Social media has made sweeping changes to the way we communicate, work and lead our lives. And it’s not as if only the millennial generation is engaging online. Everyone is sharing opinions and experiences in the world of virtual friends. This presents an opportunity for businesses to make use of social channels for creating strong customer relationships. Here is how they can do the same.
Why care for Social Media Listening?
Immediate and easy access to social avenues allows anyone to share a review or opinion about an experience or product. Thanks to the internet, news of a good product can spread like a wildfire and same goes for a negative review. Thus, businesses have little choice but to constantly monitor the flow of online sentiments and opinions. As social technologies mature, organizations are more convinced of their role in overcoming the limits of old-school intelligence gathering.
However, the truth is, social listening remains an underutilized area. While businesses can definitely use social media for interaction and customer-to-brand dialogue, the biggest opportunity is offered by the part before that-listening. How?
- Listening with goal-driven intelligence can help organizations improve sales, lead generations, hiring and other functional areas.
- Correctional measures can be taken to improve the culture at organization as you observe what the customers or clients are saying about you, your company and competitors on social media. This sounds like an excellent opportunity for HR who can use intelligent listening to gauge public perception of the company treats its employees and take measures accordingly to tap new talent.
- Organization can use social listening to have clear insight into the market dynamics and its preparedness for a particular product or service. For instance, a software developer who is considering a new app can listen to user comments and reviews across different networks to seek out what users of similar products seeking in a new application.
Social listening leads to real time marketing
Essentially, social listening is a step towards real-time marketing. Instead of relying on outdated data to run old-style marketing campaigns, marketers can use social listening to tune in to what customers are saying and respond in real time with messages that better reflect their current interests and sentiments.
This doesn’t mean that social will entirely displace the existing methods of intelligence gathering. However, it should definitely serve as a strong complement.
Driving better business decisions with social listening
So, does it really make sense for brands to social media data? How does it result in better decision making? Here is a case study to prove the point.
Case Study 1
Dell has its own social media listening and command center. The center enables global listening across 11 languages and is accountable for the timely & accurate resolution for high importance issues. The DellCare team engages with 1000+ customers per week and the whole initiative has a positive impact on customer satisfaction, converting 35% of demoters to promoters.
Dell uses Chatter, a social media hybrid of Twitter, Facebook, Sina, Orkut, and Ren-Ren to foster relationships and collaborate around documents and information like sales opportunities amongst its 90,000 employees.
Case Study 2
Toyota, the leading global carmaker uses social media monitoring and sentiment analysis to learn what customers think of its vehicles, identify the issues they are having with them and enhance the precision of sales predictions. In a CIO.com article, Zack Hicks admitted to extensive usage of social media listening techniques to identify customers who were choosing between Toyota and other brands. Now the car manufacturer boasts of a powerful sentiment-analysis system that amongst other tasks allows informed decisions about spending incentive dollars.
Social media intelligence gathering for recruitment
As a hiring manager one can use social media in different ways to collect intelligence on a candidate. Just like big brands are investing in social media listening, some with entire command centers dedicated for it, hiring managers can also harness the power of social media listening through various tools to get insights into workplace related conversations. There are plenty of tools that can help recruiters gather social-intel for better decision making.
A number of organizations are employing innovative methods to use social chatter for recruiting purpose. One example is of Air National Guard division of the U.S. military. As per InsuranceNewsNet, the National Guard has found success with its social media monitoring initiatives, strengthening the recruiting efforts. Mike Schaffer, the person-in-charge of the Guard’s social media efforts says, “When anyone asked on Twitter about joining the military, for example, we made sure the National Guard was the first branch to respond.”
Doing the listening in the right way
Whether it’s for increasing sales leads, improving branding and reputation management or to get feedback on products or services, social listening is an indispensable activity for every business. Here are some points to keep in mind while engaging in social listening:
Know what to do with the data
Intelligence gathering without the ability to act is no use. Whatever information you are able to glean shouldn’t remain trapped inside your organization or the marketing department. Not only you should have the ability to parse out what the data means, but also how that information can be used to make decisions within a company.
Be prepared to respond and engage
Have your social media team ready so that you can respond and react as needed. Everything on social media happens in real-time and you can’t afford to figure things out as you go along.
Invest in the best social listening technology
Whether you plan to use a free tool or invest in a full-blown command center, make sure the technology being used has got all your priorities right. The best outcome can only be achieved with the right set of tools and technologies for your brand.
Businesses are turning social in order to enjoy greater connectivity with employees, customers and stakeholders. No one, even for an instance, doubts the power of social listening. However, what makes the difference is the proper utilization of available social listening tools and programs, so as to better search, engage and communicate with the customers. Some of the tools on our list of social media management tools for agencies are great for social listening. Check them out and pick the best match for your company!
See also: 30 Best Social Media Management Tools