Social media is a virtual necessity for modern marketing. Consumers rely heavily on a brand’s social media presence to inform their customer loyalty and buying decisions. In fact, three out of four consumers say they’ve discovered a new brand based on recommendations from social media.
In today’s consumer-driven marketing landscape, if you want to differentiate your business and launch your brand into the stratosphere with customer advocacy, brand awareness, and sales, social listening must be part of your overall marketing strategy.
What Is Social Media Listening?
Social media listening, or social listening, is a recurring act of proactively analyzing online conversations and industry trends around your brand, competitors, and industry. Social listening focuses this effort on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok.
Today’s consumers engage with brands online, so to be able to nurture relationships with your customers, you have to have your “ear to the ground” on social media.
What Is Customer Advocacy?
Customer advocacy is a business success strategy that focuses on converting loyal customers into vocal advocates for a brand. It nurtures relationships with repeat customers to turn them into brand advocates who spread the word about your brand and recommend you to their friends, family, and colleagues.
How Does Social Listening Influence Customer Advocacy?
Social listening enables your brand to identify and analyze customer sentiment and conversations around your brand, products, and services – positive, negative, and otherwise. It also tracks the conversations around your competitors and your industry.
With this type of feedback, your business can address customers’ questions and pain points to provide an elevated customer experience (CX) and encourage retention. This includes your customers’ holistic perception of your brand based on every interaction they have, from the first time they interface with your website to the experience they have with the product to the care they receive after purchase.
Social media listening offers insights into this perception and key areas you can improve to ensure your customers have the best possible experience with your brand, leading to more loyal customers and brand advocates.
Benefits of Social Media Listening
Social media listening provides essential benefits for your brand, including:
Understanding Customer Needs
Tracking the social conversations around your brand offers insights into how customers use your products or services. You’ll learn what they like, what they don’t like, and how you can improve the experience to provide better service to your customers.
You’ll also learn how your customers perceive your brand on its own and in relation to your competitors. You can identify the gaps in your competitors’ offerings and the pain points no one is solving yet, giving you an edge in the market.
Creating Customer Advocate Personas
Social listening gives you an understanding of who your target advocates are on your social channels. You will learn key information like their income, jobs, titles, interests, and more, all of which can help you build customer advocate personas that can provide benefits to your brand.
Identifying Pain Points
As a brand, you should want to provide the best possible experience for your customers and solve their problems. Knowing what problems they have and what barriers or friction points they encounter is critical to delivering the service your customers want.
These problems and barriers could be things like missing features, quality or reliability issues, a time-consuming customer service process, or a steep learning curve with product or service use. Any of these issues can be a barrier to adoption for customers, and by extension, a barrier to them advocating for your brand.
Unfortunately, customers aren’t always direct about this information. They may be frustrated but not seek out your customer service to voice concerns or complaints. When they’re speaking to friends or family and interacting with others on social media, however, they’re more likely to share their honest opinions.
Spotify built an entire Twitter account around this concept to ensure world-class customer service:
These insights, whether positive or negative, are essential to addressing your customers’ pain points and improving your service, product, or overall experience. Being proactive about addressing negative sentiments from your customers could help you bypass any crisis PR moments before they take off. Additionally, by making such improvements, you can be a truly customer-centric brand, which is critical to developing out-of-this-world customer advocacy.
Having Conversations with Customers
These days, many customers seek help directly from brands on social media channels instead of calling a help line or sending an email. Successful brands understand this and dedicate employees to interacting with customers and engaging in conversation on social media.
This can take shape in many ways, from providing guides or video resources that explain how to use products, services, or features; directly escalating a support ticket; or speaking on behalf of a customer to get a problem resolved quickly. When you go the extra mile for your customers, you leave a positive impression that can lead to them advocating for your brand.
Finding Potential Brand Champions
One of the best ways to find your brand champions is through social listening. You may find mission-ready advocates who are already selling the benefits of your brand or products to others, such as thought leaders creating user-generated video content about how your product helped them or someone suggesting your service as a possible solution to another person’s request.
