DEC. 18, 2020
Kyle Smith / Unsplash
Do you want to discover an audience, grow your business, drive sales, and get more traffic? Start by asking who your customers are and what they want.
With social listening. Social listening is when you monitor the mentions of your brand, products, competitors, and relevant topics around your business on social media. By monitoring conversations around relevant topics and mentions, you get a wealth of data that you can use to make business decisions. Ultimately, this helps you grow your business.
Here’s how to get started.
Social Listening Improves Customer Service
Social media is a place where you view cute cat videos, post pictures of your awesome life, and rant, sometimes about brands.
Social media has given users a platform to voice their concerns. It’s also easy for customers to reach out to a brand through social media where a simple one-line message suffices rather than waiting for many minutes at the other end of a phone.
Here’s why social listening is so important.
Ilana Wiles, an influencer running a mommy blog (Mommy Shorts), posted an article about her experience contracting home renovation to HomePolish. The company completely botched the redesign that she paid for.
So, she turned to Instagram and posted a few images of the visibly botched redesign. Her miffed followers responded by commenting on Homepolish’s page for a solution.
The company dragged the issue for months on end, far from solving the problem. There wasn’t even a reasonable response from them or a comment acknowledging their mistake. Eventually, national media got wind of the Mommy Shorts story and picked it up.
What happened next? No influencer wanted to work with HomePolish. A deal they were working on to raise capital fell through. One thing led to another and finally, all these events led to the undoing of a $100 million design startup.
The lesson? When customers complain, listen to them. Customers dislike waiting, and they hate being ignored. As in the case of HomePolish, bad customer service can end up very badly for a brand. The truth is 85% percent of customers stop doing business with a brand because of poor customer service. The sooner you respond and solve the problem they have, the better it is for your you.
Social Listening Generates Leads for your Business
Just because they’re on social media doesn’t stop people from being potential leads. You can target them on any platform.
To generate leads using social listening, monitor keywords in your niche, in and around your brand. Monitor product names, competitor brands, and other keywords that are relevant to what you stand for. On social media, it has now become more common than ever for people to look for buying advice. They are looking for recommendations and suggestions from people just like them.
Every single day users are engaging in conversations around products, debating features, and bemoaning what’s missing. Social media is a place to drop by these conversations and recommend products. That doesn’t imply you can blatantly advertise your products. You can offer a helping hand, and if the situation warrants, offer a product suggestion. This is called inbound marketing and here’s how Airbnb does it.
Airbnb is a startup that provides accommodations to guests at people’s homes. As a company, they’re known for their customer-centric approach. When Dan Wetzel, a sports journalist, tweeted about his dissatisfaction with the hotel room he had to stay in, Airbnb was quick to the rescue. Listening to Dan’s complaint that the room lacked even the basic amenities, Airbnb promptly reached out to him and provided him accommodation options.
The tweet went viral and even received media coverage.
Social Listening Connects You with the Pulse of the Customer
Social listening helps you improve products because it provides real-time feedback. As mentioned earlier, customers on social media have an open platform to voice their concerns. On social media they feely share opinions and reviews about the products they use. That’s why listening for feedback is way better than any survey you can conduct.
Naturally, that makes social media a place where you can hone in on real user feedback. It can give you plenty of customer insights, some of which can be actionable when creating new products or improving existing ones. As a brand, these insights, reviews, and opinions are extremely useful. You can improve your product by adding features and improving upon existing feature sets by listening to customers. This is the exact strategy Go Pro used to launch GoPro Hero 4.
Go Pro improved their product by analyzing online commentary around Hero 3+. The insights they gathered helped them add features that improved user experience. Whatever was lacking earlier got added to Go Pro Hero 4.
For a slightly higher price point, users got a much more compact and lightweight product with double the frame rate. Online discussions often raised the lack of file sharing options. Hero 4 solved this with the inclusion of Bluetooth.
These customer insights are valuable because they are so genuine. It’s unadulterated reviews coming directly from users. These insights can help you create a much better product that will sell more and cater to the interests of people.
Social Listening Gives You Content Marketing Ideas
As a marketer, content remains an important factor that drives traffic back to your site. Social listening can help you come up with topic ideas. All writers have a point where they struggle with finding new topics. Social listening can fix that. It’s simple. Start by monitoring niche relevant keywords from your industry or blog. If you sell business proposals, you might try searching for proposal templates, free proposal templates, or website proposal templates, and so on. Run these keywords by Buzzsumo or a social listening tool to get a list of trending articles and content around the topic.
Discover social media discussions around these topics. Based on how your audience interacts with your product, you can create relevant content around it.
Here’s an example. Sole Bicycles sells 15,000 bikes annually. These aren’t your usual run-of-the-mill bikes but high-end and expensive. The bulk of the sales happen through their blog that drives traffic and captures leads. You might imagine them publishing long-form content, guides and articles. They tried publishing in-depth guides and checklists for some time. It didn’t work. They decided to listen to what customers were saying with the help of social intelligence tools and found out what they were interested in. So instead of minting new blog posts, they started releasing mixtapes that these users could listen to when cycling. The strategy worked and generated a lot of new users for the company.
Social listening helps you understand who your audience is. Social listening helps you understand your marketing campaigns better and tells you how you can best reach them and create value.
By George Mathew