According to the eDigitalResearch 2015 report “The UK Customer Service and Support market”, 10% of UK online shoppers have used social media to contact customer service. A relatively modest figure… but what percentage of them are talking about topics that could potentially interest brands about general trends, product searches or the competition? According to the same report, 38% of UK consumers have already researched a product before buying it on social media.
According to WeAreSocial, social media continues to grow apace around the world, with active user accounts now equating to roughly 29% of the world’s population. In the UK, 38 million have an active social media account, that’s 59% of the population. On average, they spend 2h13 a day on social media (all devices combined). This is time during which your brand can potentially engage with customers and prospects. Figures that highlight the marketing potential of social media.
However,brands still struggle to integrate them within their global customer engagement strategy, throughout the entire purchase journey. They remain focused on the messages that are directly addressed to them, “@brandname, can you help me with this?”.
“Listening to all conversations surrounding a product, a brand or an event represents a huge opportunity for brands online“, explains Simon Robic, an expert in social media customer engagement.
How should I segment social media listening?
So listening to what your online customers and prospects have to say is fundamental. This will enable your brand to build strong relationships and improve your global understanding of your target audiences (brand loyalty, perception of the different products, needs and expectations ). This approach will contribute to placing the customer experience at the heart of brand decisions and innovation thanks to valuable insight into new opportunities.
It’s important to organise your listening strategy by segmenting it into different topics, from the most general to the most specific, tuning in to niche communities.
Listening to conversations related to your industry or to trending topics is the kind of social media monitoring that most requires a smart tool. It is impossible to read all the messages that mention your sector or a hot topic; there are sometimes hundreds of thousands of them on social media!
Listening to everything said about your brand is also extremely important, no matter the stage of your company’s development. You need to be able to answer all these messages, wherever they’re posted and even when they’re not addressed directly to you.
Especially when the messages are negative! Taking part in a conversation in which your brand is being referred to negatively is an opportunity to contribute and positively impact the perception of consumers and in the best case, turn things around. Someone who mentions your brand already knows you and the questions or criticisms they voice are a great chance for your business to engage in conversation, remove friction and maybe even transform the complaint into a conversion!
You also want to keep a close eye on the competition. This way, you will find out how they’re being talked about, what marketing campaigns they’re carrying out, take a look at what seems to be working and what not. All this will come in handy when you speak on behalf of your brand.
You are listening to your brand but you also need to tune in to all mentions of the products you sell. If other companies are already selling a similar product, this is a great chance for you to identify its positive and negative characteristics, based on what online consumers say on social media.
Your industry events
Throughout the year, there are industry events, in your country and abroad. These are a good opportunity to listen in on what is being said, even if you can’t physically be there. The trending topics and speakers can easily be identified and you can then build on this by getting in touch afterwards.
Influencers in your area
Finally, some online consumers are also very much worthwhile following. For example, you can reproduce some of the searches we’ve just mentioned and filter them to focus on the messages published by those who have lots of followers or who are often retweeted. You can also monitor what some of your key customers are saying so that you can react quickly to their posts and maybe even offer new products that meet the needs they express on social media.