How to Mine Social Media for Customer Insights with Social Listening

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Ever wished you had a crystal ball and knew exactly what your customers were thinking? When used correctly, social media listening can be a lot more accurate than a crystal ball. Major companies like Intel, H&M, and Ikea all use social listening to discover candid feedback that helps their business differentiate products and services from the competition. Is your company prepared to capitalize on these insights?

Social Media Monitoring and Social Listening: What’s the Difference?

Social media monitoring and social media listening are two sides to the same coin– and a robust digital marketing strategy needs both. Social media monitoring focuses on engagement and performance metrics. It answers questions like, “How many retweets did this post get?” and “How many people clicked through to sign up for our discounted offer?” Social media listening focuses on what your customers are saying. It answers questions like, “What do my customers need?” and “What are my customers' main pain points right now?” Social media listening provides an added layer of candid nuance to your marketing and brand positioning that you won’t get through a customer performance survey or scanning your Yelp reviews. You know exactly what your customers are thinking the moment it’s happening. You can identify and capitalize on opportunities immediately.

Sounds great in theory, right? Here’s where most companies go wrong with their social monitoring strategy. They spend a lot of time focusing on what their customers think about their company, but very little time focused on what else their customers are saying. They’re so focused on tracking company or product mentions that they miss out on the bigger picture. Here’s how to course correct.

3 Solutions for Customer Insights: Identify Needs, Influencers and Opportunity Windows

Mining social media for customer insights doesn't have to be complex. Start by focusing on three key insights that bring the greatest value to your company: identifying customers needs, identifying influencers, and identifying opportunity windows.

1. Identify customer needs. Knowing a customer’s pain points is critical. When you know their precise problems, you can pitch a solution that’s tailored to their needs. Use social media listening to track keywords or issues that are repeatedly referenced in social media conversations. Focus on the social platforms where your customers are most active, like LinkedIn groups and discussions dedicated to a specific industry topic. Keep in mind that social listening tools only work for public content so you won’t be able to track mentions in closed groups.

2.  Identify who is influencing your leads. While it’s relatively easy to obtain a list of general industry influencers, this list would be a lot more valuable if you knew which of these influencers your lead follows. Social media listening provides valuable engagement data for leads in your marketing automation database. Discover who your leads interact with most frequently, which content they comment on, and what they have to say. With this information, you’ll be better positioned to understand which competitors or industry influencers are impacting your lead’s decision-making process– and how you can better differentiate your offerings.

3. Identify opportunity windows. One of the biggest challenges facing today’s B2B marketers is not what content to produce but when to share the content for maximum impact. Share a case study at the wrong time and your insights will end up in the email trash bin. Share a case study at the right time, and your content could help eliminate decision-making barriers and get the deal closed faster. With social listening, you’ll know when a lead is most open to receiving relevant content. Social listening makes it easier to pass qualified leads to your sales team through lead scoring. You can then alert your sales team to follow up with valuable leads when they are engaging with your brand or relevant topics in your space.

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Ashley Mamula

As Social Media Coordinator, Ashley is constantly researching the latest social trends, and has a passion for creating engaging content. She is a recent grad of Grand Valley State University and has spent the past few years working as an Account Associate on Grand Valley’s student-run public relations firm, GrandPR. On the weekends you can find her doing DIY projects or running around with her puppy, Odin.

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