4 tips for better social listening
Social listening allows brands to understand what their customers really think about the brand’s products and services. By “listening” to mentions of the brand’s name, products and services on social media, brands can remove weak spots from the customer journey, resolve customer complaints, find out what customers like and what they like. dislike, and even know what customers think about the brand’s competitors. That said, there are several things brands should avoid doing when using social listening. This article will discuss the pitfalls of social listening and how to avoid them.
What is social listening?
Social listening is a marketing practice in which brands “listen” to keywords, typically the brand name, the brand’s products and services, and the brand names, products and services of its competitors, on networks. social. By actively listening to these terms, brands are able to respond quickly to customer complaints, determine where the weak spots are in the customer journey, understand what they are doing right and where they are going wrong. Additionally, brands can learn what customers like and dislike about the products and services of the brand’s competitors.
SmartInsights research found that in October 2021, 57.6% of the world’s population (4.55 billion people) were using social media. The main social media are, in order, Facebook (2.8 billion users), YouTube (2.2 billion users), WhatsApp (2 billion users), Instagram (1.3 billion users) users) and lower in the list, TikTok (732 million users), Pinterest (478 million users) and Twitter (397 million users).
A report from GlobalWebIndex showed that up to 50% of social media users use social media to search for products and services. Additionally, a report from Statista found that 33% of respondents in the United States said they used social media to complain about a brand or its customer service. Considering these statistics, brands have a huge opportunity to learn more about their customers through social listening.
Related article: What Can Social Listening Do To Improve CX?
Don’t miss listening to what people are feeling
Dean Browell, PhD, Professor of Digital Ethnography and Social Listening at the VCU School of Business, shared his thoughts on the real benefit of social listening: getting a much clearer picture of personalities, behaviors, and feelings. client. “Social listening provides in-depth behavioral insights into public decision-making online while also providing the landscape through which peers find when collecting information,” explained Professor Browell. “It helps illustrate the personalities and behaviors of audiences and can be used to track trends and patterns of both audiences and their feelings towards brands, services, products, facilities, etc. Social listening seeks to give the voice of the consumer and to understand the volume and timbre of that voice and how it influences others.
Brands often get carried away by metrics, rather than paying attention to the feelings their customers express on social media. These customers are representative of all the other customers who feel the same way but haven’t taken the time to post on social media. “Listen to them – they tell you what products they want, how they want to be treated and who they trust. And if you think these are just the loudest voices, then understand the power of those loud voices for all prowlers looking for answers. Social listening can help you understand the customer experience and how they perceive it – and how it influences others. It’s very different from the simple way they navigate your website or find products in-store (although they can talk about that as well), ”said Professor Browell.
Related article: The future of listening
Don’t focus on the brand’s official social channels
When brands focus on social media, they often look to their own official channels, focusing on what customers are posting there or how they react to what the brand has posted. Often, however, the most revealing aspects of social listening will appear on the client’s own profile pages, or within other groups or communities.
“It’s understandable that brands focus on the channels they own first, but there’s a real problem in thinking that by paying primarily attention to who shows up on your official channels, it represents what people really think of you, “said Professor Browell. “Yes, there are things to reveal in these interactions, but the context of these interactions is incredibly important – and showing how people talk to their peers when you’re not there is crucial to understanding why certain segments appear to you. digital door. . It’s too small a focus group.
According to Davitha Ghiassi, executive vice president of social services and integration at Red Havas, a merged public relations and media communications agency, going beyond brand feedback is key to better understanding their customers. “While a lot of your customer’s feedback can come to you directly through branded channels, research shows that 96% of people who discuss brands online do not follow profiles belonging to those brands,” Ghiassi said. . “Therefore, looking beyond the comments that come to you is crucial in order to get the big picture; and social listening allows you to do just that by tracking conversations, including relevant keywords, brand mentions, and even visual mentions of your brand (i.e. logo, product via visual intelligence tools like Talkwalker).
Related article: 4 Tips for Better Social Listening
Don’t just listen, participate
The 2020 Sprout Social Index report found that 79% of customers expect a response within the first 24 hours after contacting a brand through social media, and 40% expect brands to respond within an hour. . While social listening is pretty much that – listening – it also provides opportunities for brands to interact and respond to customers.
When customers create a message extolling the virtues of a brand’s products, that brand should step in and respond, thanking them for their feedback. When customers leave negative reviews about a product or service, now is a great time for the brand to fix a problem and build customer loyalty. Social listening isn’t just about listening to what customers are saying – it’s about participating and having conversations with customers, showing them that the brand cares about them and is grateful for them. be able to learn what they think of the brand.
Brands should avoid being confrontational or defensive when responding to what may appear to be negative comments left by customers on social media. They should leave a thoughtful response explaining that they are sorry the customer had a problem, as well as a way for the customer to contact them directly to resolve the issue. If the issue cannot be resolved, they should offer to immediately refund the customer all of what they paid. Once the offer is resolved, there is always the option of giving the customer a special discount, buying one, getting a free one, or something extra that shows the brand cares about the feelings of the customer. customer.
“Social listening not only offers a powerful way to identify and respond directly to comments, questions or concerns about your brand or product, but also allows you to research information that can help improve the overall customer service strategy.” , explained Ghiassi. “For example, by creating proactive content that can live on all channels and answer frequently asked questions from social media. “
Be sure to set goals for social listening initiatives
Many brands launch social listening initiatives without setting specific goals or KPIs. Not only do specific goals require different practices, but without goals or KPIs it becomes impossible to assess the effectiveness of social listening initiatives.
Depending on the goals that have been set for social listening initiatives, brands can gain a much deeper understanding of their customers’ needs and wants, how they feel about the brand in general, or what they want. think of specific products and services they cannot. through other channels. “The goals of social listening can be incredibly diverse,” said Professor Browell. “Social listening could help inform a brand of the real health of its brand, it could provide insight into how their target audiences (B2C or B2B) make decisions and therefore inform decision paths, it can help to validate and improve personas, it can aid recruitment and retention, it can shed light on crucial geographic differences, it can enrich other research, especially by making big data more valuable with rich information, it can help development and to product adoption… honestly the applications are as endless as a market research tool, the only difference is Social listening also tells you what the public will find when they seek feedback from their peers – something that a poll or focus group cannot fundamentally confirm.
Social listening can be a very effective tool that allows brands to get to know their customers on a more personal and emotional level, when done correctly. Brands need to set goals for their social listening initiatives in order to make the most of the benefits, listen to what their customers are feeling, and learn to understand what they are hearing. They shouldn’t make the mistake of listening only to what’s posted on the brand’s own official social media channels, and they should participate, rather than just listen, respond to customers when appropriate. Finally, brands must act based on the insights revealed by social listening and, ultimately, improve the customer journey.