People have a lot to say!
It’s amazing how much valuable consumer feedback gets put online. People are constantly posting their thoughts about the important things in their lives, including: products they love or hate; why they love or hate them; what they wish was different and how they perceive a brand image. A quick Google search confirms my belief that reviews and word-of-mouth advertising have a huge impact on consumer decisions. I know that is true for me! While I won’t automatically reject a product with one bad review, it does have an impact. And positive reviews have an even stronger impact on my own decisions.
But are businesses listening?
It’s also amazing how much of this information escapes online marketers. It is pretty standard for a company to respond to emails or posts to the company social media. But what about mentions where the company hasn’t been tagged, and could easily never see? I really enjoy Shopify’s blog because it covers many interesting topics related to ecommerce and marketing. They recently posted an article that focused on the importance of listening to online conversations in order to collect and take advantage of this goldmine of consumer feedback.
So why should a business listen to online conversations, and seek out interactions that consumers didn’t intend to initiate?
- To learn what their consumers want. Social media posts will provide the most honest opinion. Businesses can use these comments to inspire positive changes that will increase customer satisfaction.
- To find opportunities to engage and educate new customers.
- To go above and beyond by offering solutions to complaints that consumers didn’t expect to have resolved.
- To gain exposure by “piggy-backing” on the social media reach of the account they are responding to.
With so much noise online, how does a business hear the real message?
The Shopify article lists their top eight services to facilitate online listening. They include services like Hootsuite, that allow you to schedule your posts as well as as collect listening data, and other more specialized services like Sprinklr, that offer in depth listening and allow you to compare with the competition. With all the clutter and noise online, it’s clear to me that social listening would be nearly impossible to do effectively without using one or more of these tools.
As more and more businesses take interest in the benefits of listening on social media, I am sure that there will be more and more social media listening tools popping up! I expect that this will become the driving force behind many social media campaigns, because the ones that don’t will get left behind.
What is your experience?
I know I find it off-putting when I look at a business’s social media and see that customers have complained or asked questions, and the business didn’t respond. Have you ever posted on social media about a product or service? If so, what made you do it, and what kind of response did you get?