When brands think about social networks, they plan a way of broadcasting messages (advertising ones) and of working proximity with their clients and/or prospects. But, in reality, there is another facet, probably more important : discover what is said about your company on the web. As Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos noticed it : « Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the same room”. Room in question being embodied by social platforms (social networks, blogs, forums…).
Technology and uses linked to Internet have permitted to brands to interact in a direct manner with their own clients. On their side, these same clients have obtained, thanks to the advent of social networks, more power against brands. They choose when and where they want to answer to advertising solicitations. They also have possibility to share their own opinion on a brand, a product, or again an experience.
This is why Social listening is crucial in the digital presence’s strategy of a company or a brand. This listening is the way in which the company can follow, analyse and answer to conversations initiated about it on Internet. In the past, only focus groups realized by surveys institutes permitted to collect this type of information. Today there is Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, forums… So many places for digital exchanges where Internet users can express their feelings or experiences and share them with others.
A brand, via the Internet users’ public expression, can obtain an unfiltered feed of comments in real time: find out what they think about the company, what they love or hate, brainstorm for ideas for product or service improvements, or also find out their opinion about competitors. Social listening can thus be used for very different purposes but always in a same goals : having and keeping the advantage.
1. Identify weak signals of a looming crisis and measure its e-reputation
Big companies have started to equip themselves of Social Listening solutions about a decade ago. These vulnerable organization to all-types crisis (scandals linked to Executive Managers, media slander, or also linked to products or services quality problems), should be capable of anticipating weak signals issued by social networks in order to better prepare themselves to confront the wave. This is the first need that motivated companies to use these solutions. Accorded to the 2017’s Clutch’s study, 75% of companies who dispose of a Social Listening tool listen what is said about their company and products, and 44% follow returns linked to company’s Executives Managers (1).
Indeed, platforms such as Twitter or Facebook act as sounding boards capable of amplifying in an uncontrollable manner a crisis’ premises. Adapt itself to this « new world » in which anyone can become a powerful media relay was consequently essential in order to being capable of bringing right solutions. This is the reason why Communication Directions were the first to understand the interest of listening what is said about their brand.
Naturally, over time, related uses emerged. Notion of e-reputation appeared with an increasingly contribution into global image of the company. Thus, the measure of e-reputation has become a central indicator followed by Communications Direction in order to ensure global success of the brand’s strategy. Anticipate and impose its rhythm in order to not undergo, these are the benefits that Social Listening solutions can bring to your company.
2. Customer Care, a valuable contribution to image’s service
Social networks form an integral part of our lives. Our daily consumption has indeed moved from 1h30 to almost 2h30 between 2012 and 2019 (1). This spended time is leveraged for discussing, sharing content or simply “coming see” what the others have to say.
Echoing to e-reputations’ linked problems, listening of social platforms represents for image-conscious about their Customer service’s companies a great source of qualitative feedbacks. 86% of companies who are using a Social Listening solution tune in demands, problems or question s from their clients (still accorded to Clutch’s study). The analysis of these ascent typologies permits to understand when, where and why those are looking for help, and to identify weaknesses of Customer Service for purpose of defining areas of improvement.
Going one step further, organizations dispose of all necessary elements for processing negatives posts. Thus, they can act in order to modify the perception of people exposed to messages, but also to influence the authors’ opinion or even in some cases, transform them in active defender of the brand. Processing of these posts need to defining a clear governance and pre-established processes that frame answers formulated by formed to 3.0 web personal.
On powerful hearing hubs which are social platforms, it is about listening and considering what the client has to say, by bringing solution to its need. Social Listening gives a 360° view of client’s experience. Companies has thus capacity to take from these information for projecting a positive image by ensuring itself that they offer a level of service that answers to their standards no matter what is the point of contact.
3. Detect trends and exploit them for Marketing purposes
Listening is a quality that best sellers know how to use to their advantage to achieve their goals. Thus, Social Listening can also be used in the company’s Marketing strategy.
Market’s solutions bring to their users a qualitative vision of client’s expectations. For example, in an inbound marketing strategy implementation, listening of social platforms is source of information that feed the company with ideas of content, processing angles and adapted broadcasting supports. In order to capture targets’ attention, it is important to know and to understand what are their point of interests, which conversations they have, sniff the air for being capable of initiates with it a bidirectional dialogue that benefits to the brand.
It is not quantity that counts anymore, but it is content that will have to bring a real added value for make an impression to targeted public.
Social Listening also permits to collect useful client insights to product marketing. A brand will be capable of identifying an uncovered need for its range and working towards solving it. It also can locate ideas of improvements on which clients engage conversations, and prioritize their process in function of their volume and observed mentions.
Finally, Social platforms Listening can permit to identify relevant influencers, capable of bringing a strong transfer of value on communities for the benefit of a company. Identification of influencer sis a widespread use : 60% of companies dispose of a Social Listening (1) tool and make use of it.
To conclude, solutions of Social Listening permit to cover multiple needs. The most important question to settle down if we start a reflexion about the use of this type of tool is: “For what purpose do I want to use it?”. Indeed, it is from this objective that the manner in which the organization will use the solution will appear, as well as the manner in which is will be organized for taking expected benefits.
These troubled times have reminded us of how important it is to be able to tackle, adapt and reinvent itself. Companies have to be capable to quickly react in order to hold and maintain their activity, even anticipate. With this in mind, Social Listening tools can be a solution to identify efficient and quick keys to a crisis recovery.
We will discuss about the manner to choose a Social Listening tool in a next to-be-published article.
(1) Why companies should use social listening : 2017 study
When Social Listening permits to avoid the worst.
“During a mission into the Direction of Communication of a big French actor of insurance, I assisted to the launching of a new offer of covering linked to Internet’s dangers. Against all odds, TV spot aroused a flurry of criticism on social networks. Judged anxiogenic by the audience, it has fed hundreds of threads and we had to confront a real unleashing to which we were not prepared.
Listening solution that were implemented has quickly demonstrated us its interest. In 24 hours, we could, thank to collected and analysed datum, built our response strategy by targeting specifically the more influent Internet users. In coordination with the Marketing team and by integrating Internet users’ comments, a spot has quickly been re-worked and its diffusion did not create polemic this time…”
Yann BOUELHARRAG, Manager, AxysConsultants
Published on MyDigitalWeek