5 Reasons Why Social Listening Is Your Brand’s Best Friend

Listening is the key to effective communication. Don’t you agree? So, when brands are trying to communicate with their audience through social media, listening to their customers makes a whole lot of difference. That’s social listening in a nutshell. 

In a world where everyone has an opinion and social media happens to be the place where these opinions are shared, the best way to gather marketing insights will be to listen to these opinions. 

But then there’s social monitoring that people talk about all the time. Are social listening and social monitoring one and the same? What do brands gain from listening to their customers on social media? That’s exactly what we are going to answer in this blog. So by the time you finish reading this blog, you’ll have a clear picture of whether or not to consider investing in social listening for your business. 

What is social listening anyway? 

To answer this, we’ll ask you a question. How do you know which of your brand’s products your customers love the most? Tracking the bestsellers of course. 

But if we had to ask you what customers feel about this bestseller or what makes them buy it or even what makes them choose your brand for that product rather than going with your competitor, would you be able to answer that instantly? Probably not. But when you incorporate social listening in your marketing strategy, you’ll be able to. 

So, to define social listening in simple terms, it is about monitoring and analyzing all conversations about your brand on social media. In fact, the scope here expands beyond your brand, to conversations about:

  • Your competitors 
  • The industry your business belongs to 
  • A particular niche you wish to explore or expand to 
  • Particular products or services of your business that you wish to improve 

All of these conversations matter. Because we all know that marketing goes way beyond the buzzwords. 

Moreover, about 61% of businesses have a strategy for social listening. Do you have one for your business yet? If not, it’s time to think about it. 

One last thing – how do you perform social listening? Many tools are available for this like Sprinklr, BrandWatch, TalkWalker, SproutSocial, HubSpot, Awario, Tailwind, and others. They make it simpler to identify and track the right parameters to leverage social media for better customer understanding. With the reporting features on these tools, you can also capitalize on the captured data and take further action. 

The social listening vs. social media monitoring difference 

Most brands track comments, brand mentions, and posts where people tag the brand. Without a doubt, these are great places to find out what your customers are talking about your brand. 

However, a lot of talking actually happens outside of your social media pages. And sometimes, the most honest opinions about your brand and the most useful feedback lie within these conversations that happen outside. Social monitoring does not tap into this secret pool of customer feedback. But social listening does. 

Social media monitoring involves using tools to understand the engagement on your social media page. This is about tracking likes, shares, comments, and other attributes that are immediately visible. It does not go beyond that. 

However, social listening adds an extra layer to monitoring in the form of analytics. It takes these reports generated from monitoring your social media pages and helps you gather useful information to create better posts and also to serve your customers better. Social listening also incorporates strategies to keep track of content on social media that does not directly tag your business page on social media. 

With the fundamentals out of the way, let’s now talk about the benefits of leveraging social listening. 

Social listening – 5 irresistible benefits you should know about

In the past, brands worried about customers ranting about a poor experience to their friends and family. But now this happens on a larger scale. When something goes wrong with brand experience, customers can let the world know – and that’s because of social media and its reach. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. 

Good thing because you can quickly read the pulse of your audience and therefore optimize your marketing strategy. Bad thing because your competitors, your investors, business clients, partners, and prospective leads can all see these conversations and judge your business. 

You cannot change what customers talk about your business on social media. But you can definitely change how you react to it and how you take steps to change these negative reviews into positive ones. Social listening gives you the power to act promptly. 

While that summarizes the strengths of social listening, let’s talk about some more of these benefits in detail. 

1. Create campaigns that make heads turn 

Some brands take years to attain popularity. While there are a few that manage to grab the attention of the social media crowd in split-seconds. The difference often lies in a creative campaign idea. Social listening is one of the most useful sources of such ideas. And sometimes it can be a tool to help you execute these ideas. 

We’ll give you an example. 

The above video shows a brilliant campaign by Kleenex. Kleenex used social listening to keep track of statuses that mentioned some kind of sickness. None of these statuses directly mention Kleenex or even the product it’s known for. But by listening to a particular topic of focus and making customers feel pampered in their time of need, the brand made a difference. 

Similarly, if you are looking to come up with a campaign that will impress your audience, social listening helps. 

And once you have the idea you need the right designs to bring those ideas to life. Unlimited designs for your brand at a flat monthly fee are just a free trial away! 

2. The ability to act fast when disaster strikes 

Despite meticulous planning, sometimes the seemingly unnoticed details mess with a campaign. Sometimes it is about perceptions. The way your brand perceives an ad or the message in it might not always be the same as how your customers perceive it. 

