Social Listening

Social Listening – a killer strategy for online marketers

Also referred to as social medial listening and social media monitoring, social listening defines the process of identifying and assessing people’s opinions about your (and your competitor’s) products, brand or company.

By adding opinions to the interpretation of performance indicators and website metrics like direct traffic, page views, time on site, lead conversion rate, etc., you can find out not only how your customers and prospects perceive your company but also what you should do to become more successful.

Why Should You Listen?

Although social listening has its limitations, typically resulting from its inability to indicate all the problems customers face, many marketers have achieved impressive results by complementing their online marketing strategies with social media listening.

As an example, social listening can help you:

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  • Get Unique Content Marketing Ideas – In another corner of the Internet, customers may talk about topics related to your industry niche right this minute. By simply browsing forums, reading blog comments and joining discussion groups on social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, you can come up with new, unique ideas and create content that answers your target audience’s questions.

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  • Find Solutions to Problems – The primary goal of any company is to deliver a superior customer experience. But even the best companies may face unexpected problems occasionally. When Apple launched iPhone 4, for instance, no one could have imagined that left-handed users would have issues with some features on iOS. As Apple has always been a customer-focused company with a solid social listening strategy in place, its staff figured out what the problem was and started to create more left-handed friendly iOS devices.

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  • Co-Create New Products – Another area where social listening has proved to be extremely effective is co-creation of products. One of the companies that have turned co-creation into a prevalent approach to innovation is Nivea. Recognising its customers as a valuable source of information and innovation, Nivea created the Invisible Black & White deodorant based on people’s wishes, needs, demands and concerns expressed on social media websites.

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  • See Who’s Unhappy With Your Competitors and Why –  Listening in on what other companies and their customers are posting on Twitter and other social networks can give you real-time intelligence and give insights into what content is performing best for them and other companies with complimentary services.

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More on the Benefits of Social Listening

With a little bit of know-how and creativity, you can go beyond using social listening to get unique content marketing ideas, find solutions to problems and co-create new products. By quantifying the comments about your company and your competitors, and determining what really matters to your organisation, you will be able to:

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  • Generate Leads and Revenue – Monitoring certain keywords and paying attention to what people are saying about your brand, competitors and pain points can help you generate leads and drive sales. For instance, you can introduce your competitors’ names along with words like “can’t” or “won’t” in Google search box to find relevant topics across social groups and forums. Track these topics and, when the time is right, post information about your products and services, and explain the benefits your customers get. Also, “listening” to branded conversation will allow you to discover not only the needs and demands of your potential customers but also what you need to do to move people down the sales funnel.

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  • Get Feedback and Attract More Customers – A very interesting and often overlooked aspect is that you can use both positive and negative feedback to your advantage. While positive comments allow you build an enviable reputation, a negative online review, for example, can help you identify and fix potential problems early in a product’s life cycle. Also, by responding to complaints in a timely manner, you demonstrate that you are responsive and genuinely interested in providing a positive experience for all of your customers. Not only will this help you prevent disputes from escalating into conflicts but it will also improve your online reputation, with a positive impact on customer acquisition and retention.

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  • Identify Your Brand Ambassadors – Brand ambassadors are very important mainly because they can help you grow your online presence, find new customers and increase sales. Whether you launch a new product, issue a press release, or publish a new article, monitor who is sharing the link. Then, reach out to those who share your links regularly and do your best to build a strong relationship with them. You can do that by expressing your appreciation, answering their questions, addressing their concerns and rewarding them with special offers.

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We can no longer deny that social media has created a paradigm shift in the business world, which forces more and more companies to recognise that customers are actually in control of brands. In this context, a business owner who wants to make better business decisions should listen to his customers from all the angles, in a progressive way.

When paired with other efficient online marketing strategies, social listening can provide remarkable benefits, ultimately helping you to boost the recognition of your brand in the virtual space.