Updated: Dec 19, 2019
Don’t you also see some success posts on social media from CEOs of big brands? And there are comments under their posts blaming the CEO and the brand itself for a single mistake made by an employee of their customer service. I wanted to write about social listening before 2020 comes because it has a huge role in affecting brand reputation. And your brand reputation is your everything.
90% of social media users try to reach out to brands or retailers on social media.
Whether you're a small or a medium-sized business owner, social media manager, customer experience specialist, pr or communications responsible, regardless of consumer goods, food, retail or health industry, this article applies to you.
In this post, we will define social listening, show a few examples of how it's used in business today, how can "not listening" go wrong and provide 3 best social listening tools for getting started with social listening in your company.
What is social listening?
Social listening is the process of tracking the social media channels, blogs, question and answer sites or complaint sites for any consumer input and direct links to your product or comments on common keywords, subjects, rivals or sectors, followed by an evaluation to gain insights and take action on those opportunities.
Why your business should use social listening?
Businesses should use social listening as a key objective to develop services, attract customers and strengthen customer relationships. Listening to online conversations about your company will help you understand how consumers are thinking about your brand, thus, real discussions about your goods can be revealed in real-time, which can help you generate the type of content you produce to satisfy your customers.
It's good to know what your customer needs in a way, but embarrassing for such a small, a predictable and an avoidable mistake. And when many customers start complaining about the same problem, it's a great sign that that's something to take any action with.
After evaluating the recent incident, you can do some analysis and see if the increase in negative comments has resulted in a drop in followers, sales, or whatever measure you choose to test. The last thing you want is to develop a reputation for bad service, scandals, and other issues can cause negative mentions.
In 2020, brands should take social listening seriously. It can go out of control like in the Instagram example.
You can invest in social listening to identify what customers like or don’t. Then, it’s up to you to respond by adding value. By doing that, you stand out from tracking vanities such as likes, shares, followers, downloads or page views. You can work with your marketing team to address customer complaints and make the most of your brand’s strengths before your competitors.
It’s not only about complaints or negativities. The lesson here to take is to listen more and take action.
Take a look at Quora. Someone asks a question like “What sort of shoes would I need for a camping trip?”. So you, as a shoe company, could track the keyword “shoe” with a social listening tool and could offer guidance and the options you might have on your website.
And of course, you should answer anyway (it’s never too late), but it is crucial to be not too late. Customers like real-time feedback. They want to see that you’re concerned. They want you to answer. It's more than that, however. It's about using social listening to elaborate responses that give real value. These are the kinds of responses that will result in loyalty to the brand and increase retention rates for customers.
So, without a planned tracking on a continuous manner, answering a request, a question or a complaint written 3 months ago, won’t help. Sometimes, it might even make it worse.
And there the need for a social listening tool comes. Well, if you’re a small business and don’t want to put so much money in it for the beginning, there is no excuse. You may consider setting up Google Alerts to receive notifications when your company’s mentioned online. I have to say, this tool delivers notifications a day later though. So, it is up to you.
Apart from all the facts and results, it all begins through your customer journey. Usually, a customer experiences something that could irritate him about the brand. It may even occur before their purchase and could keep them from buying your product or service at all.
Let’s think you gave your prospects a voucher for a considerable amount of a discount, for good. They came to your website, found their desired product they’ve been looking for and added it to their chart. Everything’s good so far! Right? Then you’re asking them to fill a form that is almost asking their grandfather’s best friend’s birthday to register an account (!). Okay… If your product is irreplaceable or your discount is irresistible, they will continue to the payment section. There it comes, “enter your coupon code”. They enter the code and ups… The code doesn’t work. Hmm… Let’s try again. Oh no! They have to fill that nightmare form again!? They’ll most probably give up at this point. If you have a chatbot or a well-educated customer service line to offer there, you are lucky.
They call your customer service and the agent tells them that they will help. It’s the worst if the agent can’t understand the problem totally and gives false information. Because then they keep waiting for that “aid e-mail” to arrive. And when it doesn’t, they go on social media and start posting their problems tagging your product manager, CEO, sometimes even your HR until they get your attention.
So considering this example, make sure;
1. You have a responding and a mobile-friendly website
2. Your website is accurate and up-to-date
3. You train your customer service well
4. Every inch of your team is solution-focused
5. You have a proactive approach
6. Your social media platforms are active