Before “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hit theaters last year, the toys were already on shelves. It wasn’t until fans saw the new story in the sci-fi franchise that they realized there was a stark omission from Star Wars branding. Rey, the female protagonist of the next round of stories, was nowhere to be found on backpacks, action figures or bed sheets.
There was an outcry on social media from fans, both female and male, that this fierce protagonist had been left out for sexist assumptions that boys wouldn’t want to play with a girl toy. Disney listened. Within weeks, Rey joined Finn and Han Solo in Star Wars branding.
This controversy demonstrates the force of social listening for companies trying to improve their social media ROI. By utilizing a proper social media management platform, you can guarantee that you’ll be on top of social conversions that impact your company’s reputation and be able to quickly respond to mentions and feedback from customers. In fact, when only 42% of businesses practice social listening, any company can stand out by using this simple, but effective tactic to ensure its customers’ needs and interests are met.
To understand how a refined social listening strategy can improve the ROI of your social media marketing, let’s break down its key elements.
Open Ears, Open Minds
What Disney learned from #WheresRey, is that customers will naturally spark a conversation about a topic they are passionate about. What your company can lend from this is that you should be paying a closer attention to what customers share, discuss, and post on social sites.
Engaging in social listening will reveal important insights about your business, including:
- General trends: These are important in measuring where a company stands among industry competitors and standards. You can adjust your strategy accordingly in case you are falling behind. This will also allow you to gain inspiration for new and creative content ideas that seem to resonate with your type of audience.
- Pain points: Social media is notorious for being a hub where customers feel comfortable to spread negative opinions about a company. Being engaged with your audience will ensure that you never miss comments or feedback generated by your posts. Once you identify your customers’ points of frustration with your product or service, reach out to them and formulate a personal and genuine message to understand their expectations and learn from your mistakes.
- A need for something new: Sometimes a social conversation discloses a need for fresh innovations in the industry. If your followers are discussing the lack of certain capabilities or functionality, your company can step up to fill the gap and respond with a product or service development.
- Identify top influencers: By keeping your eyes open for keywords, links to your content, and mentions of your company’s name, you can come across users who have been advocating your brand, its product or service. Acknowledge these key influencers and aim to build a relationship with them. You can even send them a small reward to show your appreciation.
In addition to these specific insights, salespeople and marketers who use social listening report that the most common insights are competitive intelligence (82%), market trends (76%), prospective customer intelligence (72%) and existing customer intelligence (64%). This indicates that social listening can be used in a variety of ways to improve a company’s offerings, enhance social marketing, and increase social media ROI.
Social listening provides insights that can be combined with other social analytics for a powerful approach to serving your customers. In conjunction with employee advocacy, social selling, and social marketing, social listening contributes to a stellar business strategy in reaching customers on these platforms.
Because it helps to understand who customers are, where their perspectives stem from, and what is shaping an overall industry, companies should be using every tool available to discover how to improve their service or products. To reach an optimal social media ROI, companies must practice social listening with patience, intelligence, and attribute relevant changes to the insights gained.