In this digital era, every brand that is online must engage in social listening. Social listening is the process of monitoring what customers (and the public at large) are saying about a brand and sector on social media.
The public controls what they say and publish about a brand on digital channels. They can speak freely, and decide whether to be anonymous. This means social listening is important for managing your brand’s reputation. Remember these 5 important tips:
Always turn data into insights.
Social listening provides a vast amount of data. This data is only useful when it is converted into insights that guide strategic actions. Insights gained from social listening include market research, through public conversations about a brand and industry at large. The benefits are greatest when a brand doesn’t only look for mentions of itself, but whole industry keywords, topics and competitors. Then, investigate sentiment and uncover trends that are meaningful for the brand’s next steps in managing its reputation.
Sharpen community management.
When customers interact with a brand online, they appreciate great customer service through community management. Strong community management helps customers to feel their needs are being attended to by the brand. For this reason, community management helps build a brand’s reputation. Social listening allows for valuable completion of community management tasks, such as identifying customer pain points and responding to complaints and questions. When you notice a particular conversation about your brand popping up, use community management to ensure that you address the root of the narrative. The conversation can be positive or negative- either way your brand stands to gain.
Compare and adjust
Social listening helps to identify customer feedback about a brand\’s products and services. This allows a brand to compare itself against competitors and adjust accordingly. What are you doing well, or what do you need to improve compared to competitors? Social listening also helps pinpoint industry trends and changing consumer tastes. Harness this information into strategic action points.
Ultimately, a brand builds its credibility when customers have confidence in its actions. Similarly, if a brand falls short, the public must believe that the brand is working to rectify the issue. Social listening is a key ingredient for providing what customers want in the digital age. It also helps bring issues to light very quickly. By identifying sentiment and trends, a brand can create new content and products, come up with new ideas, improve customer experience offline and shift customer strategy in line with user feedback.
Strengthen crisis management.
Trends and patterns help to uncover reputational risk for a brand. Through social listening, a brand can keep its finger on the pulse of conversations to identify a potential crisis. The insights gained can then help a brand to determine when it’s time to pull the trigger on a crisis management plan. Remember- a crisis management plan should be in place before a crisis ever occurs. The insights uncovered by social listening over time can help a brand to gauge the areas that the crisis management plan should cover. If you recently faced a brand crisis, social listening can help you track conversations after the fact and analyse how they correlate to changes in sales, followers, or any other important metric. Online data therefore helps the assessment of offline performance.
Stephanie Taderera is a Content Executive at Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants. To learn more about how we can help your brand’s reputation, contact us today.