Your launchpad to success on social media: Why you should leverage social listening?

Ever used Netflix Socks? Don’t worry, we won't judge you. And if you don’t know what those are, well maybe you need to wake up :). These cool smart socks detect that you snoozed while binge watching a TV show, automatically pause the show while you catch a wink. How did they come up with this idea? Netflix used social listening to listen to user chatter and comments posted online, to figure out that people nod off while binge watching TV shows, which caused them to miss episodes. They used this knowledge to create Netflix socks so that viewers don’t miss out on episodes. By keeping consumers engaged with witty posts and social media content,  listening to the audience and their needs, tracking product mentions, and collaborating with influencers to increase engagement, Netflix has become a dominant streaming platform across the world. The growth is phenomenal, considering that they had a little more than 34 million subscribers in 2013, but have crossed 238 million subscribers in 2023.

To take a page out of the immensely successful Netflix social media story, social listening is one of the key strategies that brands need to adopt to learn about their audience. Social listening involves tracking the brand’s social media channels for conversations related to the brand - keywords, hashtags, competitor mentions, direct product mentions, tags, and so on.  With social listening, brands get invaluable insights into user sentiments in real time. Why is this important? Strategic social listening helps brands analyse consumer conversations to result in a more effective social media strategy. Taking the guesswork out of marketing strategies, it helps brands understand topics that consumers are passionate about, pain points experienced by users, the marketing campaigns that resonate with the audience, and how to stay ahead of the competition. With social listening, brands can make informed marketing decisions that result in effective marketing strategies and better return on investment (ROI).

Whilst social media monitoring is more of a reactive strategy such as addressing customer complaints or responding to positive feedback, social listening helps brands understand the bigger picture. Both social monitoring and social listening are important to the overall social media marketing strategy.

Benefits of social listening

Social listening provides a high-level perspective to brands, helping them discover new opportunities, optimising existing products and providing the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with both collaborators and customers.

Understand consumer needs: Social listening helps brands obtain a better understanding of what consumers are looking for. With the right data points, this can translate into the development of new products.  L'Oreal, a top cosmetic company, uses social listening to fuel its product development. Way back in 2011, the brand used a combination of social conversations, and user-generated content on YouTube, analysed Google trends and collaborated with influencers to understand which hair-colour trends were the “most-wanted”, and developed a new ombre hair colour product, which went on to become a trendsetter. The brand also believes that with an accelerated consumer purchase path, collaborating with social media influencers and bloggers, and monitoring social media conversations helps them maintain a link to their consumers. Social listening also helps brands understand the pain points of users. When users are frustrated, they may directly complain on the brand page, or simply vent on social media. Social listening can help to respond to the customer quickly to provide resolutions. In the longer term, such data can be used for making product improvements.

Track brand perceptions: Social listening helps to understand where the brand stands currently with the audience. By listening to social conversations, brands can understand the current customer sentiment. For example, if the user engagement is unusually high, then brands can analyse the reasons – is it a new product launch, or specific marketing campaigns that worked? Likewise, if there is disengagement, then it calls to modify marketing strategies, optimise campaigns, and so on. Negative brand perception is also an early warning sign of a dip in revenues and growth.

Cultivate relationships and collaborations: Rather than viewing social listening as a selling tool, brands must use it as a platform to develop long-term customer affiliations and partnerships with influencers and bloggers, who can take the brand further. By simply responding to customer opinions and queries, rather than doing a hard sell, brands can build a symbiotic relationship with customers. Monitoring social media conversations also helps understand the people who drive opinions in the industry, and reaching out to such influencers can improve both brand reach and perception.

By integrating social listening data, customer relationship management (CRM) systems and analytics platforms,* companies can optimise their social media and content strategy, identify potential leads and drive conversions. Brands need to become an integral part of social media conversations and leverage social listening for business intelligence.

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