10 Non-obvious advantages of social listening every business should discover

social listening

By Magdalena Urbaniak, {grow} Community Member

Have you heard that social listening is a must-have for some businesses?

While social listening is a must-have for any business at this point, the truth is, it still remains a complete mystery for many, or at least an under-utilized asset.

The popularity of social listening has been growing for a simple reason. A well-developed social listening strategy can give your company both a financial and branding boost.

In simple terms, social listening is social media and web monitoring combined with analytics that can produce business insights. Monitoring tools also allow you to assemble and analyze all your mentions in one well-organized space so you can react to your clients’ specific questions, requests, or complaints in a timely manner.

Today I want to explore the obvious and non-obvious advantages of social listening.

1. Product development 

Your brand works hard to present its values in a consistent and clear manner, and that’s not an easy task. For starters, you have to determine your main message, which is a combination of two aspects: what your brand has to say and what your audience wants to hear. Listen to your clients’ wants and needs, so you’ll know which pieces of information are the most important to them and where and how you should deliver the message.

Example: Salad story. Food store that offers healthy food. This company was really focused on listening to their audience and they changed their seasonal menu based on social media discussions,   People loved the fact their opinion was really taken into consideration and didn’t hesitate to express it in positive mentions online.

2. Manage investor relations

You’re not the only one listening to what people are saying about you. According to research, investors verify the credibility of their potential partners online before they decide whether they will cooperate with them. It’s up to you to manage these opinions and comments about you, so your potential partners find just the (ok, let’s look at it realistically – mainly) positive mentions from your customers about your company.

Example: Nextbike. The company that rent sbikes for the public use is looking for new partners. They use social media listening to catch every mention about new auctions and offers from all over Europe.

3. Create customer delight

Do you know what’s so great about tracking and reacting to your audience’s questions? Your audience expects a response. Yet, on the other hand, they are always surprised when they get one!

The element of surprise is a huge advantage if you want to earn some extra points. But social listening has much wider applications. People share an entire spectrum of emotions online, from euphoria to despair, and these feelings are caused by their experiences with products or services. Listen and take care of your audience at all times, not only when you’re looking for sales opportunities. Going the extra mile is always a good idea.

Example: Solgaz, a Polish company that produces gas and induction products. They have a really engaged community so they decided to create a game together. Users posted content including name ‘Solgaz’. The company had 24 hours to find this mention and react. When they managed to do so, people were surprised and satisfied. When some mention remained undiscovered, Solgaz sent them a postcard or a chocolate.

4. Find leads

Brand24 conducted a study and monitored the phrases “can anyone recommend” and “where I can buy” for nine months. There were more than 400,000 mentions from potential clients interested in one given product. These people didn’t need a billboard, an ad in the The New York Times, or any other form of convincing – they asked directly about what they wanted to purchase. And yet, 60% of companies ignore these opportunities!

Monitor phrases related to your product, as well as ones such as, “who can recommend a hotel in San Diego,” if you have accommodations based there, or “where can I get delicious pizza in Manhattan,” if Manhattan is where you’re located.  No matter your company’s size or reach, your clients are talking to you. It’s up to you to listen to them.

5. Anticipate demand

Did you know that CISCO achieved a 281% ROI after implementing social listening in a some of their departments? The company monitored how people reacted to specific keywords, products, and events, and based on the collected data, they were able to determine what would be in high demand in the coming months. CISCO saved tons of money on expensive market research. What’s more, their prognosis was extremely accurate.

6. Discover trends

The beauty of social listening is that you can check public opinions on current trends, and therefore, be able to determine what’s going to be the next hot topic.

Social listening tools often offer a functionality called a tag cloud. You can check it to see what words are used together with your monitored phrase. I love tractors. So I might monitor the phrase, “the most reliable agricultural machinery.” Tags and general discussions concerning this phrase show me which brands are the most popular, and which ones are no longer attractive to customers and why. For a person writing a blog about agricultural machinery, these pieces of information are priceless. I’m sure you’ll find just as many relevant tags for your business.

7. Verify the effects of a marketing campaign

Tracking and measuring the effects of your marketing and PR activities can be challenging. One proven way to verify whether your marketing efforts are on the right track is through social listening, and by monitoring the number of posts, hashtags, comments, and publications your campaign receives, as well as its social reach. 

8. Identify influencers and opinion leaders

Brand ambassadors are a real treasure. And the best thing about them? Almost anyone can become one! Not only celebrities or VIPs, but also micro-influencers. They are worth every penny – influencer marketing is one of the most actively expanding areas in marketing.

Sometimes, you might not even be aware that you already have influencers working for you. This is where social listening comes in handy. The tool will help you identify and engage micro-influencers. Start by thanking them and, who knows, maybe they’ll join one of your campaigns? And remember, even if you don’t have brand ambassadors, following opinion leaders (people who specialize in a given field and have adequate reach) can be beneficial.

9. Collect information on competitors

You already know how important it is to monitor mentions about your brand and products. Maybe you’ve already set up your first media monitoring project. Don’t forget to set up a separate one to monitor your competitors too. Check what their clients like and dislike about them. Who knows, maybe you can implement some of their solutions? Or maybe there are some features that your competitors are missing, and you could provide them with your product or service? Imagine how happy you’d make your customers!

10. Avoid PR & communication melt-downs

I can’t stress enough the importance of this social listening application. Be the first response unit and prevent any further damage.

Reacting to negative mentions is one thing, but preventing them from happening is something completely different! Instead of reacting to someone’s disappointment or anger, solve their problem. Explain, exchange the product, improve your service, compensate, or just express your regret. Many haters that have been addressed early enough have even gone on to become brand ambassadors. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful scenario? And all you have to do is listen!

Social listening is a solution for bloggers, the self-employed, and for SMEs and corporations. Since communication has migrated to the Internet, attentive listening can benefit you enormously. It’s amazing that we finally know how to do it.

Magdalena UrbaniakMagdalena Urbaniak is Brand Manager at Brand24. She loves to build brands and improve its communication. Speaker, author of tractormania.pl  and magdaurbaniak.com blog. Host of BrandTalks podcast. Co-founder of Marketing Inspire project. Quora 2018 Top Writer.

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