The Significant Truth & Relevance About Social Listening

The online universe is no longer limited to just an array of websites that could either be business-related, e-commerce-based, non-profit etc. Instead, organisations today are looking to choose from a myriad of portals offering similar services to clients and be able to converse with them at the same time. Customer communication channels are also transforming, and this has led to a significant overhaul. Thankfully, social listening enables businesses to understand, analyse and respond to consumers in a timely and effective manner. In this article, Sameer Narkar, Founder & CEO, Konnect Insights - Prudence Analytics and Software Solutions, reveals details about the relevance of social listening and why it is becoming increasingly business critical.

The role of social media in Social Listening
Customer behaviour online provides businesses with plenty of insights regarding an individual’s profile, tastes, preferences, requirements etc. This doesn’t apply to just a handful of people. As per Statista, there existed an estimated 2.95 billion people that used social media in 2019. This number is expected to grow to around 3.43 billion by the end of 2023.

From a business perspective, social media is believed to be vital for the overall branding and marketing strategy by most marketers and CXOs. Some people think that using data received from social media is social listening. In reality, it is a lot wider than that in the real world.

Of the 4 Pillars of Customer Experience Management©, social listening is an important one where you listen to customers across channels. Social listening is a two-step process. The first step is to monitor social media, blogs, and every other possible online source where people may talk about a brand, its products, or its competition. The second step is to analyse the information to create actionable insights that can shape future engagement and customer journey path for a brand.

Social Listening increasingly gaining traction
Currently, around 54 per cent of social browsers are actively seeking the aid of social media to determine buying patterns that include what to buy and what to leave out. Needless to say, if brands aren’t paying attention to these patterns and conversations, they are losing out on a lot of valuable data and missing out on an opportunity to draw the customer’s attention towards products and offerings as well. Here is why social listening is gaining a lot of traction lately.

Enhanced engagement with customers
In the earlier days, there were very few ways in which a customer could send over his feedback to the brand. With the emergence of social media and other platforms, they’ve definitely found a way to voice their opinions. As an organisation, one can utilize this opportunity to engage with them or to ensure that they are being heard and responded to in the best way possible.

Tracking competition and listening to the marketplace
Social listening is not just about the business and what is being heard or spoken about in terms of offerings. It is also about monitoring peers and understanding public perception surrounding them. If competitors are doing something right, it gives the business an insight into these novel ideas. If they are failing in achieving their goals, it allows one to outpace competition and steer clear of them. It also enables a company to shape their strategies and campaigns so as to overcome impending hurdles.

Better management of a crisis
As human beings, we are prone to making errors. If a brand custodian makes a mistake unknowingly, social listening enables you to address it in a timely manner. Be it communication disasters or customer care issues; businesses can look for the cause of a negative sentiment and take steps to minimise damages accordingly. Even if that means dropping an apology note or putting up a regret post, it can go a long way in keeping up the brand image. If companies are looking for some inspiration, a great example would be how Nike reacted when Zion Williamson’s shoes from the brand exploded while on the field.

Evaluating the organisational brand strategy
Social listening has gained a lot of significance lately as it helps companies evaluate their current strategies. An organisation can track conversations that are happening around their brand or its products, and it will uncover buckets full of data about what works and what doesn’t. Once a brand is aware of what doesn’t work, they can get back to the drawing board and find remedial strategies to address these concerns as well as ensure that upcoming strategies don’t carry the same issues.

Taking business to the next level
Customers depend on online searches and social media for a multitude of tasks, such as gaining knowledge, shopping, entertainment, socializing, etc. Based on insights gathered by social listening, businesses are able to use meaningful tactics to connect and develop and nurture relationships with current as well as potential customers, and gradually send them down their sales funnel.

So, is social listening essential for businesses today?
Social listening is an aggregate of a lot of things. It is not a one-off process and requires continuous dedication. With more and more people joining the world of the internet, it has allowed businesses to position their products exactly the way a customer intends. With the whole world clamouring for customers’ attention, how relatable and customized is an organisation’s branding strategy to that of customer’s preference is of utmost importance.

Social listening is imminent for every brand and marketer to stay a step ahead of its competitors and continuous growth.

In conclusion, social listening is here to stay and is paving the way for an enhanced customer experience. To stay ahead of the pack, brands will need to innovate themselves and seriously look at how social listening can significantly impact sales and strengthen the brand’s reputation and enable customers to remain loyal.