You know there are three key parameters where you cannot go wrong, i.e.,
Hear what your customers say about your product or service.
Listen to what your customers think about your brand.
Implement changes to match your services with customer preferences.
That’s how you grow your business and maintain a group of loyal customers. But, if you turn a deaf ear and blind eye to what your customers want and expect out of your brand, your business can never survive for an extended period.
After all, the customer is king, and the customer is always right.
So, it would help if you listened to them. That’s customer service.
But, we are not talking about how to improve customer service here. No! Instead, we are telling you how to improve your customer service by listening to them.
And that is what social listening is all about.
Yes, it is a new term, and most of you might not be familiar with it. However, the term can give you some idea that it has something to do with social media.
Well! You are right there. To help you further understand the concept, we have defined –
What is Social Listening?
According to Wikipedia, social listening is “a way of computing popularity of a brand or company by extracting information from social media channels such as blogs, wikis, news sites, micro-blogs such as Twitter, social networking sites, video/photo sharing websites, forums, message boards and user-generated content from time to time.”
In simple words, social listening implies a process of tracking different social media channels for mentions or comments about your brand.
Next, you analyze those conversations related to your product/service and your brand.
Then you capture valuable insights and start implementing them into your brand strategies.
Now, do not confuse social listening with social media listening.
Yes, both these terms are similar in more ways than one.
But the main difference is that the former captures the mood and emotions behind the number of mentions.
On the other hand, the latter focuses only on the metrics, i.e., Social media listening captures the engagement rate and the number of mentions.
Both are equally important.
The metrics can say a lot about your brand’s performance in the market. In addition, people are talking about your products – that is a great insight to collect.
But understanding why people are mentioning your brand more often is equally essential.
For example, your brand can have multiple mentions across social media channels and groups. But, those mentions can be for all the wrong reasons. Customers are talking about your brand because they are unhappy with the service or the products.
Social listening captures those sentiments and emotions behind the mentions.
You must understand how often your brand has been mentioned or tagged across these channels. And it would help if you better understand why your brand was tagged in the first place.
The former gives you quantitative data.
The latter gives you qualitative information.
So, you cannot ignore the importance of both these tools if you wish for an excellent future for your business.
HubSpot says, “Social listening finds root causes behind social conversations and implements long-term strategy changes.”
Here are a few reasons why social listening is essential for your brand to survive –
#Reason 1: Brings New Business Opportunities
Social listening is crucial because it brings new business opportunities for you.
Yes, market research is essential to understand what is trending in the consumer market. But who fetches such valuable information for you?
Your customers, of course.
Customers decide which trend should go or which direction should become widespread.
They are the ultimate kings/rulers of the market and dictate the direction of the wind. Therefore, you cannot undermine their power if you wish to survive in the long run.
And, to decide where to get that information, you need to keep your ears and eyes wide open. Listen to your customers and observe them. If they are complaining about the same problem, that’s where your opportunity lies.
You have to understand a few things –
Why are they complaining,
What they are complaining about,
What they are expecting from you.
If you can get the answers, you will find your next opportunity.
For example, you are running a fitness center.
“So you track those social media channels where your potential customers live.
You read their conversations where your brand is tagged or mentioned and understand what they are trying to convey.
You hear a lot of customers –
You are complaining about slots filling up quickly.
Or, they are talking about why your fitness center should have aerobic/Zumba sessions.
Or, they are comparing your center with your competitors and saying, “the latter provides healthy diet charts for customers.”
These statements show what your business is lacking.
They show what the opportunities your business is probably missing out on are. And these conversations show why your competitors are better than you.
You find new opportunities in these statements –
You need to add more slots to accommodate more customers.
You must arrange for a good aerobics or Zumba trainer and organize specific slots.
You need to start providing healthy diet regimes for your customers, or
Get a nutritionist on board to guide your customers accordingly.
There you found new areas to explore and expand your business.
All of that was possible because you started listening to customer grievances and responded accordingly.
#Reason 2: Make Your Customers Fall in Love with Your Brand
Customers love and stay loyal to brands that listen to them and implement changes accordingly.
They won’t appreciate that you listened to them and forgot everything about it. Never do that cause if you end up infuriating customers, you can prepare to bring down the shutters.
Moreover, customers expect brands to respond to their comments and answer their questions. Or reply to their comments on social media.
Research suggests that 83% of customers like it when brands respond to their questions, whereas 68% appreciate that brands join in the conversation to address their concerns.
That’s not all. Nearly 48% of customers decide to purchase from a brand if the latter is responsive to customer inquiries and comments on social media.
You have the data to convince you why social listening is essential and how good social listening can bring business for you.
You need to craft proper responses that add real value to your customers, elicit their brand loyalty, and increase the possibility of retaining them for longer.
#Reason 3: Increase Customer Acquisition for Your Brand
Do you know why companies have social media handles?
Do you know why big brands make it a point to connect with their followers on social media?
This is because social media is where 80% of your market resides.
And, all those who follow your brand are not necessarily your loyal customers. They might have never purchased from you. Instead, they follow you because they like your content.
These random people chanced upon your social media profile, enjoyed your content, and started following your brand.
You cannot ignore them because they can become your future customers.
So it would help if you started social listening.
Listen or track what your followers (not your customers) are doing on social media. What they like, their preferences, and their expectations.
You can gather such information by observing their posts, shares, hashtags, and photos.
Based on the gathered data, you start churning creative content relevant to their taste and preferences. This is how you draw their attention and make them your loyal followers.
Your content should add value, gain their confidence, and eventually entice them to purchase your products.
So, no more bombarding prospects with distracting ads or approaching random people to build their interest in your products.
Turning your social media followers into potential leads is a much better and more effective way of acquiring new customers.
#Reason 4: Save Your Brand from Massive PR Disasters
Accidents happen – that is inevitable.
You live in your sweet bubble if you run a business and cannot expect a PR disaster to occur occasionally.
Scandals or PR disasters are like sudden thunderstorms.
They will arrive unannounced and catch you off-guard. These incidents can tarnish your brand and trigger increased publicity (all for the wrong reasons) for your business.
However, social listening can save your business from a major PR catastrophe.
You should pay close attention to what your customers say about your business on social media. That part is clear.
But, you should focus more on the mood or sentiment behind those mentions and tags.
That will help you to understand – are your customers happy with you? Or are there reasons that concern them?
If their comments are harmful to your brand or their mood is going down, why is it time to understand why your brand is receiving those negative vibes more? Their statements and comments will have your answers.
The sooner you find and address the root cause, the better it is for you.
That’s because one minor issue from your end can have a rippling effect on social media. Overnight you can expect that one tiny negative incident or post to become viral and tarnish your image in seconds.
So, you cannot leave your social media accounts alone for an hour.
Addressing such crises before they become viral is essential. That will help you to save the reputation and image of your brand.
So, social listening is essential for any business or brand. Though the term may sound new,
it has always been a part of social media marketing.
And social media strategy is not only about increasing the number of followers or mentions and tags. It is also about understanding the sentiments hidden behind those mentions and tags.
Both are crucial for your business. You cannot go wrong with either.
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