But without social media listening, you wouldn’t know these possible brand advocates exist. Finding them through conversations on social media creates opportunities to open the lines of communication and ensure that they continue discussing your brand in authentic ways to reach more potential customers.
If you make your plans for current or future products known to the market, you can use social media to gauge customer satisfaction and sentiment about your upcoming launch sequence. Listening to your consumer audience will help you understand and mitigate any risks, including anxiety about your product changing. This also gives you the opportunity to get ahead of your customers’ concerns and prepare them for a smooth transition to your new offering.
The benefits here include helping you have a positive product launch and showing your customers that you truly care about their success. That attention helps nurture loyalty and makes your customers feel inclined to advocate for you as your brand evolves.
Competitor and Industry Insights
Social listening can provide insight into what competitors in your industry are up to, as well as help identify emerging trends.
Staying up to date with your competitors’ new products, campaigns, or collaborations can help you identify any threats or opportunities for your brand. As brands continue to focus on customer support via social media, it’s important to understand their tone and readiness when responding to their consumers.
This insight through social listening can help you identify where competitors are falling short and how your brand can fill gaps in the market.
Whether it’s a small gathering or a large red carpet event like The Oscars, social listening can provide valuable insight to the overall sentiment of your event. Though these events happen in-person, there are always conversations happening online!
You can track moments that resonated best with your attendees, improve overall event experience, and gather legitimate feedback from your social listening tool.
Tracking this information can improve your next event and improve brand sentiment.
How to Approach Social Media Listening
Wondering how you can include social listening in your strategic flight plan? Here are some tips for success:
- Identify the social media networks on which your target audience is active.
- Pinpoint specific keywords, phrases, and topics to capture customer conversations that cut through the noise and are relevant to your brand.
- Use a social media listening tool to track and analyze these conversations in real time.
- Evaluate the insights to identify your possible advocates, pain points, and new opportunities to strengthen your relationship.
Give Your Customer Advocacy Lift Off with Social Media Listening
Giving your customers the best possible experience begins with understanding their wants, needs, pain points, and goals. Once you understand and start providing solutions for them, you will develop a strong consumer-focused brand that your customers prefer over your competitors, creating loyal brand advocates who are quick to sing your praises.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Still have questions? Here are more insights into social media listening:
Which Social Media Platforms Are Best for Social Listening?
When it comes to social media listening, there are no “best” platforms. Focus on the ones that hold most of your audience. For example, if you have younger audiences, you may see more activity on TikTok and Instagram. If you have B2B products or services, your brand audience may be more active on LinkedIn or Twitter.
What Is an Example of Social Media Listening?
Social media listening can take many forms. You may see an existing customer tweeting about your product or a thought leader creating a video about how your service solved a problem for them. You may also see conversations where people are looking for solutions that your product or service provides.
Why Is Customer Advocacy Important in Marketing?
Word-of-mouth marketing is highly effective, especially as consumers become disillusioned with traditional marketing. Customer advocacy carries credibility in line with recommendations from friends and family, as people are more likely to trust a “real person” over an ad.
What Are Social Listening Techniques?
Social listening involves evaluating conversations related to your brand or industry, whether it’s specific to your brand, your competitors, the product category, or the industry at large. All these conversations offer information about customer sentiment that you can use to make informed marketing decisions.
What Is Social Listening vs. Social Media Analytics?
Social listening, or social media monitoring, identifies product or brand mentions on a micro scale, whereas social media analytics tracks data gathered from social channels to inform business decisions and measure the performance of marketing campaigns.
How Can I Get Started with a Social Listening Strategy?
To track social media conversations around your brand name, products, competitors, and industry, there are plenty of tools and strategies, such as Google Analytics or Hubspot. But no matter how you go about social listening, having a strategy in place helps ensure success.
A social media marketing agency like Rocket Launch has mission expertise to help you track likes, follows, comments, reach, targets, conversations, tweets, and hashtags with a streamlined process that makes sense of the chaos and manages your brand reputation.