How to use social listening to find out what your customers want – and then market it to them!

Gone are the days when social media was purely for shouting about what you can do. Sure, social media allows brands a platform to share products and news, but if you’re not taking the time to listen to what your audience is discussing on social networking sites, you’re missing out on valuable market research. Undertaking ‘social listening’ – finding out what your audience is talking about on social media platforms can be extremely useful in your marketing strategy.

The most basic way of identifying what’s getting your target markets talking is checking mentions and notifications, but if you stick to only seeing what people are engaging with your brand about, you’re missing potential opportunities to target new customers. What your customers are talking to your competitors about could also be key to helping you tap in to more clients who love what you do just as much as your existing ones. So what can social listening help you with?

What’s trending?

Most social media users are aware of ‘trends’ and the power of going viral. Both Twitter and Facebook have trends sections where you can see what people are talking about as and when events happen. Some trends may for the most part be irrelevant to your customers, but there will be times when your audience is talking about something you can put to good use. For example, if your customers are speaking about a specific TV show, find a way that it fits with your brand and join in!

Even if the benefit isn’t immediately obvious, you may be able to take valuable data and insight in to what the people you’re marketing to want, like and expect. Your content needs to resonate with your audience and make them feel something – whether that be nostalgia, excitement or satisfaction with your problem solving. Doing so successfully can help your brand become synonymous with your target market’s requirements.

Discover the power of influence

You may already feel you’re well researched when it comes to the kinds of celebrities, keynote speakers, bloggers and social media accounts that your audience is interested in, but are you utilising them to your advantage?

Who your customers follow and engage with on social media can tell you a lot about what drives them to make a purchasing decision. Be sure to join in with any conversations with influential people online, and consider including influencers in your digital marketing strategy. It may be that they take over your social media accounts for a Q&A or promote your product or campaign to their following – the possibilities are endless.

Many people underestimate the power of social influencers, but getting the right influencers involved with your brand at the right time can drive sales and generate brand awareness among your target markets. The key is in the research – finding out who your customers respond to is crucial to your success so undertake social listening before committing to anything. Be sure to follow relevant accounts and look at the success of their content. This can also help you decide what type of content to post on your own social media accounts.

What platforms should you invest time and money in?

While there’s no harm in having a presence on multiple social media channels, it’s often better to think about which channels will work for you and why. Having numerous rarely updated profiles across a number of social networks will look unprofessional.

Rather than trying to manage multiple accounts in the hope you can reach out to people who may be interested in your business, you’d be better investing your precious time and money in making a couple that your audience is active on really work for you. While generally people may suggest Linkedin and Twitter for business to business communications and Facebook and Instagram for consumer focussed companies, the best way to work out where your audience is online is to undertake ‘social listening’.

Search for your competitors – are they active on all social media sites, and if so, do they regularly get engagement and have a good size following? This should give you some indication of what tools others in the same markets are utilising. Social listening can come in handy if there are any conversations being had with your competitors online by customers. If you spot anything, take a moment to think about what your company does differently and how that fits with the demands from your target consumers. Ask yourself how you can create a buzz about this.

Many large brands now use social media to provide customer service. While this can be costly and time consuming, these days in certain industries it is expected, so it should be considered that you may need to factor this into your strategy.

User generated content

Who better to tell you what content your audience wants to see than your audience themselves? Rather than doing surveys, why not do your research online? Take a look at great blogs, vlogs and other user generated content – if people in your audience are creating content about it, the likelihood is they’re interested in it and think others in a certain demographic are too. Undertaking social listening allows you to tailor content to those who are most likely to resonate with it.

Once you have an idea of what your audience wants, consider putting user generated content in your strategy moving forwards – if you can get your customers creating your content for you (with an incentive of course) it’s a win-win situation.

To find out more about social listening, get in touch with the PRG digital marketing experts by calling 01323 411044 or contact us here.

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