Think just because you’re not online that no one’s Tweeting or Facebooking things about your company, your industry or other areas of influence? They are — and they’re doing it on far more channels than you think. The only way to effectively canvas the majority of these channels is through “listening” online, which typically is available via a social media monitoring service.
The key thing to remember about listening in your social media strategy is that it doesn’t require you to have any online presence at all. In fact, armed with the information from a robust listening platform, a perfectly valid approach may be to use this data to better shape your products and services or to engage with individual customers or audiences, all in an offline environment. Here are the top five reasons it pays to listen online.
1. Gauging sentiment on social media
Did one of your products or services tank with consumers and you don’t even know it? Listening gives you unobstructed access to the full gamut of reviews and comments consumers are posting online about your brand. This type of information is crucial even if you have no dedicated online presence to speak of because it lets you adjust your products or services based on customer feedback.
Traditionally, you had to reach out to customers to solicit feedback. Social media has transformed this approach and, with the right tools and process, you have a mass of intelligence at your fingertips about not only your products, but your competitors’ as well. Listening on social media also lets you look beyond just your product and service sentiment to what people think of what you’re doing in the community in which you operate. Through real-time escalation, you should also be getting feeds of any high-risk posts as they occur, including the reach and potential impact of such posts.
2. Identifying opportunities for engagement
Even without a solid social media presence, listening can identify additional opportunities that you can then pursue offline. These can range from sales queries to responding to customer feedback or requests for support, to reaching out to industry spokespeople offline to arm key influencers with accurate information and the message you want to deliver. Anadvanced social media monitoring service will even tell you the number of opportunities for engagement in monthly reports. Armed with this information, you can then decide if you want to engage online or off.
3. Conducting market research
Listening on social media lets you discover what consumers are saying about industry trends, new products and competitors and gives your organisation early insight into topics that matter most to customers and prospects and the communities in which you operate. You increase your sample size for research on social media, and can use listening as a hub for intelligence that unveils unmet needs in the market, product issues and customer suggestions. This information can guide your own product and service strategy and development.
4. Tracking the competition
Not only can social media listening give you a peek into what’s being said about your competitors, which might allow you to fill gaps in their service through your own offering — it also lets you see what percentage of the industry volume you share amongst the competition. What this means is that you can detect if a major competitor is being mentioned more often online than your brand. If they are, you can then craft a plan to increase your share of the conversation so you stay front of mind when customers or prospects are looking into products or services in your industry.
5. Correcting misinformation
If you don’t know what people are saying about your brand online, you run the risk of having false information written about you without a chance to respond or correct it. Finding where these comments exist takes more than a Google search of your organisation’s name. There are hoards of forums, blogs and less mainstream social media channels on which people might be discussing you. Our experience shows us that over half of conversations about a brand that occur online happen in social media channels over which the organisation has no direct control.
Organisations looking to get into social media listening don’t have to target all five of these areas at first. Focus on what makes sense for your organisation and use the listening approach to establish a baseline. Perhaps, for instance, you just want to know what the hot topics are in your industry. Take small steps and retool your approach as you gather more insight to maximise the benefits of listening on social media.
3 Steps to Take Before Leaping into Listening
1. Identify what you want to gain from listening on social media
Do you want to learn what customers are saying, monitor the market or stay on top of competition?
2. Choose where and what to monitor
Listening typically involves tracking a set of keywords across social media sites. Think carefully about not only which of these social media channels to monitor, but also which keyphrases to include. You may even want to do some preliminary SEO research to determine the phrases most being searched by your customers or prospects.
3. Determine what you will do with the data you get from listening
Will you keep a running inventory of the feedback you glean from social media? How will you apply it to your business?
Interested in learning more about how to get started with social media listening? Get in touch with us by filling out the contact form on our social media monitoring page.
Stacey Tomasoni has worked with Datacom for four years in a number of critical executive roles across the business. Her current role as General Manager, Australia has seen her lead large-scale operations across multiple sites, driving a number of positive business outcomes for both Datacom and its clients.
Stacey specialises in a number of areas, including rapid deployment of resources to respond to unexpected events, adoption of multi-channel resources, with a focus on self-help and call elimination, and using social media to listen, react and engage.