When it comes to social media, there’s more to branding than just posting status updates and responding to mentions and comments. Brands should also engage in social media monitoring and social media listening. In fact, doing one provides data for the other. They may sound the same, but social media monitoring merely compiles data, while social media listening involves making sense of it and taking action. It also broadens the scope of how much is monitored by including mentions of a particular niche rather than just of the brand.
For instance, a Twitter user might complain about how uncomfortable her sports bra is at the gym. A smart fashion company specializing in athletic wear would contact her and suggest one of their products. She didn’t mention them at all, but she had a problem and they provided the solution, possibly scoring a new customer. So now that you understand what it is, and what it’s worth, here are four benefits of social media listening.
Think about it. Before the hypothetical Twitter user complained about her bra, she was unaware the hypothetical athletic apparel brand existed. However, their response to her tweet introduces them as an option, and a viable solution to her problems.
She may not replace her sports bras then and there, but the next time she buys a new set, or a friend makes the same complaint, she might remember and suggest it. The next time she sees the brand in a store or online, she’ll recognize it. And through increased familiarity, they begin to climb higher and higher up her list of possible purchases.
In another instance, a hungry tourist could be traveling in Middle of Nowhere, Pennsylvania, with no idea where to get good coffee and bagels at 6Am, and he airs his complaint online. A local coffee shop could respond with, “We serve great coffee at 3245 Somewhere, Middle of Nowhere, PA, at the crack of dawn! Come see us. Your first bagel’s on us ;-)”
That could directly lead to new sales, especially if he brings the family. And if they decide to stay in Middle of Nowhere, PA, well the little coffee shop has won itself some good repeat business. Instances like these are not uncommon. In fact, brands like Jimmy Johns and Samsung engage in this kind of social media marketing all the time. Why? Because it works!
Find the Hangout Spot for your Customers
Another great benefit of social media listening is that it helps brands to know where to find their customers. Not every brand and/or its social media strategy translate well across different platforms. For instance, Instagram would work far better for a fashion brand than a company that fixes computers.
When a brand finds out where its customers hang out it can then capitalize on this information in two ways. Firstly, it knows where it would get the most return on investment if it put money into paid promotion. And secondly, it knows what social media accounts to focus on less, or maybe close altogether.
Get Feedback and Reviews
Feedback and reviews are great for two primary reasons. The first is that they help a business to improve in a number of ways. The second is that reviews and feedback are free mentions, and free publicity, which is great if they are positive. If they are not positive, then businesses can still use the feedback to improve products, services, and processes. This not only helps to improve the quality of their offerings, but also builds great relationships with customers by showing a dedication to meeting their needs.
It may seem like enough to create unique content, toss it out into the world, and reply to the mentions it brings in. However, through social media listening, brands can pick up on trends in their target market and respond accordingly to bring in new customers and build lasting relationships.
Insightful piece Ronn. I agree, social media listening is essential and a vital tool for improving customer care and sales.