Why You Should be "Listening" on Social Media
While many businesses have a presence on social media, most of them are only scratching the surface of these platforms. Social media listening opens up new avenues of communication between you and your customers, giving you insights into what your customers are thinking and saying about your business and your competitors.
For example, businesses all too often wait until a customer contacts them with a complaint before engaging with that customer. Through social media listening, your business can “overhear” conversations initiated by your customers, who may have comments or complaints that they have not yet shared with you through conventional channels like customer service departments. Armed with this information, you can be aware of issues as they happen, and respond proactively with information and solutions. Your customers will feel heard and, more importantly, valued.
Using not only your brand name, but also keywords associated with your brand or with a specific product, you can find online conversations on social media platforms and blog posts. When you find these conversations, join in. Through making yourself part of the conversation, especially if you have positive information or solutions, you can build relationships with your customers that they may not have expected.
When actively listening you can learn about concerns customers may have that may not reach the level of reported complaints. Customers may have questions about ingredients, product usage, side effects, or comparison with other similar brands that they discuss on social media. Through active listening, you can find these conversations and enter them with answers and selling points. When you do so, pay attention to the vocabulary and terminology your customers use. When your response uses the same terminology, you seem like an active member of that community. You seem connected, knowledgeable, and proactive.
Through social media listening, you can also identify key influencers in your field. Listen to their concerns. Find out what they are saying about your brand to the people they influence. Once you have done that, interact with them. Solicit their opinions and show them that you take them seriously. You can not only advocate for your brand, but you can open up conversations that will help build relationships, and relationships build recognition and trust. You may find that, when you actively engage with them and provide them with information, they become advocates and educators for your brand. Customers value the opinions of influencers because they are “real people”, and not representatives of a specific company, organization, or brand.
Finally, through social media listening, you can overhear the conversations about your competitors. Customers may have comments or complaints about competitors that you have already addressed in your own brand, and customers need to know that. Of course, when you have not already addressed the issues, you now have the opportunity to do so and to let customers know that their feedback was valuable. Every conversation heard through social media listening is an opportunity for positive change.