Social listening inspires smarter business strategies

by Alicia Trahan, 03 Apr 2017

Social listening is a powerful research tool capable of generating actionable insights in time to seize opportunities. A surprising range of business areas can profit from social listening and fund your efforts. At unified. agency, we recognize the exponential value in the insights harvested from social listening and their profound ability to shape business strategies. With 75% of households today using social media channels --such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, when combined with more traditional media news, blogs, forums, etc.-- the online ecosystem is rife with information companies can use to develop highly targeted strategies. Any Social Media Listening Strategy Begins With 3 Basic Questions
  1. What conversations are people having about the brand, the brand’s competitors and the broader industry or topic where the brand resides?
  2. Who is having these conversations?
  3. And, where are these conversations taking place?
Fill Customers’ Unmet Needs By listening to the conversations about the brand, consumers and the market demands, we can identify unmet consumer needs. We look to understand what people are saying about the topic or larger category of where the brand or the areas of interest resides. Here we can see how companies are speaking to consumers, what is resonating (and what isn’t), what consumers are looking for and what their pain points are. Ultimately, we gain a better appreciation for how consumers want to be talked to and what they are missing. Social Listening Benefits   Active listening at scale and knowing what key trends are month over month can not only inform an overall social strategy but it can fuel a host of strategic and business decisions as well. The strategic implications are endless, but some examples may be:
  • Acquisition and retention strategy – insights can help keep and retain customers, as well as attract new ones, by identifying areas of improvement or growth opportunities within unmet or poorly met needs.
  • Crisis Management strategies - spot and manage emerging crisis regarding a particular product, brand or industry issues and set protocols to follow when threats occur.
  • CRM strategy - targeted strategies can be developed to change detractors into brand advocates by paying close attention to consumers’ key problems, motivations and issues with products or services.
  • Innovation & Brand Health strategies – audience listening and competitive analysis data can provide category insight that can help identify areas for innovation, updates in style that matter and communications that resonate with customers.
  • Persona Development strategies – whether alone or as compliment to other sources of information (focus groups, surveys, sales data, demographics, psychographics, etc.), weaving social data to other data sets provides a robust picture of the customer, brand and lifestyle surrounding it.
  • Segmentation strategy - Determine where to focus communication and spend efforts by profiling customer segments (based on behavior, interests and attitude) and identify which communities these segments associate with.
  • Supply & Demand strategies – knowing where current and future customers reside can inform the entire supply chain logistics.
  • Targeting strategies – knowing where purchases are being made and the impetus for making them can improve target marketing strategies. Or target messaging campaigns to inspire consumer passions by identifying and tracking consumer passions, perceptions and concerns and adjusting in real-time.
  • USP Strategies – Use consumer feedback to learn what makes a brand unique and shine a light on those distinctions in your messaging; keeping a pulse on existing and emerging competition to avoid disruption by anyone being more in-touch with consumers.
Comments Are Often Visceral   The beauty of gleaning insight from Social Listening is that the content is unsolicited. Consumers start or engage in conversations when and where they choose. They provide their views and opinions in their own words, phrases, tone, emoji’s, images, etc.; unscripted and in an unprompted, emotional state. And it is in these snippets of praise to disdain, provided as a means of venting or to help others make successful decisions, where we as marketers find the fodder to improve our strategies. Competitive Intelligence, one of the most trustworthy forms of research, can now be added to the many insights gathered from Social Media. Using social listening only as a tool for monitoring could be holding you back from profound strategic insights. Plus, why would anyone monitor a problem (or situation) if they don’t intend to do anything about it? How are you leveraging your social insights to build strategy?