Brands have realized that social networks offer an opportunity to interact directly with the consumers. Beyond just trying to interact with a tweet, often a more direct road to social success is to engage with customers more comprehensively in other locations – and social listening shows you the way.
Social media listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of identifying and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand, to determine the volume and sentiment of online conversation about a brand or topic, and devise a strategy that will better influence consumers.
Almost every company is at a different stage of their social business journey. Some are active users while others are thriving across the board. Listen, engage, measure and scale are the important processes while creating customer engagement. People are now using the Internet and becoming increasingly more active online. More than traditional marketing strategies, they trust the experiences (reviews) of customers on Facebook, Twitter, online blogs or discussion boards.
Twitter has emerged as one of the prime locations for social customer service. It has been the arena for explosive episodes featuring companies who ‘don’t get it’ as well as providing some of the best examples of engagement by those that do. While examples of failure are legion, here we’ll focus on what you can do to get it right. Most of the customer service issues that have blown up on Twitter are the result of companies taking too long to respond. Twitter is a near real-time medium (closer to texting than email). As such, customers expect you to reply quickly.
It’s important to know that it’s impossible to join every social network and maintain an active presence. Instead, identify online communities where people have a need for your products and services. Joining those networks will provide the greatest impact for your efforts.
Listening is the first step for marketers looking to truly understand their audience. Monitoring conversations and reciprocating to them is a mutual benefit for both the brand as well as the customer. It helps customers gain the trust in the brand at the time of crisis. Also brands become better informed about what is liked by their audience and what is not, in turn identifying the sentiment of their audience. It also helps the brand build community, start conversations, deepen existing relationships, keep up with brand mentions and watch for customer service opportunities.
For a business to be social, it needs social commitments and perhaps more than anything it needs to move from product or service centric to customer centric because the root for a business is to wake up every day striving to create better more meaningful customer experiences.
About the Author: Zafar Rais is the CEO of Mindshift Interactive and has a experience of 15 years in areas of Marketing, Branding, Business Development, Operations, Research and Product Innovation. Through his entrepreneurial venture he promises to deliver an Insightful Digital Outreach for businesses and create a Social Media presence that is intelligent, impactful, innovative and, most of all, sustained.
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