Social Listening and the Art of Conversation

Group of reporters listening to a mime speak

To know what is being said about your brand everyday in the social sphere, marketers are harnessing the power of social listening to identify newer business opportunities. If you do social listening, you can tell your brand’s story effectively on various social media platforms and see it expanding. The social media metrics help you:

  1. Determine whether or not your brand is heard successfully across multiple platforms
  2. Get acquainted with your customers and ensure customer satisfaction
  3. Evaluate your marketing efforts and their performance/non-performance
  4. Schematize better activities in social sphere to enhance your brand’s presence

Lend an ear to what you should know about social listening and how it can be made profitable for your brand.

“The art of conversation lies in listening.” –Malcom Forbes

What is Social Listening

Social listening helps to know how users perceive your brand and also if they are avoiding it.

Social listening is one of the few effective techniques to get insights into your brand’s presence in the market. There are many repeated conversations on social networks that can be significant to evaluate a brand’s performance/non-performance/under-performance in social sphere. Customers share their understanding of brand(s), reveal about their buying experience and the utility of the products/services with other online users.

It’s here where the brands and marketers can derive maximum value from their existing or future customers’ two-way conversations. Brands can understand what is being said in their absence and devise new product or marketing strategies/policies to deliver a better experience for their customers.

Here are some direct benefits you can expect from social listening.

  1. Get real time insights into customers’ opinions.
  2. Measure brand sentiments.
  3. Get early opinions on changing customer trends.
  4. Get product insights and integrate them with sales strategy.
  5. Reach out proactively to customers and address their issues.
  6. Join real time conversations and expand your reach.
  7. Make social engagement strong and efficient.
  8. Keep tabs on the competition.
  9. Re-formulate your efforts to improve.

Why Social Listening is Important

It may perhaps sound comic, but isn’t really. Dissatisfied customers are coming to social media to voice their views and annoyance on a product/service. It can be damaging for a brand to ignore it. What can be done for this? Probably, “pay attention to what is all being said on social networks,” recommends Brad Shimmin, principal analyst at Current Analysis Inc.

Social listening integrates both social media monitoring and unified communications. Social media monitoring means keeping tabs on market insights, tracking customer conversations, their feedback and criticism. According to Shimmin, “Social listening is important for understanding deeper customer insights, and is considered helpful for effective engagement with them.”

Social Listening: It’s Now Or Never

Customers have a voice on social networks. You should be listening to them, without fail.

Brands should pay heed to their customers’ voices and be able to mediate and take suitable measures. Twitter and Facebook offer several options to measure customer feedback in real time. You can monitor customer support forums and analyze conversations about your brand, as well as of your competitors. The new insights can be helpful to improve your business and deliver good customer services.

The following five steps tell you about how to get real social insights.

Stop, Look & Listen

Don’t miss out on this! Listen to all conversations. Gaze carefully at what your customers are saying on major social networks and use them for your brand and product development. For example, give information to your customers when they are seeking to know more about a product.

Reach Out & Connect

Join up online conversations and connect with your customers. Share your thoughts to establish faith between your brand and customers.

Foster Customer Satisfaction

You should be able to respond to diverse customer reactions. Transform their experiences into reality by addressing their concerns. If possible, set up a social customer service program.

Drive Conversions

Use right content to raise sales prospects. Assess the impact of your campaigns by knowing the audience response. You should understand customers’ buying indications and reach out to them.

Create Helpful Content

Consider preparing helpful content for your audience. This should aim at helping them at various stages of buying, such as general instructions, guidance, product launch, repeat purchase, special offers, advocacy, testimonials, etc.

Simple Ways to Make Social Listening Better

You know how important social listening is to run two-way conversations to promote online presence of your brand. Consider the following ways to make social listening a better technique to capture mentions of your brand.

Identify Online Communities: It is not easy to monitor your accounts on different social channels and keep a track of all conversations. Therefore, locate communities — such as your competitors, industry, etc. — where people are talking about similar products and services. You should join them and interact with them by talking about their product needs.

Identify Online Volunteers: You can identify your online brand admirers who can help in your endeavor. They can share your brand information in the online communities on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.

Make Improvements: It is important that you not just do social listening, but also improve strategies for your product development. Your customers can say a lot of not-so-nice things about your brand. You got to listen up and make necessary changes. This helps to improve brand loyalty and boost ROI.

Tools for Social Listening

Google Alerts: It is the most inexpensive social listening tool to get real time insights into web, news, etc., based on your queries. It notifies you each time your brand name gets a mention.

HootSuite: More than a social relationship platform, HootSuite is a popular user-friendly social media listening tool, where you can monitor and measure multiple social media accounts to get real time analytics. It informs you about someone even mentioning your brand.

Salesforce: Earlier known as Radian6, Salesforce is a useful tool for marketing professionals in getting real time charts and helpful data to drive business results.

Social Mention: This is a fast real-time social media search and analysis tool to monitor latest online comments, blogs, videos, and other updates about your brand.

The Takeaway

The social networks are becoming a hub of customers’ continuous communication. Customers share their online viewpoints via comments, likes, reviews, blogs, videos, pictures, etc., and rate brands and their products. Listen to real-time customer conversations on social networks for business promotion and hone-in on sales opps.

What’s your experience with social listening? Please share your thoughts with us. Thank you!

Two mimes having a conversation

Alan Smith

Alan Smith is an avid tech blogger with vast experience in various IT domains, currently associated with SPINX Inc., a Los Angeles based Web Design & development company. You can follow Alan on Twitter.

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