Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
¬ Stephen Covey
The quote mentioned above pretty much sums up how we view listening to others. The same goes true for many businesses. Thus, it is not a surprise how many companies fail because they fail to understand their customers.
As a B2B company, you don’t have to walk this path, but you can start honing your social listening skills. When you begin to do that, you won’t have to wonder what went wrong with your market research. Instead, you will gain more business insights and understand your customers more.
The Science of Social Listening
Social listening is more of a science than art because it includes analytics, metrics, and actionable insights. Despite these elements, however, it is not as complicated as it might look or sound. In fact, Stephen Covey’s quote above can also be the best definition of social listening.
When you listen, you don’t just monitor or reply to all incoming questions or comments about your brand. Instead, you listen so you can analyze and reflect on all the data you get from different social conversations.
As you ‘meditate’ upon this information, you gain more insight which you can utilize for your overall strategy.
Here’s an example of how this works:
A digital marketing company has been experiencing a high demand for their services both from old and new clients. These clients also left a lot of positive reviews on different social media platforms and forums.
However, that happy tune began to change after a few months. First, only very few customers started posting negative comments. Because the numbers were insignificant, it did not raise any alarm. However, as the days went by, the trickle of complaints became a deluge.
If you look at it on a general level, it will be easy to conclude that the whole team has a problem and end up with a solution that won’t address the solution. However, if you look at what the people are saying in the comments of your various social media site, you will realize what precisely is your problem. Then, you can apply a more specific solution.
How Can You Utilize Social Listening for Your Business?
Now that you understand what social listening is, the real challenge is how to utilize its power for your business fully. Let’s take a closer look at various ways you can make it work for you.
Create New Marketing Campaigns
When you listen, you can gain better business insights and identify new opportunities straight from the marketplace. You can use that information to create a more effective and relevant strategy.
One company that used social listening to its advantage was the lingerie company, Adore Me, for their #SelfLoveNote contest. It all started with customers who were inquiring about modeling opportunities in the company. Instead of answering those replies directly, they launched a competition to find the new model for their brand.
They asked fans to create a video of them lip syncing a love song and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #SelfLoveNotes. The winner would receive a modeling contract with the company, cash price, and an all-expense paid trip to New York.
Improve Customer Experience
You will face different sets of challenges and obstacles that could have a significant effect on your customer experience. The more significant challenge, however, is how you can distinguish whether a problem is a large issue or just an isolated incident. Social listening will help you identify which is which, allowing you to focus on the more significant trends rather than a one-off issue.
One company that applied this was GoPro for their Hero4 model. Many of the features in the GoPro Hero4 came from customer suggestions and feedback of the Hero3+. The company put all of them into consideration and used it as an inspiration for their succeeding models.
Make Strategic Decisions
Innovation requires market research. Combine that with social listening, and you have two winning punches. You can see this in action with the GoPro example in the previous point. With social listening, you will be able to find:
- The products/features that your customers like or dislike
- The kind of products they want
- The products that are highly in demand
Social listening gives you a better understanding of what your clients want. To get most out of it, closely follow what people are saying about your brand. Don’t just focus on the apparent trends but the subtle ones as well. Most of all, make listening to a habit at every level in your business.