What is Social Listening and 9 reasons why you should start using it

What is Social Listening and 9 reasons why you should start using it

Social listening is the act of monitoring your brand’s social media accounts and channels to search for customer feedback and give appropriate responses.

Customer Experience

Tiago Youssef

Tiago Youssef

June 17, 2020

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Being all ears to your customers has amazing benefits. It increases customer acquisition and makes them brand loyal. It also improves branding strategies and gives you powerful insights about your industry, connecting you to new market opportunities.

If you don’t want to miss out on these benefits, you better start embracing social listening. 

Reputation is critical to any company that is willing to increase customer loyalty and build confidence in the market. With the many digital channels that allow conversations between customers and brands, organizations from the B2C and B2B sectors work hard to be positively recognized by potential and current clients. One efficient way of generating awareness is to have a strong social media presence and reach out to customers with helpful and engaging interactions.

Still, these interactions can only be valuable if brands are ready to actively listen instead of guessing what people want. 

When customers talk to you, whether they’re feeling good or bad about your brand, they expect you to talk back accurately. The last thing you want is to make them feel like you don’t care about what they have to say — or that you’re not making any effort to understand what they mean.

And that is why you should start using social listening.

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What is social listening?

Social listening is the act of monitoring your brand’s social media accounts and channels to search for customer feedback and give appropriate responses. 

In order to social listen, you firstly need to track your brand’s mentions and discussions, which can be done by social media monitoring tools. Only then, you’ll manage to do its core task: analyze conversations’ context to make better and more proactive communication decisions.

Think about an ordinary conversation. When someone talks to you, you listen before replying, right? You do that because you know dialogues and interactions won’t make sense unless you assimilate what’s being stated. When it comes to brands and consumers communicating with each other, the line of thought is the same.

By being an active social listener, you’ll be able to reply to some very important questions: Why are people talking about you? Where and how are they doing it? What do they truly want? How can you connect with them?

These questions can lead to a powerful understanding of how to improve content for your customers, create better relationships with your followers, and increase consumer satisfaction.

We separate social listening into four important actions: find, listen, understand, and take action.

  • By finding, you monitor and track the right places and discussions that gravitate around your brand.
  • By listening, you pay attention to what is being said.
  • By understanding, you address issues that are being presented and collect important feedback.
  • By taking action, you work on solutions that will remedy the situation and make your customers happier.

Practice makes perfect, so make sure you find, listen, understand, and take action continuously.

Why is social listening important?

When customers talk, they’re doing an amazing job for you. Their feedback lets you know what you should keep and what you should change in your business. If you listen clearly to consumers and give them what they need in return, they will remember you for solving their problems. Now, try ignoring customers to see how bad it can get. An unresponsive customer service approach will cost you a high number of consumers that will never do business with your brand again.

A bad brand reputation can be a way to downfall, and we are not exaggerating. Remember what happened to Kodak? It once led the photographic film market but failed to understand people were growing more and more fond of digital photography and went bankrupt. 

We have to emphasize that customer-centric cultures have never been so popular. By putting customers at the center of everything they do, these cultures put efforts into anticipating consumers’ needs and creating proactive strategies to give them what they want: new products, services, loyalty programs, and much more.

Information is everywhere and anywhere and it’s vital to track your brand’s social media to try and be wary of what people are saying about and to you. And that is the very least.

9 reasons why you should use social listening

Ahead, we give you detailed reasons why you should embrace social listening to proactively respond to your followers and consumers.

1. Customers expect you to speak out accordingly

Responsiveness is very important, as your audience expects you to speak out when relevant discussions and events take place. In 2018, a survey made by Clutch; discovered that 76% of people expect brands to reply on social media. When we talk about millennials, 80% of takers expect brands to reply and 90% want to get an answer on the same day.

However, recall that an inappropriate response will only frustrate your customers, no matter how fast you’re able to reply.

If you want to make your clients brand loyal and boost customer retention, you better start replying accordingly to what they say — and, by accordingly, we mean you have to thoughtfully understand your customers’ issues to shape valuable responses. Keep this in mind: replying is good, but replying accordingly is what social listening is all about.

2. Have a better understanding of your audience

One of the many reasons organizations keep clear interactions with consumers is to generate and gather high-perspective data that maps their concerns and issues. Social listening will guide you to big pictures that exemplify your consumers’ concerns and how you can act on them.

