What Is Social Listening and Why it Matters
Social media has become a treasure chest of customer experience data. One of the best ways to quickly get an idea of what people really think about your products and brand as a whole is to introduce social listening into your marketing strategy.
In this article, we outline the key information you need to know about social listening and explain how this social media monitoring strategy can help you manage customer loyalty, product exposure, and brand reputation.
Social media is the most popular online activity that users engage in. According to Statista’s social media usage statistics, there are 3.6 billion social media users worldwide as of 2020, which equates to about 45% of the current population. This number is projected to increase to almost 4.41 billion in 2025.
To help you get the most out of social media channels, we’ve created a small explainer article on one of the popular social media marketing strategies called social listening and on how you can leverage it for your business.
What Are We Listening to, Actually?
Social listening was already talked about around the time that social networks were emerging. The concept of this strategy is simple at first glance.
First thing, you keep track of discussions and comments related to your brand, products, and services on social networks. Second thing, you analyze the information to understand which sides of your ecommerce businesses can be improved and how to actually do it. However, many brands still believe that social listening is about surveys and feedback gathering.
With the advancement of technology, it has become possible to obtain new types of data. Additionally, you can acquire much larger amounts of it today.
To understand how to analyze discussions and mention in social media, you need to figure out:
- Who is talking (your audience);
- When do they talk (the context).
Social listening is not a one-time activity. To be effective and beneficial for traffic boost and lead generation, social listening must become a regular, recurring task.
As a result of implementing social listening, you:
- Continuously receive new information and new ideas on how you can enhance your customer experience;
- Timely adjust products, services, and promotional campaigns to the rapidly-changing customer needs and market trends.
Social Listening vs Social Media Monitoring
Well, both social listening and social media monitoring are brand reputation management tools. As a rule, social media monitoring is limited to spotting brand mentions and collecting data for further decision-making.
Social media monitoring is about finding and tracking:
- Brand mentions;
- Use of brand hashtags;
- Competitor brand mentions;
- Industry trends;
Social listening in its turn is the step that follows social media monitoring. In the case of social listening, you do not just collect data, but respond to it.
Ultimately, the information collected helps to tailor your brand’s approach to the interests of your customers and their current attitude to your products and services.
Why Do You Need to Start Social Listening?
Social listening provides valuable insight into customers’ minds and enables you to learn people’s true opinions on stuff that you deliver. Through social listening, you get a much more precise, transparent picture of your brand reputation than say through surveys.
By using social listening-based information, you can easily and timely adjust your business strategy and position to what your customers expect from you. Moreover, the anticipation of customer expectations benefits the other elements in your business ecosystem, including employees and partners.
How Social Listening Saves Retailers From eCommerce Crush
Below we’ve collected the key use cases of social listening.
- Brand reputation management
Social listening helps you to find out about problems associated with negative customer experience, take control of the situation, and fix it. Declining customer loyalty means you are doing something that contradicts your customers’ expectations.
- Competitor analysis
Did you try to figure out why customers might love your rivals? What stronger sides do they have that you don’t? By monitoring and analyzing your competitors through social listening, you can refine the positioning of your brand or try making it more original, creating a competitive advantage.
- Communication with customers
From fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) to fan communities, social listening empowers businesses to be memorable and creative.
Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign makes a good example. Apple has been rewarding owners of Apple devices for creative pictures posted on social media.
Innocent Drinks company was able to receive constructive, valuable criticism of its product with the help of social listening, make changes to it, and return to the audience with a whole new story. The story was on how customers had helped Innocent Drinks improve and step forward.
- “Bug” fixing
From canceled orders and delivery issues to operational disruptions in the service and a new product model failure, “bugs” can be successfully dealt with through the proper use of real-time information about your customers. Social listening has the potential to provide all the necessary resources to solve these problems.
Less frequent, but vital use cases include:
- Anti-crisis communications;
- Customer service;
- Brand development;
- Content management;
- Marketing campaigns;
- A/B testing of a new concept;
- Research on trends.
Which Metrics Are We Tracking?
Each metric and parameter serves its own purpose and is useful. Many of them can easily be monitored and analyzed via social listening-based activities.
Here are 4 of the most important metrics you need to pay attention to::
A metric that helps determine how much and how often your brand is talked about, compared to your competitors, as well as find out the average “mood” of comments left on social media about your products.
- Engagement rate
This metric is about how the level of activity that your content and information are receiving from an audience.
Factors that influence engagement include:
- Users’ comments;
- Shares, likes, retweets, etc;
- Inbox messages;
- Dynamics of subscription to the newsletter or brand account.
This data will help you to be abreast of the seasonal changes, demographic differences, as well as peaks and troughs in customer demand. The higher the engagement rate is, the more chances you have to convert a user into a buying customer.
However, bear in mind that engagement might not always be a positive experience. Be ready to deal with negative reactions.
- Tone of voice
By analyzing the tone of voice and the choice of words in comments and reviews on social media, you can see whether people are positive, negative or neutral when referring to your brand, how their attitude might change, and what does it depend on?
Figuring this out through social listening will put you in charge of customer satisfaction and needs management.
- Conversion rate
A metric showing how successfully your online platforms, marketing, and design transform visitors into revenue, getting people to buy your products/services. By knowing what matters to your customers, you can use social listening to identify your customers’ immediate needs and provide the very right solution. The more people visit your brand’s website, the higher the chance that your offer can meet their needs.
Summing Up on the Ways to Use Social Listening
Social listening brings maximum effect when it’s consistent with your business goals and you’re not just gathering but making use of the social listening-driven information.
It allows to see and interpret the opinions of billions of people, identify trends, and behavior patterns. Learning about valuable consumer and market insights helps you adapt your business tone to better suit your customers.
Ultimately, social listening empowers you to assess the context in which customers and competitor businesses operate and improve your ecommerce strategy to truly meet customer needs.
Good Match: Instagram Feed Extension
If you feel like social listening is something your ecommerce business needs, you can give a try to our Instagram Feed Magento Extension. The extension allows you to integrate your brand’s Instagram feed into your website for greater product discoverability and showcasing.
The social listening part is implemented through easy access to the latest comments, reactions, and reviews associated with your products, directly from your online store.
More features can be found on the Instagram Feed page in NEKLO Store.