Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. When it comes to social listening technology, there's plenty of it. And there's no shortage of tools available to get the job done, from free options like Google Alerts and Social Mention, to more robust platforms that organize conversations into smart dashboards or streams (like Sprinklr - a leader among social listening platforms).
Of course, the technology is only as good as the social listening strategy that informs it. Without an approach that sets out to achieve business goals - and ultimately create a better customer experience around your brand - businesses often strike out at being productive social listeners.
To help you start thinking about the next steps in your social strategy, we've crafted a simple Top 10 list of compelling reasons to use social listening.
1. Gain competitive intelligence
The smartest brands are using social listening for competitive intelligence. With the right guiding strategy and measured inputs, social listening can provide a dashboard view of content revealing your competitors' tactics, activity, customer engagement, and overall sentiment.
2. Improve existing marketing efforts
Let's face it, people share just about anything on social media these days. Including what they do or don't like about marketing and advertising practices. Select social listening tools like Sprinklr allow you to understand these preferences and tag them back to CRM to give the customer more of what they want and less of what they don't.
3. Fix problems or flaws
There are countless stories of the power and virality of social sharing pointing out a critical shortcoming in a product or service offering. Apple's #bendgate late last year, during its iPhone 6 release, comes to mind. Better to know and respond early, then to find out too late and suffer.
4. Improve customer service
While most social customer service resolutions are handled by monitoring owned accounts, you can also listen and learn about what customers want or what they're frustrated by outside of your company's social channels, then offer the element of surprise and delight with a solution that eliminates the issue. Think of it as an alternative acquisition strategy.
5. Find new customers
Generating new leads and turning them into lifelong customers is critical for every business. By adding a layer of social media-driven intelligence based on keywords and queries important to your business, you'll be able to track the right conversations and introduce your product in a casual, meaningful and timely way.
6. Pinpoint influencers and empower advocates
It's important to know who likes you, even if they're not @ mentioning you. Social listening lets you follow the share path - so you can connect with influencers and advocates as an additional outlet to help you achieve short- and long-term goals.
7. Recruit better talent
With a heavy focus on using social listening for marketing, business may fail to notice its power for recruiting. They shouldn't. Monitoring conversations, blogs and other communities can be a gold mine for talent acquisition teams.
8. Design and innovate
Using social listening for research and development is possible and scalable. For some businesses, it can help streamline the need for expensive studies and focus groups. We see a tremendous future for R&D using social data points mined from listening.
9. Improve your content marketing game
Social listening queries lead to conversations, which often come with content attached to them. If you're serious about providing the best content possible to your audiences, social listening can be a reliable informant and strong addition to your content curation strategy.
10. Anticipate opportunities
If a competitor falls short, you need to know about it. Listening programs position you to swoop in and save the day. Or in some situations, put more heat on your rivals.
Like the famous line from the 80s earworm "The Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics states, "you can listen as well as you hear." Businesses will quickly find that listening (not just hearing) is as critical as talking in social. With the right strategy and tools, social listening can enable these 10 things and a whole lot more.