By Phylicia Teymer
Some call it noise – a chaotic stream of people sharing their public opinions on a variety of social media channels. Others see a vast opportunity. It’s all about navigation – your social GPS system to finding your way through the oceans of social sentiment to arrive at your destination. Similar to you “googling something” or typing in a desired destination on Google Maps – the key is knowing what you want to ask, know, or where you want to go. Essentially, putting a lens on the data.
Organizations who recognize and seize this opportunity – have a strategic advantage over their competitors. As a social media strategist, a common question I receive is “What do you do?”. Aside from various responsibilities ranging from developing and executing social strategies to successfully create interest, engagement, and future customers – or creating social media support response routes – or helping empower both sellers and business partners to cultivate business via social media – one of the other important ways I assist is as a social listening advisor. I help our team navigate and make sense of social media data to determine our next course of brand action.
Whether you’re a large or small company, it’s important to understand in what ways public social media can help empower your organization and keep you ahead of the curve. Below are 5 key ways social media listening can help you –
Customer Pulse – Without customers, any organization would fail. Social media listening can help you get the pulse of your customers. Are they happy or upset with what’s available in your latest product launch? In what ways are your customers experiencing issues? Are there more or less people talking about your company or specific product? What are your customers and target audience talking about in general? What’s your brand perception? This is your chance to put your social headphones on to listen to what they have to say – then take action.
Competitive Insights – If you’ve ever wanted to know what one company has over another, according to their customers and others, then public social media data is your treasure trove of information. What benefits do your competitors offer that your target audience really likes? What’s trending around your competitors? What events and or marketing tactics are your competitors incorporating that are garnering engagement? This is out there in the ocean of social sentiment, waiting for you to go fishing.
Product Innovation – There’s nothing like your customers giving you a compass to improvements and innovation. Not only do typical social channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, provide data, but there’s those peer-to-peer product, platform, and/or company review sites, like G-2-Crowd, Capterra, Gartner, IT Central Station and more, that give you a direct line of customer insight. Social media analytics [aka social listening] allows you to analyze crowdsourced data at scale – and the insights that can be leveraged across your organization.
Customer Advocacy – Are your customers advocating for or against your company? If they’re not in your corner, what about their experience is causing them issues? If they are your biggest fan, what about your company do they love? Where do your customers congregate to share their thoughts on your organization? Social media analytics allows you to understand what to keep doing as a company, and what to change – it allows you to know if you’re going off course, and to change course as necessary. It’s also a chance for you to interact directly with your customers.
Relevant Content – As mentioned earlier, the information from social media listening can be used across your organization, and one of those ways is in the content your company creates. What is your target audience consistently talking about? What do they talk about at different points in the year – and how can you use that information to create your content topics in advance? How can you pair consistent trending topics with what your company can offer? Using social data can allow you to create relevant content that generates interest and can help you further the journey of your potential and current customers looking for quality content to make a decision or enhance their product experience.
The field of social listening, also known as social media analytics, will only continue to expand with the advancements in machine learning, AI, along with the type of data that can be harnessed and coupled with social data such as web, search, IOT device, and paid social ad data. I hope through this article, you get a glimpse of the art that goes behind effective social listening and further understand the 5 key ways you can use it within your organization to bring necessary change or action.