Social Listening: Does Your Organization Need It?

Social media marketing strategies are not very effective without sound social listening practices. Here’s how you can decide if your business needs it

There’s been a flurry of discussion over Kmart’s latest viral ad ‘ship my pants’. Apart from the fact that the ad is pretty funny, what makes it more interesting is that Kmart used some nifty social listening to gauge audiences’ reception to the ad. When they were sufficiently confident of the positive reception, they shared it on relevant platforms earning a viral ad. This is a great example of how social listening insights can be utilized innovatively. But do all organizations need it?

Social listening or social media monitoring is not a notion that is new to marketers. The concept of monitoring what is being said about a company/brand/product across social networks has been around for a while but the burgeoning need for it is becoming apparent now more than before. Here’s why more marketers need to engage in it:

  • Facilitation of improved interaction and engagement
  • Opportunities to resolve problems promptly
  • Adequate information to formulate and measure effectiveness of social media strategy
  • Ability to measure the performance of social media campaigns
  • Ability to manage brand reputation
  • Feedback that can be utilized for product development
  • Benchmarking against competitors
  • Discovery of content ideas
  • Identification of relevant communities online and offline
  • Identification of advocates to support branding efforts

Having merely signing up for a social listening tool isn’t going to help. The act of monitoring social mentions needs to necessarily lead to some sort of social intelligence that can be acted upon. Once the opportunities for conversations have been identified, organizations must have trained experts who would know how best to react to particular situations in ways that benefit the organization rather than hurt it. Towards this end, it would help if these experts were provided a 360 degree view of what is happening with a particular prospect/customer. For instance, if you realize that person A has just tweeted about your product, if you knew where A was in the sales funnel, it would help you formulate a much more relevant and accurate response to encourage him to take the action you want him to. Ideally listening, publishing, monitoring and analytics should be integrated together in one place in order to be able to gain a comprehensive view of what is transpiring in the social medium.

Not everything is peachy with social listening, though. Some of the challenges that organizations encounter regarding the same are as follows:

  • 51% consumers feel that social listening is an invasion of privacy
  • Inadequately defined social listening goals
  • Problems arising from poor data quality
  • Lack of dedicated / experienced experts
  • Lack of a solid strategy for the same

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