As the world begins to emerge from one of the worst social and economic crises of the century – the Covid pandemic - businesses are facing an uncertain future. In this new reality, where products and services may no longer have the same relevance as they did prior to the outbreak, how can companies adapt?
The number one key to tuning in to customer sentiments is by listening to them
As we’ll discuss in this article, the number one key to tuning in to customer sentiments is by listening to them – something relatively easy these days, thanks to social media and the digital tools we now have to organise that data.
Understanding your audience and the topics that matter most to them is a failsafe way to ensure your voice and values are still as relevant as they possibly can be to the people who you’re trying to engage with.
What social listening is and how to use it
Social listening is the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product and more. It lets brands monitor broader conversations and discover customer opinions, sentiments and expectations of them and others. This information is invaluable for a brand who is considering how to align with audience need states and identify directions to grow in.
Since its inception, social media has served as a global soundboard for sharing. Social listening is the process of monitoring these channels for mentions of brands, topics or conversations related to your brand. It’s a crucial component for audience research and the simplest way to humanise your brand and ‘tune’ your voice.
Some companies inherently understand why they exist and who they are best built to serve—from their customers and workforces to the community— regardless of what they sell. For companies who don’t have a less well-defined, social listening is a useful way to get a better understanding of their target audience and understand the expectations customers have.
If you’re not sure on your position a brand, or where you sit in your customers’ consciousness, social listening can pay dividends
This can be done by:
- Setting up keyword tracking to monitor all mentions that relate to your products and services to understand the demographics of the people talking about your brand
- Researching emerging topics that align with your core values and brand identity
- See what is and isn’t working for your competitors. What people like and what they don’t in your industry
Essentially, if you’re not sure on your position a brand, or where you sit in your customers’ consciousness, social listening can pay dividends.
Finding avenues for growth
Actual customer mentions of brands on social media are few and far between – people have other concerns to express. But if you can identify your customers – and see what’s important to them by listening to their social conversations – that might indicate some promising territories for expansion.
If your customers are into environmental issues, for instance, could you become more environmentally proactive as a brand? If your core company values align with environmental consciousness, this could be a way to develop your brand while also appealing to your demographic.
The important thing to remember, though, is to keep your alignment. Instead of tracking trending/competitor topics and trying to inauthentically work them into your own brand, naturally expand your core values by developing them in the areas that are important to your customers.
Moving from monitoring to action
Social listening provides a way to attentively build and curate a brand that’s fully aligned with your community and tuned in to the broader issues of the day.
Social listening provides a way to attentively build and curate a brand that’s fully aligned with your community and tuned in to the broader issues of the day
This information is the first step, but it needs action to turn it into something that will actively enrich your brand. This might look like developing content in the areas that most relate to your demographic. It might look like actively taking stock of your competition and applying a similar approach. It might even look like starting development on a new product or service that resolves a particular pain point.
Social listening can have a powerful impact on guiding your overall strategy but, for that, it needs to be more than just tracking metrics. Success in this area means analysing long-term patterns and using that insight to find out what your customers (and potential customers) want from you and giving them exactly that.
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