It’s hard to believe how quickly social media has changed our everyday lives in such a short period of time. What was once a platform to connect with old friends from high school now is an integral part of pop culture. We use it to communicate with friends, meet new people, find things to do, share our thoughts and opinions, distract ourselves, and nowadays, connect with brands.
Social media has also revolutionized online retail in many ways. In fact, 75 percent of social media users have purchased something that they first saw on a social platform and many customers use these sites to discover new brands and products. Furthermore, thanks to the growing popularity of influencers and branded accounts, customers now interact with businesses in an entirely new way.
Social media also provides businesses with incredible information and insight into their own customers through social listening.
By monitoring customers’ behaviors or analyzing key data points, companies can start to understand the demographics and sentiments that define their target audience. However, while this information can be great for creating detailed customer personas, it’s fairly useless unless it is applied properly.
Here’s how online companies can use their collected social data in ways that can actually impact their bottom line:
Offer more niche-focused products
If niches exist proudly and openly anywhere online, it’s on social media. People often use these platforms to connect with people who have similar interests by following the same accounts or joining online groups. Social media is great for finding out the products that these niche audiences are interested in, looking for, or talking about.
Social listening data can help you identify the specific niches that are subsets of your current audience. There are numerous ways that you can segment your followers for better targeting, but offering niche-focused products based on data is a great way to connect.
Look for opportunities to alter products and offer specific segments with things they cannot find elsewhere. There are plenty of great business ideas for digital products that can be easily altered, such as digital downloads, personalized print products, or even specialized online courses. Custom printed items, such as an on-demand t-shirt line, work very well here—as it gives customers the power to create their own unique products.
You can also create unique designs to reach specific segments within your audience, too. For instance, say that your social listening data shows that a large portion of your target audience also are dog owners. You can use this data to target them with dog-related prints and make things even more focused to specific breeds.
Stay alert for opportunities for connection
It’s clear that people like when brands interact with their customers, particularly on social media. In fact, 59 percent of people interact with brands online multiple times a day. These engagements are incredibly important because it provides businesses with a unique opportunity to build relationships with customers and get to know them on a personal level.
Social listening is useful for identifying the moments where engagement can be particularly beneficial, such as helping a customer with a problem, turning around negative sentiment, or even interacting with a potential influencer.
The key here is timeliness. Most customers turn to social media because they expect a faster response than an email or even a call to customer service. This is why using social listening tools is a good option.
Social listening should be used to alert your PR/marketing team of moments when your company name or product is mentioned online. This is critical for fast and effective reputation management. Additionally, social listening data gives you an overview of how online chatter relates to general sentiment within your industry.
Use it to be more proactive
Most PR and marketing teams wish that customers would just tell them what they want and what they like—especially when it comes to product development and content creation. Thankfully, social media provides an arena for businesses to get a better idea of this. However, getting customers to share their real opinions may require a little push.
Rather than just passively listening and searching for nuggets of inspiration or data, be proactive by asking customers what they like or dislike about your product or brand. You can even ask them to share what content they want from you or the subjects that interests them directly through social channels.
Features like Facebook polls and Instagram Q&A stories are perfect tools for proactive sentiment analysis. Customers can quickly share their responses or vote on their preferences, giving your team instant feedback that can be used for ongoing PR/marketing strategies.
Technology offers businesses a lot of benefits, but one of the most important advantages is the ability to understand customers on a deeper level. By gathering data from social listening, companies can get a grip on the people who make up their audience as well as their priorities, motivators, and overall sentiment. More importantly, brands need to know how to take this information to the next step by applying it so it benefits their customers.
Take the information that you gather from social media and see where it can best be used to connect with your audience through product personalization and targeting, stronger relationships, or direct feedback that inspires more relevant messaging. This is how your social listening efforts can make a real impact on your business’s success.