This post is the second piece in a multi-part series with our partner Brandwatch, in which Will McInnes, CMO of Brandwatch, examines how brands can unlock the power of social data and social listening for business. You can read the first piece here.
People may not always say what they mean, but consumers use social media as their proverbial soapbox. Folks on Twitter and Facebook vent and praise brands in an unfiltered and very earnest way. Social media conversations are a gold mine of likes, dislikes, desires, and wants. Not to mention a great way to learn consumer preferences and adjust campaigns and activities accordingly.
So why aren’t more brands tapping into these very public, very insightful conversations?
They can and they should be utilizing the power of social listening and analytics to learn about their customers and audiences. Social listening helps brands do more than find out what people are saying about their products and campaigns, but can actually help tap into the psyche of audiences to better understand what and why customers want what they want.
Here are just a few ways social data can help brands educate themselves on consumer moods, regional preferences, and reactions to product features. And so much more.
Where, who, what?!
Some may say that social listening is a violation of privacy. But when consumers publicly pose questions to brands or complain about customer service, they are actively seeking a response. A solution. A conversation.
Brands must be listening and tuned into conversations so they can address customer concerns, embrace candid feedback, adjust marketing campaigns, product updates, and even company culture based on the changing tides of the industry and consumer needs.
Demographics are a great way to break down social data by region, gender, life interests, career, and more to better understand what campaigns might work best for different audience segments.
Imagine seeing which cities and states talk most about your competitors, and being able to identify key pain points that you can then turn around through engagement or strategic promotions? Well, it can be done, all through social listening and analytics.
Timing can be everything
What time of day is best to Tweet? Do conversations spike about our new product during a specific month? A specific day of the week?
Timing, as we all know, can be everything. When to launch a campaign, when to announce negative company news, and how often to engage are all questions that community managers and brand communicators need to be ready to answer. And act upon.
Using social listening and analytics to research and determine time-related best practices for social media and campaign activities is a no-brainer. Just like with web analytics, the data paints a clear picture of what methods work best for which activities.
Are your customers most active on social at night? Then hire an evening community manager to answer questions and monitor the conversations.
Do consumers on Twitter talking about your industry (be it automotive, consumer goods, or manufacturing) tend to get angry if a brand doesn’t respond within an hour? Note it, and make sure your customer service reps are poised and at the ready to address all concerns within a specific timeline.
These types of insights are priceless and help your brand make better, data-driven decisions. All of this adds up to a more streamlined brand presence and a high-quality reputation that shows your brand cares enough to listen, before acting or reacting.
Preferences, moods, and trends, oh my!
How brands act and react on social media is scrutinized by the advertising and marketing/communications press to no end. It is absolutely vital that brands know what their audiences want to hear from them, how often, and what type of content and personalized responses they need to feel secure.
Social listening can be used to check out “white space conversations” – those discussions, posts, and articles online discussing your industry but that don’t necessarily mention your brand or competitors. This strategy allows brands to tap into trends and discover new influencers in their sector, or identify potential “super users” and brand advocates they may not have otherwise known about.
We live out our lives on social media and brands would be remiss to not place value on conversations happening digitally. Whether we’re disgruntled with the service at the local restaurant chain, thrilled with the latest software update, or yearning for more details on a new ad campaign, we discuss it on social. There’s no use fighting it, it’s a fact.
In this Brandwatch Twitter Happiness Report, our analysts sought out to learn something new about human happiness; how it’s expressed on social, and what trends we could pull from the data. Using social listening and analytics to better understand customers and audiences, helps brands to better understand the psyche of different groups of people and identify trends that can help them improve strategy and campaigns.
The future of data analytics
Brands are beginning to recognize that more investments need to be made in data analytics and they seem to be doubling down on budgets, according to data from a Duke University survey of CMO’s cited in this AdWeek article. They reported this week that brands will allot 11.7 percent of their marketing budgets for analytics by 2018, up from 6.4 percent currently.
Social is here to stay. Social listening and analytics are necessary equipment in the marketers toolbox. Brands need to embrace the power of social media, and listen carefully to what their customers, dissenters, and the general public is saying. Understanding needs and wants is paramount to giving the people what they want.
Let them be heard.
What new possibilities are there now that a business is social? To learn more, join Will McInnes at Social Media Week New York on Thursday February 26, where we learn how to strategically use social listening for business.
Social Media Week New York begins on February 23. For the full event schedule and how you can join us, visit here.