Listen Up! The Strategic Benefits of Social Media Listening for Your Brand

By on December 5, 2018

 Image Source: Pixabay

Never has the idea of listening been more lucrative than it is now.

Businesses turn to listening to discover qualities of their market—both the undiscovered and the existing. For some, the strategy is useful; for others, just complicated and disheartening. Whatever the perceived and actual benefits are, nobody can deny that now is a great time to start investing in and exploring the benefits of social media listening.

Writing in 2016, we mentioned that businesses primarily get into social media to expose themselves in a heavily wired community. Then and now, our stand on the matter really hasn’t changed. For social media to be beneficial, businesses have to strategize and gauge its potential. One way to do this is through listening.

You are never short of social media experts or tools to employ to harness the potential of social media marketing for your brand. And with everybody on digital, you can be certain to find a team that works best to tailor-fit strategies for you.

But aside from monitoring chatter, what other benefits does it actually provide businesses?

Here are five reasons that might just encourage you to “listen”. 

Connecting Brands and Customers

When customers engage within your digital assets, it could be because of one or both of these things: to praise you or to complain. As reality would have it, it’s usually for the latter.

Page moderators sometimes filter out comments when faced with intense negativity online, especially if they’re not equipped to respond to such comments. While this suspends the spread of negativity, hiding engagement can only do so much for you in the long haul. What you need is an effective way of seeing and finally addressing customers’ pain points.

Coupled with monitoring, social media listening pieces together customer sentiments. It organizes the positive and measures success by looking at customer feedback. But perhaps more importantly, listening emphasizes market frustrations that help craft appropriate responses to complaints. Irate but valid complaints are still useful in that they allow brands to look inward and reflect on latest innovations that may just not be working for the market.

Sometimes it would be a hard pill to swallow, especially people’s bluntness, but nobody ever really succeeds without a little fire.

Tracking Competition

There is a lot of ways to track industry behavior and social media listening also helps greatly in this area. Aside from that, listening provides you insight into the behavior of your competition. Brittany Berger of mention.com call this “going Sherlock” on your competitors, a type of sleuthing. While many would probably think looking inward is the better option than donning your best Nancy Drew impression, remember that to be on top of the game, you have to see what you’re up against.

We call this the “periphery study” and it is often used to understand strengths and weaknesses in your industry. Listening allows you to do cross-sectional analysis of strategies and get real-time intelligence on your competition’s movement. 

Diagnosing Brand Health

While it’s common knowledge that digital brand health is not the only determinant of success, it’s still a crucial aspect that dictates marketing efforts.

For some brands, volume speaks volume; that is to say, the more people talk about you, the better. Right?

Well, not exactly. While admittedly good for exposure, quality usually beats quantity in this case.

So how do you know exactly the effects to you of your audience’s chatter?

This is where tools usually come in. By sticking to labels generated by tools, brands can group or label sentiments to positive, negative, or neutral. Positive sentiments reflect what your audience loves about you (a feature, a product, your endorser, etc.); Negative sentiments carry pain points (disappointing product development, irritating features, and so on); while Neutral sentiments influence future developments (which could be impartial suggestions). Once the unnecessary “noise” has been lifted and the remaining chatter analysed, the complete “diagnosis” reveals itself. Just like any diagnosis, it helps you choose ways to “medicate” thereafter. 

Creating Content

Great content generates good, organic engagement, that’s probably why the adage “Content is King” still rings true to this day. However, it’s not enough that you’re on the digital plane—you have to know exactly what type of content makes you relevant to onlookers.

Since you’re creating content for your audience, it’s wise to get to know them. Analysis of customer sentiments, when done right, shortens the gap between your service and the needs of your audience. Other studies even suggest that it leads to better lead generation.

Since you have to connect to a thinking, feeling audience, publishing content based on market triggers is a great idea. For example: Nescafe Dolce Gusto, when they entered the Malaysian Market, peeked into what makes their local coffee lovers tick. Having worked with a renowned digital marketing agency, Nescafe successfully created a relevant, timely content calendar that quadrupled online engagement in just a matter of three (3) months.

Whether introducing a new way of thinking or boosting products and services, the content must ultimately reflect the audience’s aspirations back to them.

Developing Products and Strategizing

Customer preferences reflected by digital noise almost always influence how brands strategize and create their products, and for the right reasons. Businesses can also use listening to develop products and add features to their services, which could be something their audience directly or indirectly proposed.

As a benchmark, we turn to Dell. Dell fosters a “co-creation environment” with their customers in Idea Storm, a platform developed to get and incorporate customer ideas into their products. It works like a “suggestion box” that collects and picks out notable ideas from the pool. Years after its inception, Idea Storm is still lucrative and has used about 550 customer ideas to date, backed by support and good reception from users.

Conclusion

Convenient, cost-effective, and unhindered by limitations that plague traditional research, social media listening cranks up the benefits of market intelligence to businesses in a timely manner. Good or bad, market chatter helps you chart actions to attract or retain customers. So, utilise this marketing technique, call up an expert, and see how it can be beneficial for you, too.

About Jackie Yeo

Jackie is the founder of Amber Creative and co-founder of Lady Boss Asia. She is a digital marketing specialist with a passion for women entrepreneurship.
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