Can anyone hear me? Why social listening matters


I was recently asked by a client to talk about the power of social media, a brilliantly broad brief. We opted for social listening as the subject, because social insight can influence so many areas of a business. Below is a summary of the resulting discussions…

  1. Issue management

Listening to customer conversations is a great way of understanding where underlying problems may lie and in this age where customers are savvy, competition is fierce and technology is advancing can you afford not to understand where your customer pain points are? According to the Huffington Post 67% of customers site bad experience as a reason for churn*. Listening to customer experiences via social channels can help you identify issues which could range from business wide problems, eg delivery time, to real time problems eg “your website doesn’t seem to be working”.

  1. Reputation management

Social customers are often the first to spot problems, discuss a poor experience and can be relied upon to tell you what you think of new campaigns and initiatives . Listening to the conversation will often be the first alert to any potential damage to brand reputation and being able to react quickly and with the right messaging to reassure as soon as possible can help limit brand reputation damage.

  1. Conversations, customer service & content

Everyone knows that when you have a great social experience you think more of the brand compared to feeling let down if the experience does not meet your expectations. Being able to respond and manage poor experience with excellent customer service will put most brands in a stronger position with their audiences. It seems that a lot of brands are putting effort & energy into content creation when they could also potentially be using social insight to understand customer needs and therefore assist in shaping business decisions.

  1. Trend spotting

Second guessing what your customers are next going to be interested in is a tricky business and comes with risks if you get it wrong. Being able to spot trends as they develop could help many businesses understand where to play in order to attract or retain customers. So for example, if a retailer could hear what their customers are talking about they could ensure they are stocking the latest, hottest tech, fashion or whatever is relevant to their customers, and ensure it is merchandised effectively to maximise sales.

  1. Marketing efficiency

I don’t know many marketing directors who are not looking to drive maximum efficiency from marketing budgets. Social listening is a great tool to enable efficiency, from spotting keywords for PPC & SEO to enabling content creation which will really fulfil customer needs and drive an action, social listening can give valuable, budget stretching insight.

  1. Perfecting products

Reviews are becoming increasingly powerful, according to Bazaarvoice 92% of customers trust the opinion of others above advertising**. The interesting thing reviews also enable you to do is understand the issues customers have, enabling you to fix issues. So for example you might be a retailer selling a product which gets continually poor reviews. The reviews tell you that the product has a fault or could be improved in some way which if resolved and the product gains positive reviews is likely to improve conversion.

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