Traditional approaches to marketing and promotion are being overturned. Today, word of mouth via social media is the most influential means of attracting new customers to a brand. But how can social media listening increase customer advocacy?
Every brand wants to attract a larger audience while retaining the loyalty of its existing customers. Employing a social media listening strategy will enable marketers to do both. This article will explain what social media listening is, why it’s important, and how it can help improve customer experience.
Social media listening is when you actively follow all discussions and conversations across social networks relating to your company’s brand. This extends to social sharing sites and forums that cover the entire industry in which it operates.
Across social media sites, review aggregation sites, and blogs, conversations are taking place and companies want to be aware of all those related to their brands. Customers are
This authentic and honest feedback from consumers is invaluable for companies to know. With the right tools, companies will be able to pinpoint their customer’s needs more accurately.
Related topic: How Brand Loyalty Influences Consumer Behaviour
Social media listening provides insights into how consumer trends or behaviors are evolving and how wider industry changes are influencing customer expectations. Particularly, your sales and product teams will be able to acquire useful information about which products and services in the market were a hit.
The best part about this strategy is that consumers will go into detail about what features they like and don’t like. With such data, your company will have all the information it needs to improve its products and services.
With a wider understanding of the business landscape, as well as the company’s position within it, improvements can be made in the right areas to benefit the customer experience. More positive reviews are likely to come when you can follow the customer’s demands so closely.
Social monitoring and social media listening share certain similarities but they’re not the same thing.
Social monitoring is the act of tracking specific hashtags, keywords, and direct brand mentions and storing that data. It helps measure conversations around a company and identify moments when to directly engage with customers. Specifically, if a brand or product is being mentioned for the wrong reasons, the company can step in and become part of the conversation and solution.
Unlike social monitoring, social media listening is more comprehensive in scope. It tracks all conversations related to the industry sector as a whole (i.e., topics of interest, the company’s brands, and its direct competition).
When you get around to using the captured data, it becomes social media listening. Analysing the data from industry trends and brand conversations provides insights that aid in business decision-making.
In essence, you can think of social monitoring as a reactive approach to your business presence on social media. Social media listening is the proactive approach where you observe, analyze data, and adapt the results for future planning.
A well-designed social media listening strategy needs to be able to collect, process and effectively analyze the breadth and depth of data coming in. Unless the company already has the capacity and expertise, the incoming information can easily overwhelm systems and teams lacking in the right resources.
For this reason, it’s best to start with a pilot project focused on one or two potential topics related to your brand, products, and/or services. This pilot project will help prove to your company the benefits of social listening with initial insights and test internal systems and processes for future opportunities to scale.
While you may feel initially restricted by the scope of your topics, you don’t have to limit the number of search terms or data points to track. If you narrow your focus too much, the data you gather may be insubstantial to deliver actionable insights or place the findings in context.
Realistically, you should consider targeting keywords that are both, directly and indirectly, related to your products and services and the industry as a whole. This also includes incorporating hashtags and terms relating to direct competitors.
To achieve the best results out of social media listening, it’s necessary to leverage the capability of applications optimised for this purpose. For companies unfamiliar with what’s out there, it’s recommended to engage a specialist organization that can help plan the strategy and provide the expertise to identify and apply the right tools for optimum results.
There is a good selection of tools and applications on the market that can simplify the acts of both social listening and social monitoring. Here are 3 excellent tools you can consider:
Before you analyse all the data collected through social media listening, simplify your findings by classifying them into appropriate categories. You should do so in familiar metrics, such as the ones used in social media, to provide an easier understanding.
For example, one of the data classifications can be ‘sentiment’. This is where you would put all the discussions, comments, and posts directly referencing the company or its products and services in a positive, neutral, or negative manner.
Now, for arguably the most complicated part: combining and comparing all the data gathered from social media listening with any relevant data within the company’s internal data sources. This includes customer histories sitting within the CRM system and other data collected through contact centres or direct customer interactions.
Take note that if this is a pilot project, you may encounter challenges with blending the different types of data and data formats that sit across multiple systems within your company. Consider consulting with experts who can provide assistance in data analysis and draw out the insights you want.
Once you get the report, you need to share the insights with all the relevant stakeholders in the company. Depending on the time-sensitivity of certain social media topics or conversations, taking the next steps to improve the brand’s image and customer experience is a process that requires quick but careful coordination to act on detailed customer feedback.
This final step is conditional, but it can help capitalise on customer loyalty and turn it into customer advocacy. What you may notice from the processed data is that some people have a louder voice than others. Social media listening can help identify potential brand influencers.
Certain individuals’ posts or comments seem to attract more attention and sometimes they can have a great influence on how a brand is perceived. Take advantage of user-generated content as a powerful and authentic form of marketing and promotion that’s become so vital for businesses.
The benefits of using social media listening include:
When used effectively, social media listening can boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and help lower customer acquisition and retention costs in the long term by empowering companies to become active participants in the conversation around their brand.
Social media listening is definitely worth your company’s investment to build a base of loyal customers. Don’t know where to start? Then get in touch with our experts at elfo. We’re here for all your social media marketing needs!