Are You Really Listening To Your Customers On Social?

Are You Really Listening To Your Customers On Social?
SHARE
THIS



Customers are trying to communicate with brands and companies on social media but PR professionals aren’t the only people who should be listening, says Sphere PR’s Louise Roberts.

Social media is no longer just about public relations, customer engagement and marketing; it now reaches almost every part of the business from product development to human resources to customer service. It is absolutely true that responding to customer complaints and queries is very important, as is leveraging social media for lead generation and product marketing, but social media is also a fantastic source of business intelligence that can enable brands to make better decisions.

Of the millions of social interactions consumers have every day, brands can learn a lot about how customers perceive their products and services; find out how they can improve them; learn about their competitors’ strengths and weaknesses from the consumer’s point of view; and identify the key influencers in their sector.

Additionally, they can pick up market rumours about their business and proactively respond to a brewing issue; get advance warning of problems such as product failures or long waiting times at their call centres; and track how the business is performing against a range of customer-focused metrics.

The major challenge is keeping on top of the huge volume of social conversations that happen daily, identifying the ones that are relevant to their organisation, and uncovering the trends within these conversations in a manner that reveals strategic insight. What’s more, they need to find a way to respond to the social conversations that call for a reaction.

As the managing director of a PR agency that manages social media campaigns on behalf of clients, our challenge is not just connecting our clients’ brands on every screen, but measuring the effectiveness of those connections. It’s no longer good enough just to be there, the content you are sharing and its sentiment has to hit the mark and you have to be able to connect your brand to your customers’ passions or you’ll be left behind the brands that can.

New social networks are popping up all the time, but Facebook is still the giant in Australia with over 13.2 million users and globally it has an incredible 1.28 billion monthly active users, which is about equal to the colossal populations of China or India. The Facebook community now has 609 million daily active mobile users and the time spent per person each month on Facebook smartphone apps is an incredible seven hours and 43 minutes. 6.8 million “Baby Boomers” in Australia and New Zealand (over 45s) use Facebook regularly, so it’s not a Gen Y network in any way shape or form as some might think!

What is clear is that internet users are now becoming very comfortable with social media being embedded in their lives. They are using multiple platforms, multiple devices and using them often. They are constantly sharing nuggets of information about themselves with brands we work with via social media and it is the marketer’s job to monetise the data they receive.  Facebook now has 46% of total global consumer brand social sharing.

Interpreting this online behaviour, however, will allow brands to leverage digital insight for true cross-channel marketing. In addition it provides the opportunity to identify geographic hot spots to target for new customer acquisition.

The challenge for marketing departments when it comes to social will be to monetise and measure their social investments by understanding the value of the data, insights and conversions that these social channels create. I believe that social media will see an evolution and there will be increased adoption of tools that provide simple ways to measure the value to brands of social sharing.

Before you go out and invest in a social-monitoring system that promises to provide unprecedented levels of customer engagement, it’s really important to be clear about your objectives. Regardless of how many screens, visualisations, or social media metrics a system like that provides, or how much you invested in it, a listening system will only give you what  is referred to as “unstructured data”, comments, random observations, fleeting sentiments or musings by people, devoid of context or the state of mind of the person who shared it.

It is true that listening systems can help you pick up on consumer sentiment of your brand and react appropriately. However, if your aim is to understand customer needs and desires and to improve their lives with your products and services so you can drive revenues, then a listening system is not what you need.

From our experience, conversations will only tell you about consumer sentiment. Context is what gives you opportunity. In order to uncover that context, you require tools that have the ability to track the range of different relevant daily episodes in their lives, where they touch your brand and which touch-points influence them to trust your company and their decision to purchase.

The next generation of social listening tools need to be designed to free marketers from monitoring their screens constantly. These tools need to play a more proactive role; instead of just presenting the data as it records it, they should also provide intelligence and recommended responses. Flagging problems automatically for marketers to review is the first step, but the best tools will be able to empower marketers with automated trends, sending alerts as issues present themselves and making recommendations. You should invest in technology that will improve the decision-making process in organisations, enabling us as marketers to make more efficient, data-driven decisions.

If and when you do buy a social listening system, I’d recommend avoiding responding directly to consumers when you see their comments. The content you find via a listening system is not actually directed at you and consumers will be rattled if you intrude on what they naively believe is a private conversation, even though it clearly is not.

My best advice for marketers is not to drown themselves with a mountain of data they harness from every social media channel in use today; they can’t do anything meaningful with it. The right approach is to be purposeful about assembling the right tools and relevant data to help improve your company’s performance.  At the end of the day, it is not about the number of connections or likes your brand has, but your ability to use the relevant social channels to act on and preferably to influence consumers’ desires.

