Over time, businesses have come to realize that being active on social platforms is about more than simply broadcasting your brand message and waiting for conversions to happen. As a brand, you need to reach the right people at the right time with the right message, and this is made possible through active social listening.
Social listening - which is slightly different from social monitoring - is the "process of tracking conversations around specific phrases, words or brands, and then leveraging them to discover opportunities to create content for those audiences."
How is Social Listening Different from Social Monitoring?
To quote Dan Neely:
"Monitoring sees trees; listening sees the forest."
Through monitoring, you simply collect every comment and mention with brand-related keywords. But through listening, you analyze the data, look for patterns, derive insights, and drive strategies.
What Does a Good Social Listening Tool Offer?
To find a theme and understand patterns, you need an analytics tool that does more than simply collect comments.
Instead of having to read every brand mention and comment, and then trying to decide which ones to reply to, a good listening tool will analyze this humongous data set, finds points of commonality and reveal themes and patterns. Once done, the tool should also provide reports that can be understood easily without having to hire a data expert.
How to Leverage Social Listening to Increase Conversions?
An increasing number of marketers are using social listening tools to not only increase sales, but also to improve product development, content marketing, cross-channel campaigns, and customer service.
Social listening tools are also evolving to cater to the growing complexity of the social landscape and marketer demand for more analytics.
Here are 5 ways in which you can leverage the power of social listening to ultimately increase conversions.
1. Attract New Customers
First create a list of keywords that customers are likely to use when conducting research around a product or a service you are offering. Track these keywords across social media as well as forums. Once you find relevant forums and social media conversations, join them and contribute by offering valuable, relevant advice.
When you do this, you'll be able to find out about customer's needs and expectations. Genuinely offer to help with their problems.
Ideally, this process will lead to some interested members to join your database to try your product. You can connect with them individually to offer any help they might require.
Listening to non-customers can also provide valuable insights as to why they aren't buying your products or services. These insights an help you tweak your product/service by adding the functionality they desire, if possible.
2. Identify Influencers and Brand Advocates
You already likely know the "big" influencers in your niche, but social listening can help you to identify which influencers are actually sharing your content. This can be particularly helpful during a product launch - track the title of your press release to see who's sharing it and once you've identified the influencer and his audience, reach out in an effort to establish a relationship.
Brand advocates are essentially happy, satisfied customers, and you want to keep them that way in order to ensure that they sing your praises for a long time. Identify your brand advocates, connect and engage with them and reward them for their loyalty. Ask for their opinions and feedback from time to time. In short, make them feel special and they'll get you more customers.
3. Observe the Competition
Ask any marketer what his top strategies are and tracking what competitors are doing will feature every single time. This is the reason many big players engage in 'corporate espionage.' Of course, we don't want to get into anything murky, but tracking your competition through social listening is easy, and can give you a leg up.
Analyze metrics like 'share of voice,' which essentially refers to the amount of activity that surrounds a particular business. This could include social chatter and brand mentions. If your share of voice is less than that of your competition, it's time to re-evaluate your online strategy.
You can also monitor and analyze the sentiment of comments around your brand as well as your competitors. Be quick to pick up negative sentiments and acknowledge the complaints of the customers.
4. Boost Your Customer Service Efforts
A bad customer service interaction can easily lose a valuable customer. And in the modern, social age, that one unhappy customer can also vent his frustration to a wide audience, deterring others from dealing with you.
It's easy to cater to the complaints and issues that customers bring to you via a dedicated channel, but what of those dissatisfied customers who won't tell you directly, but will go shouting their thoughts all over social media? It's this interaction that makes more noise and can harm your brand credibility. With social listening, you can detect such issues early and, hopefully, nip them in the bud.
Using a simple search terms like, for example, "Don't buy from" along with your brand name, you can establish a list of negative comments and mentions which you can analyze and respond to before they get out of control.
5. Use User-Generated Content Effectively
While it can be great to actually use the content that users post about your products, it isn't possible every time. Sometimes users simply forget to tag you, although they do mention your brand name. research has shown that more than 30% of tweets that mention your brand won't tag your business directly. As such, you need social listening to unearth these great bits of content that you can engage with and even share via your accounts.
Social listening can not only assist in increasing conversions, but it can also help drive innovation, improve problem solving and customer service and provide you with great feedback on your products and services. You can also design and evaluate campaigns and determine what the best way to spend the digital advertising budget will be.
Main image via Ky/Flickr