Social listening is the process of collecting social data by monitoring terms, names and products associated with your brand and industry, with the aim of helping businesses monitor content performance and track competition. It exists as a logical step forward from something PR agencies have offered to their clients for many years – traditional media monitoring.
The PR world has evolved past traditional media channels to encompass a wide range of platforms that connect directly to end users (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LINE…). Q&A forums like Reddit and Quora, news sites and blogs are also strong sources of social data. PR firms have had to embrace a new methodology in order to furnish clients with the competitor and news monitoring services they previously enjoyed. Now, strategies must include all of the above across the various digital channels.
In fact, new research from search and reviews platform Clutch shows businesses that use social listening tools to actively monitor online conversations benefit from access to real-time feedback to improve products and services (25%), attract new customers (24%) and improve customer service (21%).
Other benefits include monitoring content performance, recruiting and hiring new employees, and learning about the competition in a meaningful and detailed way. Social listening is about analysing and reflecting on social data collected and then taking action by adding value for your audience.
Social Listening In Detail
The report continues, “Because social listening offers businesses a chance to collect insider information from existing and prospective customers, it’s no surprise that nearly half of businesses surveyed (42%) say their main objective is to enhance the customer experience by improving customer service (21%) and reaching new clients (21%). Engaging with both loyal followers and detractors is essential for forming trusting relationships with customers and continuously improving your business,” says Clutch. The data confirms that most businesses monitor customer requests, questions and concerns (86%) instead of their competition (77%). The reality is that both are essential in order to obtain a complete perspective.
By analyzing the way competitors interact with customers and respond (or not respond) to customer communications on their digital platforms reveals a lot. It can be a means to filling out an effective SWOT analysis, and for acquiring tips on how to improve your own customer service experience.
The data is valuable because in many cases it is possible to look back through the story of interaction and discover why an issue has come about and what the rival company is capable of doing in order to resolve the problem. Was the customer happy with the end result? Are they still a loyal customer?
Or are they ranting and raving about going to a competitor (i.e.- you)?