Listen, Learn, & Earn with Social Listening
Have you ever been in a situation with a brand where you had a bad experience? Such as a last-minute flight cancelation or being assigned a seat where the air conditioner is dripping on you the whole flight? How about receiving a damaged item in the mail or an incorrect meal at a restaurant?
If so, in that moment of anger or frustration, you may have turned to social media to post or tweet about your negative experience and irritation with the brand. Alternatively, if you had a phenomenal experience with a brand or were provided fantastic customer service, you also may have turned to social media to share your positive experience with the brand. In either case, whether it was a positive or negative experience, you likely received a response from several of your followers, friends, and maybe even the brand itself.
If you received a response from the brand itself, they were likely addressing and attempting to make amends for your negative experience or praising you for sharing your positive experience. This is social listening.
What is Social Listening?
According to HubSpot, social listening is “the monitoring of your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback and direct mentions of your brand or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by an analysis to gain insights and act on those opportunities.”
Social listening provides brands with insights. These insights allow them to cultivate relevant content that followers actually want to see, generate industry-specific ideas, improve customer service experiences, provide timely responses to negative experiences, and alter your customer strategy as needed.
Why Is Social Listening Important?
Social listening is vital because consumers turn to social media for instant satisfaction. Without social listening, it is nearly impossible for a brand to monitor what is being experienced by consumers. Or how they are reacting to their experience with your brand. If a brand lacks social listening initiatives, they are at risk of developing a reputation based on bad characteristics. Continually tracking a brand’s presence, mentions, reputation, and customer satisfaction via social listening is vital to a brand reputation and demonstrates that a brand knows there is always room for improvement.
The feedback gathered through social listening, if utilized correctly, can make all the difference to a brand’s success. This is because, with social listening, brands aren’t left to make assumptions about what consumers want or need or even how they feel about the brand itself. Through the power of social listening, brands are provided with insights that are delivered directly from the consumers themselves. This is huge and allows brands to make changes to meet the needs of their consumers.
Social listening also provides brands the opportunity to respond to consumers’ questions or searches while they are making their way through the sales funnel. By monitoring keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, brands can interact directly with consumers asking for solutions to a problem they can solve or product questions and concerns. Customers/prospects who seek and receive responses from brands on social media are more likely to make a purchase from your company. Social listening provides brands with the ability to respond in real-time to make purchase suggestions.
The brand just needs to listen to obtain these insights and prospective customers.
Listen with A Purpose
Everyone loves to be heard, and social media has become the go-to platform for being listened to. Consumers post their opinions on social platforms because they seek to be heard and listened to. The brand’s most important job when it comes to social listening is to do just that, listen. Their second most important task is to join the conversation and respond. When a brand listens to their brand’s questions and concerns and responds to them publicly and directly, the brand is demonstrating its customer-centric orientation. But it’s more than that; it’s providing real-time responses and solutions that provide your customers with value.
A brand needs to listen with a purpose; it can’t be one-directional, join the conversation, and have equal parts of listening and responding. This technique allows consumers to feel heard and personally addressed rather than receiving a generic corporate response. It’s not enough to just monitor what is being said about your brand; that only tells you WHAT the issue is. You must listen to the WHY of the problem. Why are your customers feeling this way? What happened that caused this reaction? When you don’t listen to what customers are saying about your brand on social media, the customers get to take over the narrative. But, if you listen and respond, you can take back control of what the customer and other prospective customers think of your brand.
But what do you listen for?
- Social Media Mentions
- Industry news
- Brand awareness
Respond with Value
Social media listening is intended to embrace the good, face the bad, and manage the ugly. No one posts on social media without the intention of receiving a response. Therefore, brands must be responsive and address both positive and negative feedback.
Customers aren’t seeking a generic response such as “sorry about your experience today” when they received poor customer service from your brand. Consumers want to feel heard and valued; they want to know that your brand genuinely feels apologetic about their negative experience and that you will do everything in your power to make things right. This is why it is crucial to utilize social listening to analyze what is being said about your brand on social media and craft valuable responses that increase your customer retention rates, elicit brand loyalty and brand awareness.
How do you respond? Simple, you build responses overtime that is unique to each situation. Respond to all content; the good, the bad, and the ugly. The negative and the positive and respond with purpose and value. Don’t just apologize, do something to make amends.
In conclusion, social listening, you are making daily steps to build a strong brand reputation, improve, and adapt to consumer needs. The power of social listening elicits leverage over your competitors by providing an opportunity for more substantial content to be created, the potential for improved market share, and increased profitability. There is value in listening; take your feedback and grow from it, improve your customer service and your content strategy, make amends for wrongdoings, and utilize social listening to conduct market research and competitive analysis for brand growth. Interacting with customers and being responsive makes all the difference, so monitor, listen, respond, and address issues through the power of social listening.