Marketers often get caught in the trap of limiting their social media data analysis to raw numbers: with the number of likes, retweets and comments the most common forms of benchmarking success. Whilst these are undoubtedly valuable metrics, capturing Customer Generated Media is a necessity, to better understand your customers’ experiences with brands and products they consume and the customer service they receive.
Various studies have demonstrated that customers are more trusting of experiences shared by fellow consumers through social media, online blogs and discussion boards as opposed to those shared through traditional marketing and advertising messages. Harnessing this phenomenon through social listening is a powerful way to enhance your marketing strategies, increase your brand presence and develop customer relationships.
What is Social Listening?
Social listening is fundamentally a two-step process which takes social media monitoring to the next level. Social media monitoring is the process by which social media channels are monitored for mentions of your brand, competitors, products and any other key words that are relevant to your business. Social listening aims to analyse the information collected to gain insights which can be used as a guide for marketing strategies and day-to-day customer service operations.
Benefits of Social Listening
Social listening goes beyond just the numbers to consider other important features of social media posts such as mood and tone. This helps to understand how people feel when interacting with products and brands, as well as allowing you to track customer interactions with competitors, all of which informs your brand and social strategies to maximise campaign effectiveness.
Social listening helps you to identify opportunities to develop conversations with your consumers about your brand and product; this could be anything from positive reviews to customer service requests and queries, ultimately delivering greater customer engagement. Purdue University, in Indiana, has been utilising social listening to identify donors, engaging with them personally to thank them for their donations on social media, which fosters donor engagement and increases the likelihood of repeat donations.
Social Listening Studies
Social listening allows you to tweak strategies in real time to identify key triggers of change in social media reactions. In a recent study by Gartner, it was documented that companies that do not respond to social media messages face up to a 15% increase in customer churn.
Additional studies by American Express and Bain, reinforce the importance of social listening. The American Express study found that 83% of consumers had not completed a purchase due to a poor customer service experience on social media. Whilst Bain & Co found that when companies respond to customer service messages on social media, those customers spend between 20% to 40% more with the company.
Despite the above statistics, 76% of brands still do not participate in social listening (reference Social Media Marketing University).
Social listening also allows you to get to know your key influencers and natural brand advocates. Understanding who your influencers and advocates are is essential as they can have a huge influence on how their followers and fans feel and engage with your products. Understanding who these key stakeholders are allows you to reach out to look for opportunities to collaborate and develop fruitful partnerships.
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