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What is Social Media Listening?

Posted by Cricket Capucci on December 23, 2013

What are your consumers or clients saying about your brand? And when they speak are you listening? Obtaining consumer or client feedback is an essential part of running any successful business. Delivering the right products and services is also vitally important but establishing a systematic infrastructure of monitoring your client’s voice is essential when trying to establish customer/client loyalty. The social media boom has made the process of quantifying your brands presence in its marketplace a lot easier. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have allowed for an instant pipeline of communication that never shuts down.

What is Social Media Listening?

Social media listening is a new age media tool used to identify and analyze what is being said about your brand on the Internet. Before the Internet and social media became viable resources of constant connectivity, companies had a limited number of ways in which to measure feedback about their products or services. It took an immense amount of research and resources to tabulate accurate brand feedback metrics. It could take months to accurately report findings and start implementing the solutions. Today, social media makes it possible for anyone to publicize their opinion on a 24/7 communication platform. The current social media feedback landscape can help build strong consumer/client relationships and sustainable brand loyalty.

How This Benefits Your Brand

According to Moz.com there are 6 core principles of how to accurately use social media listening to help with brand development.

Customer Interaction

  • Constant engagement with clients/customers via social media platforms by partaking in relevant conversations that help build brand influence and trust.

Customer Feedback

  • Simply listening to what is being said about your brand, and how you can better serve your consumer base.

Intelligence Gathering

  • Researching and compiling feedback data.

Context Collection

  • Categorizing the data, analyzing the contents, and developing the best course of action.

Demonstrate Appreciation

  • Implementation of solutions and acknowledgement of consumer feedback and suggestions.

Customer Standardization

  • Building a sustainable consumer/client benchmarking system for your brand.

The conversations that take place on the Internet regarding your brand can produce endless amounts of fragmented data, so you have to be proactive in harnessing the data fragmentation to benefit your company. The best course of action is to identify a specific target of what to listen for, analyze this data, and be proactive in implementing a solution. When your clients have an issue with a new policy implementation or dislike a product, they now have a medium on which to vent their frustrations. Long gone are the days of simply calling the customer service complaint line or writing a letter to the corporate office. Your consumers can now express how they feel openly on a number of social media platforms. The instant gratification era is in full tilt, and social media is critical component of this digital communication infrastructure. A positive comment on a Facebook business page or a consumer generated hashtag campaign on Twitter can serve as the genesis for building favorable brand value. But negative comments can cause a total PR nightmare.

Social Media Listening: Who is doing it right?

Cisco has a state-of-the-art Social Media Listening center housed at their Executive Briefing Center in San Jose, California. This video gives insight on why they think social media listening is vital for both B2B and B2C enterprises. The video also highlights how they use the social media center interface and how they quantify the consumer data to increase business relations.

Dell’s Social Media Command Center is built on the Radian6 platform. The implementation of this intuitive interface showcases Dell’s desire to cater to the end user. Listen, Engage, and Act!

Building a Rapport

Information shared over the Internet moves swiftly making it increasingly difficult to stay on top of everything being said about your company. Actively participating in conversations with your consumers on social media shows that you value their opinion. Being in constant contact with the people using your product or service fosters amiability towards your brand. Even if the conversations are negative and accusatory, your willingness to address these issues directly implies that your company is LISTENING. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the negative kickback by being constantly aware and addressing the issues at hand before social media runs wild with it. Most importantly you need to establish that level of trust between the consumer and your brand.

It’s amazing what a simple thank you can mean to a loyal client/consumer. When the feedback is positive it warrants constant genuine acknowledgement. When you persistently extend your appreciation towards consumer and client it can inspire them to share their experiences within their own networks. This eventually builds a lasting eco-system of brand advocacy.

The Marketplace

Social media listening is a great way to gauge how well you are doing within your desired market. You can actively monitor your competitor’s digital marketing efforts and take a glance at what their consumers are talking about. The data retrieved from this analysis can be useful in helping your company improve its own digital marketing efforts. It allows for effective comparative analysis to locate weak spots you could improve upon. Social media listening is not a tool in which you completely mimic the campaign efforts of your competitors, but rather analyze and effectively tailor your findings to better serve your consumer base.

Tools of the Trade

There are a multitude of management tools available to aid your social media listening efforts. The purpose of using social media management software is to engage, measure, and monitor all of your company’s social media channels. The majority of them are similar in regards to functionality, but depending on your specific needs the field of choices does begin to narrow a bit. Platforms like Hootsuite, Sendible, and Vocus allow users to reach target audiences on multiple platforms. They all have integrated tracking and analytics, and most of them employ some type of lead generation algorithm to help build brand awareness. Other programs like Swayy, Social Flow, and Tagboard are great tools, but provide niche functionality. The tools you choose to use will be entirely based on the scope of your campaign efforts. Social media management tools are used to enhance, and make the process of contacting your target audience more efficiently.

Whether it’s benchmarking performance of a product or service or monitoring your brand’s reputation in the marketplace, getting feedback on your on-location filming and the list goes on; staying in touch with your audience is a vital component for success. Building brand equity, loyalty, and revenue are all tied directly to how well you are communicating your corporate agenda to your consumer base. Social media isn’t going anywhere, so maintaining your presence both online and offline hold the same value. Being an effective listener on social media can only help your brands success, ignoring this practice is simply not an option.

What are some of the practices your brand employs to effectively communicate on social media? How are you using social media listening to build brand advocacy? We would love to hear from you. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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