps you utilize the power of social monitoring to understand what time is the best time to post content, reply to messages and complaints.
- Product Development – With the aid of intelligent social listening, problems experienced by your consumers when using your product can be made note of and addressed when releasing your corrected version. Addressing complaints and making changes to your product/service accordingly will leave you with an end product or service that is truly superior in every way.
- Improving Sales – Your sales department will be highly benefitted as social listening will help you uncover conversations that hint at purchasing intent and help you monitor your competitors through their social media feeds. Improve your ROI by integrating the data you collect via social listening with CRM.
The Nature of Social Listening
- Speaking about competitors – It is not enough to just monitor the online conversations about your brand but it is vital to track the language used when describing your competitors. You can discover unmet consumer needs by listening to the negative viewpoints that are being shared about your competitors. This will give your company the opportunity to gain a competitive edge.
- Target buyer’s social behavior – Through social listening, you can determine which social media your target demographic is most active on, how they use the platforms and when they use it. This will help you execute an optimal social media strategy that evolves with the ever-changing habits of your target group.
- Preferred content – With the use of the extensive data collected from in-depth social listening, you will be able to understand what your audience wants to watch, read and hear.
Role of the Social Listener
- Uncover content trends –A social listener needs to be able to track and discover conversations their audience has about their brand and industry. This gives the brand the advantage of being able to build targeted content.
- Complaint redressed – A good social listener needs to be able to create content that directly addresses audiences’ pain points. Upon looking for trends in customer complaints and issues, you would be able to resolve them by adding new features of policies. This will increase customer loyalty as well as it redresses their complaint.
- User-Generated Content (UGC) – Social media listeners should tag any social media posts that promote your brand but are created by your audience as user-generated content. Over time monitor the rate at which this UGC is being shared by your audience and if it increases at a quick pace, it might be worth creating a new campaign that encourages followers to promote your brand.
- Discover hidden trends –A social listener shouldn’t get bogged down by just monitoring obvious trends. Looking beyond the surface and going in-depth will help you find hidden gems that could potentially help your marketing strategies succeed.
- Use the data:A social listener should be able to outline actionable steps the brand can take to put the data they have gathered to use on current and future efforts.
The Relationship between the Listener and the Speaker
Very often, when companies talk about social listening, they don’t include consumer perceptions and customer experiences. The conversation turns to influencer scores, metrics, sentiment, and volume or the focus shifts slightly to the social media channels managed by the brand where consumers can engage with them about their service and support issues.
This is a very reactive approach and only involves monitoring of inbound conversations and responding to specific concerns. When a company looks beyond numbers and keywords, they will be able to discover the conversations that the customers are actually having about their company and its products and services.
It is important to not just hear your consumer but to actually listen to them. Listen to understand and not just to reply.
Social listening can be used to improve customer relationships. Social listening isn’t just community management and an avenue to solve brand challenges but also a method to use insights from the social research to advance customer interactions. Social listening helps to create a truly integrated customer care strategy that addresses issues like lower customer satisfaction scores, escalating call center costs, and loss of market share.
Listening for the sake of listening is pointless. It is crucial, for the success of your brand, that listening leads to valuable insights that allow your company to make better decisions.
You now understand that social media listening isn’t just about identifying and analyzing what is being said about your brand, products or services on the internet. Neither is it just the job of the marketing or customer service department. Social listening has a huge impact on the company as a whole and can bring greater benefits. You get actionable feedback and valuable real-time data when you come across the concerns, critiques, and compliments that customers upload on social media. Through being a good social listener, you can utilize deep consumer and market insights to ground your entire marketing strategy on.
If your brand listens intentionally, your company will grow exponentially. In this day and age, listening is a very important skill. Once you create a defined listening strategy, you will be able to uncover your brands potential on social media. Keep the following in mind:
- Every individual role in your company will benefit from an effective social media listening strategy.
- Always stay on top of conversations about your brand, product or service with the help of real-time feedback.
- Figure a way to deliver the right communications to the qualified department in an efficient manner.
- Based on the relevant information that you have collected during social listening, set achievable goals.