Social listening: Your brands are being discussed. Are you listening?

Social listening

If you belong to the standard-path crew, you have likely experienced waking up, still nestled in bed, and scrolling through social media with one eye barely open. Our phones are often stormed by notifications from our favourite brands, friends or family, or a trend taking over the internet.

What’s keeping us hooked? Creating an account just isn’t enough. Then what is? From a brand’s customer’s POV, how are we gravitating towards a brand? Likes and dislikes, preferences, needs, innovation, everything in check is certainly a major pull. The deal maker for all brands here is investing time in everything that aids their business. That way, you can certainly have a leg up on your competition against those sans social media.

To testify the fact, a small business, Apricotton, through a social media makeover drove a 108% increase in sales, with the use of customized content and smart analytics. Now that’s how you milk on the platform.  

Social Listening- Upgrade now and elevate your business game 

Social Listening is an intriguing facet of social media marketing. We bet this rings a bell. However, if it doesn’t, we promise you will be propelled to focus on it by the end of this blog.

If you as a brand are on the lookout for something that enables effective decoding of how exactly customers and potential customers think about you, social media listening is coming to your rescue, just master how to correctly access it. A majority of 64% of marketers acknowledge the growing significance of social listening over the past year. It provides brands access to valuable insights into how consumers feel about their products or services, what their pain points are, and what they’d like to see from the brands in the future.

Social listening is proactively and widely being leveraged by market research agencies and companies by analysing what people say about their brands in real-time, for smarter business decision-making, analysis of competition, tracking their engagement and creating a positive impact on their business’s bottom line.

So, is it a marketing automation platform that can do everything? As much as it is a powerful tool, a holistic social listening strategy is required that can elevate the whole experience of a business. Remember, a businessthat lacks a strong abovementioned strategy is seriously trailing behind and forfeiting access to valuable data that could help its growth.

Social listening is not only about tracking mentions but also tracking competing brands, trending content, and sentiment analysis on topics related to their business. That being said, the future of business certainly lies here.

The hidden gems of social listening: Discovering opportunities

Real people actively converse about brands online. If they are not using this market research tool, there’re certainly building business strategies with blinders on. If a brand cares about its customers, they certainly care about the insights it can extract from social media listening.

  • Know your audience and build customer relations:

Social media listening enables a brand to better decode what its audience wants from them. For an instance, people are conversing about Brand X’s product on Twitter or Instagram. They might be appreciating the brand, criticising it, or maybe asking for solutions.

This tool acts as a catalyst for the brands that can seamlessly track their mentions and decipher the garnered information effectively for enhancing customer satisfaction and the brand image.  Eg- Allbirds, an American sustainable footwear brand uses social media listening tools to monitor consumer feedback, track their brand sentiment, and identify opportunities for improvisation.

Additionally, Black Girl Sunscreen, a skincare brand actively focuses on communities that are not aware of sun damage and safety. A non-customer went to her Twitter and asked all the black people if they wore sunscreen. Now, this brand made the right use of the tool without even getting any mention of the brand name, and replied, ‘we sure do’.

Do you see the power of the tool?

  • Ameliorates campaign targeting:

In the current digital era, personalisation is a leading phenomenon. The audience feels valued and heard when brands speak directly to them and do not just churn out general, uninteresting content. Just selling a service no longer engages customers, but creating a dialogue gets the attention and the engagement follows. Personalisation is key to advertising campaigns, especially on social media platforms. Through social listening, the brand not only gets to understand the target audience but also taps into intricate details like why yes and why not, what is resonating and what is not, who is interested and who is not, and how to deliver the best. It’s like a survey that’s 24/7 active in the background.

For eg, if there are more talks surfacing about burnout, a brand can probably build content on work-life balance, that somehow conveys the brand is thoughtful and cares about the well-being of its customers.

Back in 2017, Starbucks stirred up a frenzy with the limited-edition Unicorn Frappuccino, which played on millennials’ penchant for sharing Instagram-worthy food pictures and using scarcity and FOMO to create a viral sensation. Now that’s what we call a savvy marketing strategy.

  • Crisis Management:

Sentiments. Yes, social listening is a fantastic way to track sentiments in real-time. It’s like an early red alert mechanism awakening a brand to the positive or negative changes in how it is perceived online. If engagement is high, look for positive triggers. However, if the sentiment is low, review the social feedback to discover the reason for the downfall. This way, brands can address PR disasters well within time.

