Develop a Strategic Approach
Technology and the environment tend to change quite frequently right? It very much does and this makes it harder for businesses to change and become innovative with what’s happening all around to stay up to date. It can be simpler with the input of your customers for new ideas and innovation.
This can be done through a process known as social listening; social listening with help direct your marketing strategies and goals.
Source: 5W Gets PR
I recently wanted to book a villa for my vacation trip coming up shortly but I wasn’t too sure about the location or place since it was all too good to be true based on the package and price. To get more information about this villa I went onto the comments section and also Twitter to get an insight of different experiences encountered there. To my surprise, the comments were poor to bad and this led me to choose another location instead based on the good comments I came across.
Businesses can use social listening to monitor conversations to see what is being discussed about their business to explore new ideas. Also the use of hashtag, #, is ver convenient since you can use it with the combination of words or your business name to find out what is being said about your business. Businesses can enter the conversation after examining what is being said then suggest the best answer to an inquiry or even thank the user for his/her comment.
Social listening can also be used to a business’ benefit by searching for what people have to say about your competitors’ products to make and adjust products to suit what the customers are lacking from other companies. Social listening will enable businesses to develop better customer service skills and also help with revealing new range of ideas. Social listening will promote and maintain long trustworthy relationships with your customers which will encourage brand loyalty.
Businesses need to listen to what their customers want instead of being too pushy in order to sell them a product. Being a social listener is not as easy as it sounds since you have to be consistently present online to answer or develop conversations with customers. Building and maintaining sturdy relationships with customers is done by listening more on social media and less talking. Businesses need to go more in-depth research about customers based on their demographics, perceptions and behaviors. Customers need for your product will be different which means that you as the business need to listen on more than one social site with one or two different hashtag to prevent you from missing some of the conversation.
How to Get Started
Everything is basically on social media as people get primary or secondary source information from social media as well as everyday news which we used to get from media sources such as television or radio and print media such as the newspaper or magazine. So, it is therefore essential that businesses practice social listening to reveal customers’ thoughts and what they are looking for or need. Implementing the Long Tail of Search will better help with understanding the platform of social listening.
Relating to the above diagram, the X-axis measures the time or keyword length and the Y-axis measures the word of mouth chatter or search volume. Suppose this graph was about the villa I wanted to rent, the initial rise on the left could portray persons talking about the villa on Twitter. Word of mouth or viral marketing is important since it attract more attention to your business. As the curve drops, is levels at a certain point and maintains a flat line continuously but it doesn’t mean that there’s no conversation about your business. At this point, that is when concerned customers might be asking about more specific information about your business or in the example, the villa.
You should know that there are many social listening platforms or apps available just in case you didn’t know. Most of them are free, the rest are freemiums or require payment; Google and Bing are free search resources for social listening. DuckDuckGo is an example of an algorithm that shows outcomes that does not adjust much to individuals and more like the broader range we usually find earlier in search. You might also know of Google Alerts before or from my previous blog. Many businesses use this to monitor what people are saying about their business which is signaled with an alert. TalkWalker is also another resource that uses social listening, they provide free and paid choices to get notifications and track specific hashtags and names on different social media platforms. If you did not know, Twitter and Instagram especially uses hashtag which will aid in searching on different topics in order to find conversations about the topic.
The best way to manage social listening is to do it through Hootsuite; Hootsuite is a social media marketing dashboard which provides free and paid accounts and allow users to control all their social media presence from one place, measure interactions and schedule posts. Here’s how to use Hootsuite:
Social Listening for research and insights
Companies/ Businesses should include social listening into their research mix as it does give your business new ideas and the present rate of your customers and business. Businesses can present their customers with a list of new ideas or an improvement to competitor’s service or product to get a direct input on what the customer thinks. Social listening is so vital since it allows you to track what customers are saying about your competitors to identify threats or opportunities. This is how Hootsuite tack hashtags:
Remember, whenever there’s a customer involved in a conflict with your business, they are always right. Social media has made it easier for businesses to develop channels to monitor customer complaints and respond in a respectable professional way. Resolving a customer’s issue on social media will on the other hand help other customers with the similar issue. For example, a Jamaican phone service was called out on Twitter because of their poor customer service and false advertisements. However, they did resolve the issue in a timely manner by responding to the complaint very professionally which leads the onlooker to assume that they are a very professional institution that acres about what customers have to say about their service. In this instance, you can use social listening to build and maintain relationships to better strengthen reputation.
According to Waxman, it’s important for companies to understand the difference between an issue and a crisis and when to escalate. According to the crisis expert, Melissa Agnes, an issue is a negative situation that’s growing in intensity and could harm your business. A crisis, on the other hand, often stems from an issue but could explode out of nowhere. The major difference is: in a crisis, there’s a risk of long-term, financial and reputation damage for your company. However, both situations are serious and need to be monitored and managed (2017, June 5). Consider these definitions before you go on social media to reply to complaints and turn the bad situation into something worse. On Hootsuite you can enter hashtags and the accounts you will be monitoring or you can even create a different issues and crisis tab to better monitor them. Paying close attention to your everyday messages, mentions and your company name is very important since they can be used to monitor an early mention of an issue or crisis. It is also very important to keep your direct messaging stream in a convenient position in order to respond quickly to an issue. Make sure to examine for thoughts and frequency when monitoring tour name at response. During an issue, you may quickly realize that thoughts change from positive to negative which is not good. If you continuously get more alerts than regular within a day, it is a possibility that there’s an emerging issue. According to Waxman, social listening won’t solve a crisis but it will help your company start to manage it a whole lot quicker (2017, June 5). This means responding in an appropriate way will help to settle dissatisfied customers and also resolve issues immediately.
Since, I want to work at Pepsico I have searched for them on Twitter using the hashtag #Pepsi and all the latest tweets are very much negative because of new Dove campaign regarding skin tones; the users related the recent Pepsi commercial with Kendal Jenner to Dove’s as being very racist. The tweets go from bad comments to expletives which is a good look for them. However, based on what I just spoke about, Pepsi should take the time out to respond to some of the comments to reassure customers that they’re not associated with racism and might also apologize for the confusion- this should be done through social listening since most of the enraged customers are actively on Twitter.