Social Media Monitoring – Are You Listening To Your Customers?

social media monitoring robert coorey

Social media is a fantastic tool for getting your message in front of customers. We regularly hear about the value it offers companies. But what about social media monitoring?

Social media monitoring has a key benefit that does not get spoken about as much — THE ABILITY TO LISTEN.

social media monitoring - most of the successful people I know are the ones who do more listening than talking

What is social media monitoring?

Similar to a water cooler, social media is where the modern consumer goes to discuss their latest interactions with brands. When you use social listening, you have the opportunity to tap into these conversations to get a better idea of what your customers want. This insight comes directly from your customers themselves — no guided surveys or questions. That means the knowledge you gain is far more applicable and useful.

How can you use social media monitoring?

Serving customers

When Argos wanted to improve customer satisfaction, they took to social media. They listened to what their customers were saying about their stores. They gathered data about which stores people liked. They gathered information about their demographics. By identifying what mattered most to their customers, they were able to better serve their consumer base and remain strong in their position at the forefront of their industry.

social media monitoring - your customers won't love you if you give bad service!

Making predictions

Another company, Creation Healthcare, used social listening to monitor conversations and interests among their customers. They were able to notice what health care topics mattered the most to their customers. They noticed the trends that dominated the industries. Using that information they could then predict future questions and provide answers and services for their customers before competitors even noticed the need.

You can also use social listening for a variety of other purposes such as:

  • Gauging need and interest before a product or service launch
  • Determining the needs of a new market before expanding a company
  • Gathering information needed for a successful rebranding

Ok, Ok, I’ll listen to my customers- but how?

If you are just getting started with social listening there are a variety of free tools you can use to dip your feet in.

  • Google Alerts will let you set up alerts for mentions of particular keywords, such as your industry or company name
  • Hootsuite will let you use a basic monitoring profile for free, and lets you scale larger for a fee
  • Social Mention is another free tool that lets you keep track of what people are saying

I also find it incredibly valuable to focus on building a personal community on my brand’s social media pages.
For example, a strong Facebook community can offer you a variety of different perspectives. Leverage your social media pages by asking questions and encouraging conversation on the page. Do not dominate conversations, but actively participate. Listen to what people are saying and take note of what they seem to love (and dislike) about your brand.

The Feed A Starving Crowd Facebook group has thousands of members. Some of the discussions on there are better than in groups people pay thousands for.

feed a starving crowd facebook group

Stop thinking of social media as a soapbox from which you can broadcast your message. Instead, remember that social media is meant to be a conversation– and part of being a good conversationalist is learning how to listen.

Food For Thought:

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs

It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner

For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent.
Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs

If you do not listen attentively, you might not even hear that ONE customer that complains, which might make you miss out on HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of disgruntled patrons, clients, prospects, and customers!

In 2011, 7 in 10 Americans said they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.
7 in 10 will spend more with companies that provide excellent service
Source: American Express Survey, 2011

social media monitoring - The customer experience is the next competitive battleground

Action Exercises:

  • Do you use social listening to better understand your customers?
  • Have you ever learned something unexpected just by paying attention to what your customers were saying?
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