23 Jul 2018, 09:30 — 5 min read
Summary: Social media listening can be a game changer for SMEs. Getting insights about your company and industry from the social web will give your business the perfect insights for growth.
Social media listening is defined as "the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about a brand and industry online."
Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. It may even be fair to say that the rapid change in technology is leading to changes in the way customers develop and articulate preferences for products and services. The old strategy of having a product and investing in marketing over traditional mediums to get customers excited is fast losing its value as a legitimate tool for growth.
Customers are a lot more involved when it comes to having their say and getting what they want out of the market. If they are dissatisfied with an experience, the internet is the first to know about it, and reputation can suffer as a consequence. To ensure your SME can make the most of its opportunities and grow, you need to factor in social media listening into your business model. This ties into online reputation management, an extension of public relations and brand building onto the internet.
New age marketing research - Social Media Listening
Knowing your customer and making note of every little detail of their actions as it relates to your company and industry is possibly the most important pillar of the modern marketing strategy. It is the only way to move forward in a world increasingly dominated by the internet – as the promised land of opportunity but also a graveyard for businesses who mis-stepped or missed the boat.
Social media listening is at the heart of a meaningful foray into the internet. The insights around social media listening states that customer preferences change periodically. A decade was the traditional benchmark, but with rapidly changing technology it is much faster today. Keeping your ears open for signs of change will enable your company to gain market share or prevent a loss of that same share if evolving customer preferences are moving people away from the products and services you offer.
Traditional companies are ‘passive’ listeners. They listen only when interacting directly or if there is feedback of a special kind from a particular client. An SME cannot afford to be a ‘passive listener’ in today’s day and age. Listen ‘actively’! Social media listening, using certain special softwares and tools, can help you keep a pulse on the industry. Trends that could really impact your firm’s bottom-line would be at your fingertips with enough time to prepare for it. Golden opportunities, a special circumstance that can really be capitalized on to grow your business, will also become apparent.
With social media listening you will have the information and insights you need to consolidate your brand and grow your business. Now you just need the right tool. There is a whole range on offers and you will have to do some digging to see which one is most suitable for your business type and structure.
Some of these social media tools are Radian6 by Sales Force, Mention, Meltwater, SentiOne, Hootsuite, Oracle SRM, Brand Watch, Row feeder, Sysomos, Crimson Hexagon, Vocus, Unmetric, Topsy etc. That’s just a list to get you started on your quest for insights that can be leveraged.
There is a simple way to choose a tool:
Identify your requirement – What does the tool need to do?
Define the need – What do you hope to get out of it? Fix a budget.
List your options - Check that your tools are authentic and will give you the deliverables you need
Shortlist to three - Engage with the vendor to see it can be customized
Trial period – Trial the final three, or just the one you are leaning toward. But a trial is a must
Let the insights you get help grow your business!
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.
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By Aval Sethi