Yes, marketing is trial and error, and always a work in progress as we all know. Sometimes, a brand’s ad or campaign sparks negative criticism. The brand gains negative virality. But how the brand reacts to it and how quickly it reacts to it make a big difference. Social listening is often that one little trump card that helps you make a quick move, also the right one, when disaster strikes. 

Pepsi’s ad from 2017, featuring Kendall Jenner, received a lot of backlash online. In response, Pepsi took down this ad. 

Not all social media conversations about the ad tagged the Pepsi account. And yet the brand managed to capture the intensity of the backlash through social listening. Pepsi also took to Twitter to clarify the idea behind the ad. 

Kimp Tip: In marketing, mistakes happen. Sometimes, the simplest solution to such mistakes will be to acknowledge them and add the learnings to your brand guidelines so that none of your future ads tread the same path. 

3. Make changes to enhance customer experience 

Brands are always on the lookout for ideas for upgrading their existing products/services to enhance customer experience. But an upgrade actually makes sense only when you change what customers don’t like about your products/services. Without understanding this if you happen to change what customers love the most about a particular product/service, it backfires.

We’ll give you an example. Let’s say you own a coffee shop and your coffee shop’s unique seating arrangement is something that customers love. What if you change this as a part of renovating your space and call it an upgrade? If the familiarity is snatched away from your consumers, they no longer connect the way they usually did. 

However, take the case of a particular aspect of your coffee shop customers don’t like, say the attitude of your staff. If you make visible changes to it and make customers know about this, they realize that you are listening to them. When they feel acknowledged, when they know that their opinions count, they connect with the brand better. 

Understanding such nuances of customer experiences is only possible through social listening. The below Tweet, for example, announces the introduction of a feature that customers have been asking for. Such insights are available when you listen to your customers. 

Kimp Tip: Major changes are easy to notice but minor ones sometimes go unnoticed. If these changes were executed based on the opinions your customers voiced, let them know. Social media, again, is a great platform for this. Use video teasers or even simple image posts to let customers know of the change and the reason behind the change. 

And just in case you need help with creating those social media designs, the Kimp team is here. 

4. Tackle brandjacking to save your brand image 

We spoke about brands receiving backlash for the content they post. However, there have been instances where brands faced public outcry for the content they didn’t post. Yes, we are talking about brandjacking. 

Brandjacking is when a brand becomes a victim of identity theft. This does not always have to involve the brand’s social media pages from getting hacked. Sometimes it is about imposters creating fake pages similar to the brand’s original page or posing like the brand and responding to comments or even creating controversial content, including memes. 

A few years ago, H&M fell prey to one such brandjacking instance. Memes were circulating featuring a controversial hoodie in what appears like a snapshot from the H&M website. The brand was criticized for the same. But it was later revealed that the image was digitally altered and that there was no such product in the H&M catalog. 

H&M clarified to Reuters that the image was fake and that it goes against what the brand stands for. 

For large global brands, it’s hard to miss anything that people speak about them. Because even the smallest conversation gets blown out of proportion and makes headlines. However, that’s not the case with smaller businesses. Without social listening, it’s tough to identify and quickly tackle such brandjacking events. 

5. Create successful product strategies 

When you want to introduce a new product but don’t know which variant to go with or want to diversify your portfolio but don’t know which category to explore, social listening has all your answers. 

Sometimes, the best product strategy can also open the doors to increased brand love. L’Oréal Paris introducing the “world’s first DIY ombré solution” in response to a sudden rise in the ombré hair trend almost a decade ago, is a classic example of how social listening helps you become a trendsetter. 

The brand used search trends to understand the new runway look that people were talking about. Having identified the trend that its target customers were talking about, the brand went on to identify aspects of the trend that people discuss the most. One of them was the interest in creating ombré but the lack of resources thereof. The brand went on to tap into this gap in the market and came up with its successful DIY ombré solution

Similarly, social listening helps you identify the right product strategy for success. Instead of creating new products and figuring out ways to sell them, you are creating products that customers are already searching for. That’s brilliant marketing, don’t you agree? 

Put your social listening insights to good use 

Weighing all these benefits, if you finally take that step and invest in a social listening tool, you are on the right track. From there, all it takes is a solid social media content plan to take your ideas forward. Social listening can be a good source of content ideas as well. When you are creating content that customers are looking for, you get the engagement that you are looking for. Design happens to be one of the most significant details of executing your social media ideas. And so, having a dedicated design team to take care of all your social media graphics can make it so much simpler to put your social media listening insights to good use. 

Want to work with a dedicated design team and create unlimited designs every month at a flat monthly rate? Get Kimp. 

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