Most brands understand the importance of social listening. They are wisely monitoring social media conversation for mentions of their brand, tapping into the latest buzz about their competitors, and making listening a critical component of crisis management.
That level of social listening is table stakes – it’s expected. And if you’re not there yet, let’s talk. Once that’s in place, it’s definitely time to take your social listening to the next level. There are many more revenue-driving ways to use the rich data provided by social media conversations, and that’s a deep dive we can take with you.
Gain customer insights. Social channels provide the largest, noisiest focus group you’ve ever assembled. But when you comb through the conversation carefully – and great listening software like Synthesio or Crimson Hexagon will help you do that – you’ll find a mountain of incredibly rich customer data. For example, we like to run a demographic analysis at least quarterly. It may seem basic, but if you’re selling a product targeting seniors and notice an uptick of conversation from younger consumers, that’s a valuable insight. This quasi-focus group strategy is particularly helpful to get insights on millennial customers who tend to be chatty about brands on social.
Develop new products. Social media is a great place to learn about customer pain points. Whether the conversation is about your products in particular or something within your industry, insights from social chatter can be as useful as a room full of creatives in full brainstorm mode. And you can back up ideas with data. I’ve done analyses to confirm what product development teams know anecdotally – for example, the need to reduce sugar in a food product because of an increase in consumer concern. A keyword search and sentiment analysis can surface this kind of chatter and measure the volume.
Get fresh ideas for marketing and PR campaigns. Sometimes people start talking about your product in a way that is new or unexpected. When the DIY slime craze hit YouTube and Instagram, Elmer’s glue – their product a critical slime ingredient – jumped right on board with a landing page and video series dedicated to slime enthusiasts. Creating generalized brand keyword searches are a given, but monitoring for increasing volume of conversation, and diving into the content itself is where we would unearth viral trends associated with the product.
Identify influencers. The holy grail of influencer marketing is finding someone who is already passionate about your brand. With listening software you can analyze your brand mentions by authority, reach, social following and other metrics to identify influencers. Even without the software, monitoring Twitter mentions for your brand account and brand name as a keyword is incredibly simple. This can be accomplished with a free tool like Tweetdeck. I keep a column open with these search terms and monitor for influencer mentions. It’s important to respond immediately, or as close to immediately as possible. Even if you’re not ready to establish a formal relationship, a simple surprise and delight can be very impactful. We recommend throwing a few pieces of brand swag in the mail to influencers – they’re usually very pleased and often post again. Then file their information away for the next media event or partnership opportunity.
Find people “talking” about your brand, without mentioning your name. Most enterprise social listening software now offers image analysis – it can identify your product logo on social media posts, even if people aren’t mentioning your brand by name. This technology is incredibly powerful, particularly for CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands – because it unearths even more customer insights than traditional social listening. Once this functionality is set up in the software, we can run analyses of social posts featuring the product logo to learn where they are storing the product or whether they are using it correctly. We’ll identify potential partnerships by observing what other product(s) are featured in the photo, or recommend event sponsorships by looking at the photo background – a concert or sporting event, for example. And then once the sponsorship is in place, we can discover how often the branding was visible in social posts during the concert or game.
As social data becomes more abundant and listening software becomes increasingly sophisticated, there will be even more applications for social listening. Smart companies will continue using the rich data provided by social conversations to drive their business.