Combined with the need to have a better audience understanding, social listening offers fresh data to get audience insights related to the public perception of your brand, from competitive analysis — whether in brand or product level — to how marketing campaigns resonate.

By social listening, you can identify demographics, preferences, and customer behaviors as much as the general sentiment about your brand. Once you have tangible reports, you can analyze qualitative data and leverage it to grow your brand strategy and take action.

We will sound obvious, but it’s true: your social listening data will only be valuable if you know what to do with it. For this reason, it is essential to set up a frequency to investigate the information you’re getting and think about how you’ll keep track of the results from time to time.

3. Monitor new industry opportunities

Is there anything that’s trending in your industry that you should know? Any social issue related to your brand that needs to be addressed? Any gap in your sector that people are talking about? Any questions from customers that you can answer better than your competitors? Social listening can help you find the answers to these questions. 

By tracking industry buzzwords and trends, social listening will bring you precious insights about your area of expertise and shed light on discussions that can be amazing opportunities for your brand. That is an efficient way to keep a hear out for market trends, discover what’s lacking in your industry and what you can do to innovate and attract more customers. 

4. Keep track of your brand’s health

Social listening is an effective way of developing better elements that shape your brand in customers’ minds. As soon as you continuously keep track of what people say on the internet, you’re able to make sense of what and how users would like your brand to communicate. Attentively listening to consumers’ feedback is essential to come up with interesting brand strategies.

Social listening is also an excellent way of providing constant investigation towards bad reviews and comments that can affect your brand negatively. Never forget that anything can go viral on social media. Unhappy customers and displeased staff members know they can freely express themselves on online networks and be heard. Social channels empower their voices and reach people who might be going through the same issues. With that in mind, it is completely possible that a single complaint could be reinforced by others and create unwanted attention. 

Being ready to address brand disasters and manage a crisis isn’t overreacting in this fast-paced environment we call the internet — and, trust us, you’ll be glad to have the right tools and tactics to deal with harmful posts and remedy the damage. 

It’s true that you won’t be able to control everything people say about your brand, but you can control how you react to it and mitigate the negative impact. Learn with your previous experiences and prepare not to just reply to undesirable controversy, but to avoid it before it happens. For example, if your launch sales were affected because your website was down, you better start looking for infrastructure tests that will strengthen your website and avoid outages. 

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5. Increase customer acquisition 

Another reason you should embrace social listening is that data provided by it will lead you to create content people care about. When you start shaping your content to followers’ preferences, chances are you’ll attract more users that connect with you and have a genuine interest in what you have to say. 

You already know it — expressing your brand message in social media through responses, hashtags, live streaming, and more, calls the attention of content viewers and make it easier for you to convert them into leads. This works better than driving traffic through ads to people who have never heard of you before.

Pay attention to what audiences are looking for and what type of content they enjoy viewing and sharing. Photos, videos, mentions, polls… All of these are instruments you can use to increase customer acquisition smartly and more humanly.

Quick example: Netflix is one of the top-references for brands that want to stand out on social media and attract public attention. With unique humor, Netflix memes its own shows, retweets Netflix-related posts made by followers, and replies with a tone its audience can positively connect with. 

6. Keep old customers engaged

It is quite simple to understand how social listening can help you maintain old customers engaged and retained. If you ignore what consumers say when they reach out to you, it shows you don’t care about their experiences. By neglecting them, you’re paving the way for your customers to switch for competitors that are ready to offer valuable interactions.

Recall that many consumers’ stories are being told on social media, especially those where customers need your support. It isn’t unusual for clients to reach out to brands on Twitter or Instagram to get an issue addressed. Actually, they message and mention your brand on those channels because they expect you to reply and solve their problems quickly. No one has the time and patience it takes to hang on the line anymore. The good news is that social listening can absolutely help you to excel at fast, assertive support, and keep old customers engaged.

Engaged customers are more likely to be brand loyal, especially when you can keep meaningful interactions going on and offer them what quench their thirst for information, interactivity, and good customer experience.

7. Address common issues

If the same questions are made by your customers over and over, how can you make it easier for them to find the answer? If a considerable number of buyers are complaining about the same products, how can you give them a detailed, honest assessment of the problem? These are more questions you can wisely reply to by social listening.

If the big picture tells you your customers have the same common issues, maybe it is time to find out how to solve those issues and respond effectively to them.

Monitoring social media accounts to find these types of problems can make you arrive earlier in the game to prevent more consumers from being affected and provide the right solution to solve the issues of those who have already reached out for support.