For eg, in case of crisis or even negative PR, Nike extensively uses social media listening tools to track the conversations and quickly respond with appropriate actions to mitigate the damage.

  • Product Development:

What better way for brands to receive customer feedback about their products, services, and industry? This tool is an adequate medium, just like focus group discussions or interviews in qualitative research. Brands must listen, observe, and analyse what the consumers are talking about, discover valuable insights and reshape their business strategies in sync with the consumers.

While feedback cannot always be positive, brands must remain prepared for criticism, and not lash on customers with rude comebacks. Instead, engage with them and take constructive feedback since those customers really care. Remember, this criticism is critical to help improvise your overall business.

For an instance, brands often conduct polls, or even do ‘Ask me anything’ questions on Instagram. The intention is to interpret what’s working and what’s not, to solve the trick of what can be done to better customer engagement and customer experience. For eg, a homegrown brand, Vauntskinscare, launched a sunscreen after many recommendations by customers, and paying close attention to its competition. They formulated the product based on the needs of their customers.

  • Collaboration opportunities:

Keeping an eye on social conversations about the industry can help brands understand the potential creators and leaders in their space. Influencer marketing is taking over old means of marketing. Brands can leverage such collaborations and connect with such people for they have a massive influence on how people perceive a brand’s products and services. Consumers believe in people, and not promotions. Therefore, reviews and recommendations of influencers matter.

Collaboration is a two-way street. If a brand is supporting others in its industry, they are more likely to support the brand in return. Therefore, brands must collaborate with people who hold a meaningful place in conversations that resonate with them.

For an instance, Wellbeing Nutrition, a healthcare brand collaborates with celebrities and influencers who are actively engaged in fitness, and who have built a niche following in the healthcare and fitness community.

  • Benchmarking against the competition:

Competition is literally everywhere. And when we talk about brands, just fundamentals won’t solve the puzzle. Trends are constantly evolving, and so should the strategies and approaches. How do brands do that? With social listening, a cherry on top is, brands can also anticipate what consumers think about their counterparts. By closely studying the competition and industry- what they are doing, what innovations they are bringing in, how they are alluring their customers, what are their business tactics and whether there’s any inconvenience being faced by the consumers in real-time. Such look-over provides the brand imperative insights and makes them aware of their place in the market.

Additionally, by measuring the volume of conversation about a brand and its competitors, the brand can swiftly benchmark its social media performance, and know that if it’s not being mentioned or receiving no reviews, consumers are probably looking out for other counterparts who have a substantiate volume of conversation.

  • Tap into market trends:

Trends don’t stay. Something going viral today can blur the next day. The social media landscape is witnessing waves of change. All customers seek the latest news, they want to grab the trending products. Therefore, it is essential for brands to not miss key conversations, and stay on top of the trends, for a strong and fresh content strategy.

Hashtags, music, and relevant keywords related to the industry help brands to gauge the latest trends and have an upper foot. Since trends keep changing, social listening enables brands to forecast future trends by analysing how trends have evolved over time and how conversations have taken a new shape. This way, brands can embrace the topics gaining momentum over those losing steam.

For eg. Mobile phones like Apple, Samsung and Google are always competing and bringing in new features. While Apple follows a yearly cycle for iPhone launch, the entire year is filled with anticipations of what’s to follow, with users bombarding the social media space with their likes and dislikes, and what changes or new features the brand must incorporate in the latest launch.

Not just a trend, but a mainstream phenomenon

Social media is spreading like a wildfire. According to Statista, in 2021, over 4.26 billion people were using social media worldwide, and that’s further projected to be almost 6 billion in 2027. Massive, isn’t it? Via social listening, brands come across people who genuinely love them and acclaim them on social media platforms, thereby gaining an organic following. Such customers are the real brand advocates. The study of social media conversations, keywords, hashtags, reviews, and mentions of a brand empowers them with a better understanding of industry trends, brand reputation, consumer experience and content marketing strategies to cater to the right target market.

Covering over 1 Mn websites along with leading social media platforms, Market Xcel, as a market research company offers web and social media listening services helping you dive into complexities of changing consumer behaviour, tap the consumer pulse, and uncover insights from consumer conversations, thereby helping you stand out and get an edge on your competition. We maintain exclusive social media listening capabilities to help you achieve your brand’s objectives and improve your digital presence. Decoding the why and what of your consumer pattern, we gather qualitative and quantitative data to ensure you a stable market share, customer base, new segments, and higher ROI.