Social listening is a two-part act – something which many businesses overlook. The first part is the obvious part: selecting channels, tuning into conversations, and analysing online discussions to discover what customers and audiences really think about your brand.
And that’s where many businesses stop. They’re done.
But what about the second part of the process? Simply knowing what people think about you is certainly nice, but it’s not particularly useful. It doesn’t change anything. To really derive the full value from social listening, it’s necessary to engage the second part of the process: acting upon your new data to further grow and develop your business.
We need to transition from a focus on social listening to a focus on actionable insight.
The truth is that, from a growth perspective, listening to your audience is one of the smartest and most strategic moves any business can make. Social listening is a chance to move away from the old ‘let’s try it and see’ approach, and instead begin building your brand on real time data collected from those who matter most: your customers.
How are Businesses Growing with Social Listening?
According to research by digital agency Clutch, nearly half of all businesses using social listening for growth are focusing on ongoing development through an improvement in customer relationships. Of this group, around 25% are believed to be prioritising product development, turning their attention to creating products that meet today’s demands.
Rather than introducing products that are in line with ‘normal’ development for the brand, or products that organisations think their existing customers want to buy, social listening helps brands to work backwards by identifying which demographics are willing to spend money, and on what – subsequently aiding brands to develop products which fit these preferences.
For product teams, the feedback that’s generated through social listening activity is invaluable, particularly during pre-launch, launch, and post-launch activities. As social listening tools are engaged, product insights surface immediately, enabling research and development departments to optimise the product exactly for the customer.
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Attracting New Leads
Buyer personas have become one of the most valuable ways to envision a brand’s average customer base, but even highly effective methods like this have their limitations. And that’s why, according to Clutch, 24% of social listening users are utilising the technique to learn more about their audience and attract new demographics.
Social listening helps to fill in the buyer persona gaps which are creating major challenges in attracting new leads and which are preventing businesses from expanding their customer base to include valuable yet under represented audience pools. This, in turn, can limit a business’ reach and place a static ceiling on sales figures.
What gaps are we talking about? Consider the average buyer persona. Using easy access data, it’s simple to identify facts: the age, income, and career of the target user, for example. What’s not so easy is figuring out the emotional needs of the ideal customer. What are their goals? What are their pain points? And this is why we listen.
Knowing more about customers and creating a full picture of who they are is key to attracting the right people, generating more sales, and growing your business through increased profits. Rather than relying on historical data to predict audience trends and behaviours, it’s possible to tap into real time interests to adapt lead generation processes to attract the customer of tomorrow, not yesterday.
Boosting Customer Service
At a time when proactively responding to customer needs is becoming an increasingly essential foundation for growth, social listening enables businesses to address concerns quickly and discreetly, before customer issues are elevated and become louder noises. Customers expect responses within just one hour. Real time social listening obliges.
“With a social media monitoring tool, we are able to respond first and nip a potential social media crisis in the bud before it can escalate. It just so happens that sometimes disappointed customers, if taken care of properly, can become brand ambassadors.” – Magda Urbaniak, Global Community Manager for monitoring tool Brand24
The Clutch survey also found that a small number of social listening users are using the technique to facilitate alternative methods of growth. 13% use social listening to tailor their content strategy, 9% use it for recruitment and onboarding, and 9% are using social listening to learn more about their competitors and gain a competitive edge.
Social listening allows you to monitor the competition, track industry trends, and most importantly fill in the gaps in the market to grow your business into a bridging solution.
Through social listening, businesses gain a unique insight into the customer story, gaining a better understanding of what motivates a customer to choose one organisation over another. By getting to grips with this reasoning, it becomes easier to direct the growth of the business in a way that responds to the needs of customers, and draws them in.
Building Your Brand
Ultimately, it all comes down to company image. Social listening helps you to build and grow a brand that doesn’t just know what the customer wants but actively ensures they get it. And it’s this reputation, and the customer loyalty that comes alongside it, that provides the essential support and resources needed for businesses to develop. Social listening really can be applied to pretty much any area where there is potential for growth, including product development, customer experience, lead generation, demand anticipation, trend identification, competitor analysis, and investor relations.
What’s important to understand is that social listening itself doesn’t facilitate growth in any single direction, or in any one way. Instead, social listening is about building and developing the necessary foundations for solid growth. It’s about ensuring you have all the data and information you need to grab new opportunities and drive your company down the most relevant, effective, and profitable pathways to achieve business goals.
If you want to grow your business through social listening, talk to our team today!
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