What I’ve leant from social media listening

Two recent reports highlight the fact the business are not taking social media listening seriously and it’s still in its infancy. A study by the Altimeter group showed that only 42% of businesses are using social media listening to learn from their customers, this was a study whose respondents’ main discipline was social media, personally I would have expected it to be higher.

The second report from Amiando (a study of event marketers) showed that only 20% of marketers are listening in social for the benefit of the business.

I know I’m a big social media advocate, but I’m shocked that businesses are not using listening not only to benefit social media activity but the overall business, I guess it’s not been ‘sold’ in to the powers that be yet.

In this article, I hope to explain how to implement social media. Where possible I will mention brands in the examples, in other places I will need to be a little more respectful of the brand’s privacy. It’s also worth noting that some of this was done purely as an experiment without the brand’s permission as part of exercise, which just goes to show how much information you can garner on other brands without the need for permission.

Drivers for examining social data.

‘Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room’ Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon. With social they know you’re in the room and they still tend to say it.

I would argue that in focus groups or using surveys people tend to answer the questions in a way that they wish to be portrayed by their peers. While this may also be said for social (personal branding), the very nature of focus groups and surveys gives users the chance to reflect before saying anything. Social media has a cultural immediacy where users express their opinions en mass and are not prompted by questions that steer answers.

New Insights – drivers for examining social data

There are many drivers for examining social data, which can all be broadly put under ‘New insights’. Insights should be driving:

  • Targeted marketing activity: Informing messaging, demographics, personas, influencers, firmographics, segmentation and comms strategy.
  • Better planning and decision making within the business: Informing product and service development, market positioning to drive competitive advantage, growth hacking and business processes.

The customer decision process has fundamentally changed. A study by McKinsey showed that rather than systematically narrowing their choices, consumers add and subtract brands from a group under consideration during an extended evaluation phase.

By examining data we can derive maximum value from our customers by truly understanding their needs throughout the buying process and delivering to these needs, allowing our customer to get the maximum value from us. After purchase, they often enter into an open-ended relationship with the brand, sharing their experience with it online.

This article is a truncated version of the article I wrote for Smart Insights the rest can be read here