Social media provides the consumer a direct line of communication with the brand–in a time when no one wants to make phone calls and be put on hold for hours, sending a DM takes seconds. How fast the brand responds can also influence whether the consumer wants to make the purchase or be involved with the brand. Consumers expect information instantly and they expect it to be accurate as well. “Customers want to feel heard on social media. According to research done by Sprout Social, 83% of respondents like when brands respond to questions, and 68% like when brands join conversations. Being responsive on social media clearly makes a difference; after all, 48% of customers make a purchase with a brand who is responsive to its customers and prospects on social media.” (Amaresan, 2020)
I have personally put off reaching out to brands to discuss issues I’ve had because the only way to get to them is via phone and I have no patience to be put on hold and have to explain myself ten different times as I continuously get transferred. If these brands had social media channels, I’d be able to reach out to them directly and hope for a quick response. Social media platforms allow brand supporters to discuss, share and converse in their support of the brand. It’s a great way to engage with the consumers and really tap into their thoughts–what’s working and what’s not working? What do they hope to see change? What are some obstacles they are facing with the products? There really isn’t any other way to collect this type of data and that’s what makes social media such a great platform for businesses. But having a social media platform isn’t enough–businesses need to listen to what their consumers are saying and then act on it.
Hootesuites Tony Tran defines social listening in the following, “Social listening is when you track your social media platforms for mentions and conversations related to your brand. Then you analyze them for insights to discover opportunities to act.”
The analysis can provide essential data and drive the brand to make changes to either increase sales, increase brand engagement, promote a campaign or whatever other marketing goals the company has set. Consumers are the driving force behind successful businesses–so it’s incredibly important to listen to what they have to say and continue to expand through these different social media channels. Consumers are also a great way to promote a brand and influence purchases–if customers love your products, they will boast about it to friends and family, “…49% of consumers seek guidance from social media influencers before making a buying decision.” (Clootrack)
MarketingLand outlines a few other reasons why social media listening is so important:
- Reputation Management: “This is one of the most common reasons companies use social listening. Businesses monitor mentions of their brand and products to track brand health and react to changes in volume of mentions and sentiment early to prevent reputation crises.”
- Competitor Analysis :What are your competitors doing differently? What are they doing that’s the same?
- Product Feedback: What are people saying about a new product or service you released?
- Customer Service: Answer questions and engage with your audience, comment and share!
- Lead generation: Did someone post about how crowded and dirty LA Fitness is? Another gym could jump in with pictures of their pristine facility and win a new customer over (personal experience with this).
- PR: Where is your brand being mentioned in press releases and articles?
- Influencer Marketing: If Barack Obama posted that Coke is better than Pepsi, I’d willingly give up my Pepsi(maybe).
- Research: What are people saying about literally anything, online
Case In Point
I visit the gym fairly regularly, but my routine was getting boring and I hit a plateau with my weight loss, so I began searching different types of workouts and different machines to use as well as different diets, I did this on various social media platforms as well as good ol’ google. I began seeing more ads on Facebook for healthy recipes and home gyms including ads for ellipticals and other high-end cardio machines. I then took an interest in rowing machines and began researching the topic including how to formulate my own workout, what the cost would be to purchase a rower for my home and what the benefits are of rowing. One day as I was scrolling through Facebook an ad popped up for RowHouse–a studio built entirely for rowing!
I’ve currently rowed 30,284M aiming for my 50K and down 5lbs in less than a month.
Social listening was definitely happening–whether it was because I was browsing for workouts on Pinterest, asking for recipes on Facebook and scrolling through Instagram to learn new techniques at the gym—it all came together and presented me with an ad for a service that fit right into my life and what I was looking for. Ads for meal services did come up as well, but I wasn’t too interested at those and they magically stopped bombarding my social media platforms with ads.
Needless to say, I’m very happy to have been introduced to RowHouse—but also slightly terrified at how I was being tracked. The point here is that because of social listening and strategy, a business earned a new customer—imagine if other businesses followed the same strategies and earned more new customers as well!
5 Ways for Leveraging Social Media to Drive Results for Your Business – GRIN – Influencer Marketing Software. (2019, August 23). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://grin.co/blog/5-ways-for-leveraging-social-media-to-drive-results-for-your-business/
Amaresan, S. (2018, August). What Is Social Listening & Why Is It Important? Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://blog.hubspot.com/service/social-listening
Comcowich, W. (2020, September 11). 12 Ways Social Media Listening Can Benefit Your Business. Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://glean.info/10-ways-social-media-listening-can-benefit-your-business/
Davis, J. (n.d.). Social Media Gives Consumers and Brands a Direct Connection. Retrieved 2020, from https://ducttapemarketing.com/empowerment-social-media/#:~:text=Through%20social%20media%20outlets%2C%20consumers,and%20opinions%20can%20be%20voiced.
Day, S. (2019, September 19). Social listening: What it is, why it matters, and how to do it. Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://marketingland.com/social-listening-267175
How does social media influence consumer behavior? (n.d.). Retrieved 2020, from https://clootrack.com/knowledge_base/how-does-social-media-influence-consumer-behavior/
Meyer, E. F. (n.d.). How To Leverage Social Media To Build Brand Loyalty. Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.prismglobalmarketing.com/blog/how-to-leverage-social-media-to-build-brand-loyalty
Sprout Social. (2020, June 10). Social Media Listening: What You Need to Know to Get Started. Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://sproutsocial.com/social-listening/