8. Get quick feedback

From knowing how you can improve your products to where your audience is willing to communicate with you, feedback can give you constructive criticism about mostly anything. 

Launched a new product? Want to know how your brand positioning is doing? Have doubts if the last live event you promoted is matching your followers’ expectations? What people post on social media will certainly help you get a clear idea about those, and more.

Plus, if customers are talking about something that’s not working, you should be the first to know. Make sure to take their considerations into account and acknowledge their feedback, then start working on what will fix the problem. A new feature? A new product? A new campaign? Getting feedback — and, most importantly, fast feedback — will help you find your consumers’ pain points and understand how to solve them.

Quick example: Starbucks recently released an open letter based on a user’s negative feedback regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. After social listening to the critique, Starbucks used a respectful tone and gave an immediate solution to what the customer was talking about, showing how its employees can now support the movements while working. 

Don’t forget that positive feedback is important too. If customers love a campaign or the tone you’re using to reply to them, make sure you get it to generate more content that will match their preferences.

9. Identify influencers and user-generated content

You won’t be surprised by the fact social networks are full of potential influencers that can help you promote your brand — or threat it. Remember that even people who only had good experiences with your brand can be influenced if someone important they follow feels bad about you (and good about your competitors).

Another social listening advantage is that it allows you to track user-generated content to keep your followers updated. Being continuously connected to monitor what digital influencers say and do will lead you to understand who you can partner with. Search for hashtags, keywords, accounts, and more to keep your brand aware of what’s going on in real-time. You can also start mapping people who your audience connects with and listen to what they say so you don’t miss out on collaboration opportunities.

The role of social listening on live streaming

It’s no secret to you that people love when you go live and cover news and events as they happen. Live streaming has become extremely popular in the last years and it is a gold mine for brands that want to keep relevant by connecting with customers in real-time. The spectator customer profile is being replaced by the active customer, who wants to join brands in emotional and thrilling experiences.

But how do live events and streaming connect with social listening? Well, social listening is a powerful tool when it comes to combining the right strategies to go live.

From sports games to elections, live streams are effective event coverage mechanisms that allow customers to participate in what’s going on even if they’re far away. Meanwhile, social listening uses social streams to monitor and interpret the viewers’ behavior and comments to get insights.

When done right, social listening can be unbeatable in content creation. The reason why is that live streaming gives you engaging methods, such as live discussions and Q&As, that will transform into data — and, as you know, social listening will turn data into action. 

At Arena, we recognize the power of social listening in social streams and event monitoring.

Our social monitoring stream tool publishes content from different sources automatically or manually and provides results coming in real-time. You can adapt filters and search parameters to improve results and post the freshest content to engage your audience. Besides, our social stream feature easily integrates your search stream with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, and more personalized RSS feeds.

[Real case example]

Grow your brand by social listening

We’re a bit biased, it’s true, but Arena is ready to empower companies to grow their audience in their websites by creating meaningful live experiences.

So, if you’re considering having a social monitoring stream and finding interactive ways to get in touch with your followers, we recommend you keep an eye on ongoing discussions related to your brand and make your own website the go-to place for relevant, instantaneous content.

It’s easier to be an authority in your field when you’re able to mix different sources and formats automatically into your website, all while providing your customer with an exclusive space for debating and chatting. Fortunately, we have the perfect tool that will do that for you.

A live blog will give your brand the chance to use a smart variety of tools to cover a particular event and engage users that are watching remotely.

By using it, you can publish news to your website as they happen, all while adding users’ reactions from social media and witnessing in-progress-discussions on live chats. Our tool is highly customizable and handles in-feed comments, connects with your video platform, creates polls, and posts social content that engages and keeps your followers updated.

Join us and be able to:

  • Increase time spent on your website
  • Let users engage with your posts
  • Automate content distribution
  • Cover field events that matter to your customers

From bloggers to large enterprises, from Oscars to Super Bowl, Arena is ideal to manage any type of live experience and to help you grow your brand by social listening.

Want to capture audience attention and feed your followers with fresh content at all times? Learn more about the subject in our Live Blog article!

Listen to your audience — and take back its ownership

When talking to your spectators and customers, you assume they’ll talk back to you. This dialog and communication are what, for the most part, define audience engagement.

In general, the question “what is audience engagement” has many different answers, but all of them will lead to the same essence. Keep reading to learn our Ultimate Guide to Audience Engagement.

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