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Danni Wright
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Danni Wright

We'd be headlining Danni Wright's Women in Media profile the "Wright stuff" if it wasn't utterly predictable and naff.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Industry Generates A Record $10.5m For Social Impact
  • Media

Industry Generates A Record $10.5m For Social Impact

UnLtd, the media, marketing and creative industry’s social purpose organisation has announced a total industry contribution of $10.5m to social impact in FY18. The total value of funds, services, inventory and time donated by the media, marketing and creative industry increased by 21per cent compared to the previous financial year due to a growth in […]

Posterscope Promotes Two
  • Media

Posterscope Promotes Two

Posterscope, Dentsu Aegis Network’s specialist out-of-home agency, has promoted Ryan Hedditch to the newly created position of national head of strategy and Samantha Summers to Sydney Group Business Director. In his new role, Hedditch is charged with driving the continual improvement and transformation of the Posterscope offering to clients and partners. Summers’ promotion will see her lead […]

Outbrain Accelerates Growth With APAC Promotions
  • Media

Outbrain Accelerates Growth With APAC Promotions

Native discovery platformOutbrain has announced several movements in its regional leadership team, with plans to make more new hires. This comes on the heels of two senior appointments it made in February, after closing a record year in the region with expansion into new markets. Yoav Tourel has been promoted to head of sales for […]

Clems Syd & Extra GUM Unveil YouTube Digital Stage
  • Media

Clems Syd & Extra GUM Unveil YouTube Digital Stage

YouTube EXTRA Gum has launched EXTRA Support Acts, a program created to support Australia’s up and coming musicians by transforming pre-roll ads on YouTube into a digital support stage. It has been created in partnership with Clemenger BBDO Sydney as creative lead, Universal Music Australia and BRING for talent and music strategy and content, MediaCom and YouTube. The […]

OMD Australia Tops 2018 RECMA Rankings
  • Media

OMD Australia Tops 2018 RECMA Rankings

OMD Australia has taken the top spot for Australia’s Number 1 media agency in size, according to RECMA’s 2018 ‘Overall Activity Volume Rankings’ report released last week. Additionally, the company was named first in profile classification with a dominant profile for the 3rd consecutive year, along with vitality ranking and structure ranking. Furthermore, OMD Australia was also named […]

Red Agency Bolsters Sydney Team
  • Media

Red Agency Bolsters Sydney Team

Judging by the image, it seems Red Agency may have had no staff whatsoever prior to this hiring spree.

Nine Appoints Editor For 9Honey
  • Media

Nine Appoints Editor For 9Honey

B&T's editor coincidentally spilled honey on his shirt while typing this. And by typing, we mean copy and pasting.

Y&R Sydney Scores Best&Less   
  • Advertising
  • Media

Y&R Sydney Scores Best&Less  

Y&R wins Best&Less amid rumours the clothing shop its changing name to 'Somewhat OK&Reasonably cheap'.

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Judy Sahay

B&T's Women in Media profiles are like a wave washing over you. Even more so if an actual wave washes over you.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

How B2B Companies Can Use Their Customer Data More Effectively (And Why They Need To)

In this opinion piece, SalesPreso co-founder and CMO Joel Thomson (pictured below) explains how B2B companies can use their data more effectively and deliver a personalised customer experience that matches their B2C counterparts. From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the EU’s recent GDPR legislation, this year has prompted individuals all over the world to consider […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

M&C Saatchi Launches THIS Film Studio

Not one to rest on its laurels, M&C Saatchi unveils new production studio it hasn't called 'Not One To Rest On Laurels'.

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Creative Agency Launches Project Management Tool ‘Hassl’

Yesterday at TedX Melbourne the team behind award-winning, Melbourne-based agency Your Creative launched their new tech venture Hassl, the project management platform taking on Trello and the likes. With the belief there was a better design solution to project management, the platform has been developed over the last two years in collaboration with their clients. […]

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly
  • Media

ABC Axes Tom Ballard’s Tonightly

It's one of the ABC's edgier, controversial shows, but Tom Ballard's proven too edgy and controversial for ABC chiefs.

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership
  • Advertising
  • Media

Taboola Strengthens APAC Programmatic Offering With New Partnership

Global discovery platform Taboola has announced a strategic partnership with Wider Planet, Korea’s largest demand-side and data management platform. The partnership builds on Taboola’s programmatic efforts in Asia-Pacific, and will bring together Korea’s largest demand platform for agencies and brands to provide access to Taboola’s global audience through premium publisher placements. The partnership means advertisers […]

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients
  • Marketing

The Haus Picks Up Two New Clients

The Haus announces two new client wins. Admittedly, not as good as winning three, but far better than losing four.