What is Social Media Listening, and why Does it Matter?
Do you know your customers? Are you clear about what they want? And about what they expect? According to recent research by software firm Acquia, it appears that some businesses may not know their customers quite as well as they think they do.
The ‘Closing the CX Gap: Customer Experience Trends Report 2019’ found that more than 60% of customers believe that the brands they choose to partner with do not know them, even though they should. And perhaps even more worrying is that 87% of brands actually think they’re doing a good job meeting customer expectations. There is a clear disconnect between what customers want and what brands think they want, and that’s because brands are talking, but not listening. Listening is key to closing the gap.
What is social media listening?
Social media listening is just that; it is actively tuning in to what customers are saying about your products, your services, your reputation, your staff, or your brand as a whole. And more importantly, it’s about analysing these conversations to deliver true insight into brand perception, and understanding how these snippets of information can be acted upon to create a smoother, more satisfactory customer journey and experience.
Social media listening essentially means that you are monitoring social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for mentions of your brand name, your products, key stakeholders or even rivals. Gathering (and interpreting) this data means you can get an accurate, real-time picture of how your brand is being perceived and what customers think about your campaigns, products or services (and those of your rivals). It’s also a chance to be aware of the less than favourable comments; those gripes and complaints that could spiral into a crisis or point to an upcoming crisis if not nipped in the bud.
Social media listening fulfils an important piece of the marketing puzzle by giving you the insight you need to target the channels, audiences and subjects that are most valuable to your target demographics. Conducting social media listening effectively calls for audience analysis, identification of the most relevant social platforms and online networks where your customer’s voice can really be heard.
Given its importance, and the time and expertise required to actively and consistently listen and draw context to not only hear conversations but actually break these conversations down into their core meaning, social media listening is often best left to the experts. A specialist in the field will be skilled at analysing your competitors’ strategies, identifying conversation drivers and locating key opinion leaders, all with the ultimate aim of providing businesses with the insight and data needed to bridge the gap; to resolve the disconnect between what today’s customers expect, and what brands think they should be doing.
Whether you’re in finance or food, retail or real estate there are lots of other benefits too:
• Identify influencers and brand advocates based on number of mentions and sentiment
Many brands know that it is important to listen to their audience, but simply monitoring social channels for mentions is not enough. Research shows that 85% of social conversations come from just 29% of a brand’s total audience, highlighting just how many potentially valuable thoughts and opinions are being overlooked. There is a massively underrepresented audience pool out there, and social listening services are the most effective and efficient way to tap into these highly beneficial points of view.