Much of today’s business environment has become digital, with millions of customers talking about the businesses that they engage with, the products they buy from them, and customer service issues mentioned on social media on a daily basis.
As people also become more used to digital marketing, instead of traditional marketing methods, you will find that they trust what others share and say on social media platforms, blogs, forums, or online community platforms. This is why social listening is so essential.
But what is social listening? In essence, social listening is used to track specific conversations or keywords, brands, or communities across a number of social media platforms to gather data that can be used as actionable insights to make more informed decisions. If social listening is something you aren’t implementing in your business in 2021, then listen up (pun intended), because here’s why your business needs social listening.
Why social listening?
Social media is one of the best tools to use when building relationships and trust with your customers. Social media has managed to help to close the gap between your customer’s buyer journey and your business. When approached correctly, the use of social listening tools can help businesses by:
- Understanding your online customers
- Providing better customer service
- Improving your product offerings
Understanding your online customers
Social listening can help companies learn important information about their target audience. This includes things such as their online activities, as well as the social media platforms that they use the most. It also helps companies understand what their audiences think about certain topics and their overall sentiment about the brand.
In addition, social listening helps businesses understand their audiences’ wants, needs, interests, and pain points, as well as the various questions they may have based on the content they read and share. This also includes questions they ask openly, and their overall sentiment towards different keywords and topics.
Providing better customer service
Speaking of customer service and experience, social media is known to offer platforms where customers express their emotions around brands and businesses. From gratitude for a speedy delivery of an online purchase to anger about bad customer service at a particular store, social listening tools are great for identifying all the online posts where your customers mention your brand or services, providing insight into how best you can provide better customer service.
Remember when customer service was done over the phone, by email or in the actual physical store? That is most certainly a thing of the past now, as consumers use social media to interact with brands and companies in a more direct way, which has become a growing trend in consumer behaviourism. Businesses today are realising just how important it is to use their official social media pages and accounts to engage with their customers as a way of resolving any issues quickly, and social listening is a tool that can help solve this efficiently.
Improving your product offerings
Another great benefit of social listening for businesses is that it can help you see which of your products are favoured among your customers, and which ones need improving.
Any insights that you gather from analysing social media conversations related to your products and services can help you strategise on what you need to implement in order to improve your current product offerings. You might even decide to have your customers participate in product review campaigns where they share their experience of your product with their audience, and you monitor what works and what doesn’t.
How to start using social listening for your business
Social listening tools are great assets for businesses to have in 2021; in fact, some might say that they are necessary for gaining a better understanding of where a business fits in the digital landscape, as well as their customers. If you are considering the use of a social listening tool, here’s what you may want to pay attention to:
- The name of your business and how often it is being mentioned
- Your products and services and the conversations happening surrounding them
- Direct and indirect mentions of your business
- Sentiment, and how your business is perceived by others online
From here, filter out the data that is unimportant and analyse what is, then use that to provide a customer experience tailored exactly to your customers, while improving on what the data indicated as negatively perceived by your audience. This isn’t as complicated as it sounds but with the help of a social listening tool, it certainly makes it easier for your business to see success in 2021 and beyond.
Social listening has great potential to unlock success for businesses in 2021. A great African proverb says that if you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go far, go together. Listen to your customers, use the insights you find to address their needs and adjust your own strategies, and watch just how far your business can go.
The thoughts expressed in this external contribution are those of the author.
Khalipha Ntloko is the junior content marketer at Meltwater, the global leaders in media intelligence and social analytics, and a company focused on providing its customers with solutions that help them make more informed decisions. With her experience in marketing, Ntloko enjoys sharing tips, insights and best practices on content marketing and social media management.
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