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No successful brand can neglect social media. Even B2B companies, which have been slower to adapt than their B2C counterparts, are getting the picture—now, more than 9 out of 10 report using social media to support their marketing strategies.

But while social media is an effective and necessary component of content marketing and lead generation strategies, its usefulness extends far beyond marketing. Rather than being siloed to researching marketing messages and measuring the efficacy of marketing campaigns, social media data has become a source of truth for consumer opinions—whether positive or negative­—about products, brands, current trends, or figureheads.

As social media becomes more ingrained in customer’s lives and their engagement with brands, social media analytics will become more integrated with both overall marketing and business benchmarks. Social media, if used properly, can inform and improve efforts across an organization, from research and development practices to hiring processes.

As the year begins, resolve to harness social media’s power across departments. Here’s how:

Empower your human resources department

Most savvy HR reps are already using LinkedIn for recruiting purposes, but it’s not the only platform useful to the recruitment process. Beyond just on LinkedIn, HR reps should use social media to research potential candidates, highlight company culture and promote job openings.

A strong social media strategy allows employees to easily share job opportunities through their personal and professional networks, not just on LinkedIn. And by showcasing company culture on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can attract candidates that may never have considered joining your company.

HR professionals can also use social media insights to determine the types of benefits or perks their organization needs to consider offering in order to attract their targeted talent. Benefits and perks have become a key differentiator among employers in this competitive job market. By analyzing trends among professionals that fit your company culture or are actively working with in the recruiting process, businesses can glean insight into what prospective hires  are looking for in a new career opportunity and then tweaking organizational offerings to suit these needs.

Enhance research and development processes

While social media effectively promotes products and services, it’s also a great tool for companies to learn what buyers are looking for in the first place.

If armed with the right social listening tools, you can learn a lot from the candid conversations occurring on social media. The unfiltered truth from customers about their actual preferences—whether about your brand itself or your competitors—is invaluable. By reading tweets, analyzing conversations, and even studying trending hashtags, you can gain new ideas that can really help set your brand apart from the competition..

In one of the most comprehensive studies to date, McKinsey recently surveyed 20,000 consumers in Europe and found that social recommendations influence more than a quarter of all purchases made. This is well above the 10 to 15 percent that’s been estimated in earlier research. And in the majority of cases, the McKinsey report found, these social updates had a direct impact on buying decisions.

For example, the consumer electronics company ASUS used social listening tools to learn that camera quality and battery life were what influenced customers most when they purchased mobile phone models. Using these insights, the brand developed the ASUS ZenFone Zoom S, which included a dual rear lens camera and an improved battery.

Deliver better customer service

With the growing expectation that expedient, excellent service comes just after every tweet, customers grow frustrated with brands that shun them on social. Now that social platforms are the frontlines for consumer issues, customer service reps can take this opportunity to identify and solve problems.

Customer service teams can use social listening tools to monitor sentiment, contribute to conversations and diffuse potential problems that could otherwise quickly escalate. They can also make powerful connections with individual consumers, a move that can generate not only good publicity, but also increased revenue (shoppers will spend more money if they’ve had a positive experience with a brand on social).

You’ll notice a theme: social listening. Anyone can scroll through a roster of hashtags, but making sense of mountains of social data available to brands requires a more strategic approach. To properly analyze conversations across multiple channels and inform business decisions, you need more than just a social media management tool. The right platforms are AI-enhanced to cut through the noise and actually drive real results.

In 2018, prioritize social listening to arm more than just your marketing department with the tools they need to deliver the best experiences.

Jerome Maisch

Jerome Maisch

Jerome Maisch is the Director of Product Strategy at Digimind. With more than five years of at the company, he aides in fostering the Digimind brand through product marketing, consulting, sales, and customer care. During his career, Jerome has been instrumental in opening the New York office and developing US activities to create a strong North American presence.

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