What Is Social Listening & Why Is It Important
Good listeners make successful leaders is an adage which has proven to be true on many instances. Being able to listen to the various stake holders and develop strategies in line with them has consistently driven businesses towards success.
Business organizations have long developed various mechanisms to understand the market trends and include these observations into their business strategies. The current generation of business organizations face a slightly different proposition. The market place has now largely moved online.
This warrants businesses to develop mechanisms which can help them listen to and understand their customers on these online platforms. Hence for the current times, it is important that Social listening platforms are developed which can facilitate connecting the organizations with the online users.
Before we dwell into why Social Media listening is important and the various social listening objectives that help businesses, let us first understand what is meant by social listening.
Understanding Social Listening
Social listening is a mechanism which enables the tracking of the various conversations which take place on social media on varied topics. The key idea of this process is to analyse these conversations and develop insights which would help businesses to develop their business strategies.
Various social listening tools are employed for this process.
Why to do Social listening
Business organizations stand to gain by employing social listening strategy in the process of making business decisions. The importance of being responsive and engaging online is something which is understood by most of the businesses. Social listening takes this to the next level .
Each conversation with the customer is not just a touch point but also a source to gain information on the preferences, their feelings towards the product / service etc.
The benefits of social listening are manifold and with the right process in place, can play a key role in the developing business strategies.
Let us look at few reasons why social listening is important for businesses :
- Developing Social media strategy
Social media is where the competition is now played out. Having a social media advantage is critical to stay ahead of the competition. By integrating Social listening tools will help in determining the strategy to be followed on social media.
You would gain insights into aspects like – what are the social media platforms the consumers use now, which social media platforms are popular across different demographics, the online strategies of the competitors, the feel customers have towards the brand etc.
Using and effective social listening technology will enable to gain the maximum utility and developing social media strategies.
- Reputation of the Brand
The reputation of a brand plays a key role in retaining the current customers and to reach out to potential new customers. There are multiple instances wherein negative impression on the brand has severely affected the fortunes of businesses.
Social listening enables to keep a track of the various conversations that happen about a specific brand. Social media consulting firm facilitate conversations and there is scope where there is a negative conversation happening about the brand.
By gaining information of such talk on social media, organizations can now act swiftly and control any damage or avert potential damage to the brand reputation.
Different social listening examples stand a testimony of such benefit to the organization.
- Measuring the performance
Apart from helping in developing longer term social media strategies, the insights gained from social listening can also help in determining the shorter term business strategies.
Through social listening platforms, businesses can understand the response that their products or services are gaining in the market. The insights could include – the acceptance or rejection of the product, reasons which encourage or discourage the customers to buy the product, the enhancements which customers are looking out for etc.
These insights help to measure the performance of their product and take business decisions accordingly.
This information plays a key role in developing a product which could be an enhancement of the current one or a totally a new product.
- Competitor watch
Running a successful business is not just about doing good, a lot depends on doing better than the competition.
Social listening helps to understand not only what customers are taking about us but also the talk that goes around about the customer. It provides insights into why customers prefer the competitors or what are the different social media strategies that competitor is employing etc.
This would help to relook into the product or service you offer and develop it to suit the preferences of the customers. Social listening insights relating to the competitors would also help in bench marking your products and services with those of the customers.
This information would also help in devising an effective social media strategy which would provide an online advantage over the competition.
The volume of the conversation which your brand has versus the volume of the conversation your competitors are having, the social media platforms which your competitor is doing better than you, the positive or negative online vibe of yours vs the competitor etc are few of the metrics that can be looked at.
Various social media tools help in gaining these insights.
- Identifying the online influencers
Influencers play a key role in influencing the preferences and choices of the customers. There are various online influencers with considerable following who can determine the success and acceptability of a product.
The influence that such individuals can exert varies as per the product segment as well as the social media platform.
By social media listening, such influencers can be identified and reached out to promote the brand or the product online.
While we now understand the importance of social listening, the big question which comes up is “How to do social medial listening ? “. The good part is that there are various tools and services offered by social listening platforms like hootsuite social listening , which help in not only having the process in place but also develop insights from social listening.