Listen Up!

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.

Image result for goldmine

So why should a business listen to online conversations, and seek out interactions that consumers didn’t intend to initiate?

  1. 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.
  2. To find opportunities to engage and educate new customers.
  3. To go above and beyond by offering solutions to complaints that consumers didn’t expect to have resolved.
  4. 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?




2 thoughts on “Listen Up!

  1. I don’t believe I have ever posted directly on a business’s site. However, I have often engaged in conversations on social media about a product. I wrote a blog post a few years ago on Chocolate in my Underwear Drawer about Camino chocolate. The post, written to highlight the balance between luxuries and environmental issues, seemed to engage people through Facebook rather than on the blog itself. Some enjoyed the humour, others the actual message.
    The concept of listening through reading fascinates me. Perhaps the effective online listeners are also effective face-to-face listeners. To sit quietly, biting one’s tongue and not thinking about retorts can be agonizing for some and natural for others.

  2. Online listening is a really powerful tool for business and something that never existed until a few years ago. Many companies now have at least one full time social media person who does nothing else but maintain and nurture the company’s online presence and engagement with customers. Many bigger companies hire ad agencies to look after it for them. Before the explosion of social media, businesses had to rely on picking up the phone or email to engage and solicit feedback. And you’re right. There’s nothing more frustrating than leaving a comment for a business only to be ignored. Social media is much more than a way to advertise, but a way to engage, maintain and grow a customer base. Businesses need to go above and beyond. Under-promise and over-deliver is the motto I feel more companies should adopt. I’m in the process of getting quotes to have my driveway re-paved and the first thing I did was go to social media. I found one company who definitely has their social media presence figured out and have real engagement with their customers. We’ll see if their paving and customer service skills match their online persona…

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