Social listening—don’t play it by ear

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The most important feature of SL is its ability to anticipate and prevent digital crises by listening to what both your customers and your critics are saying and drawing conclusions based on an at-scale data analysis.

Of the three and a half billion internet users out there, three billion are active on social media. Can you really afford not to know what they’re saying?

Of course, you can’t. Luckily, the same technology that allows nearly 40% of the world’s population to instantly exchange views on any topic, also allows you to glean what they are saying, thinking, and even extracting conclusions about it (including social networks, blogs, news, and fora). This is what is known as social listening (SL).

Unlike social media monitoring (SMM) which merely collects social mentions and interactions, the more comprehensive social listening (SL) allows you to see the bigger picture and apply what you learn to your overall social strategy. In other words, if SMM provides raw facts, SL adds the all-important context. Many companies don’t realize just how important context is in planning a social media strategy. They don’t know about all the benefits of SL and without that knowledge they don’t understand just how critical SL is this day and age. Below, we will examine just a few of these benefits and discuss how Capgemini can help take full advantage of them.

Anticipate and prevent digital crises

The most important feature of SL is its ability to anticipate and prevent digital crises by listening to what both your customers and your critics are saying and drawing conclusions based on an at-scale data analysis. In other words, SL can save your brand’s reputation. There are millions of negative mentions about brands in social media every single day. Regardless of whether these be unflattering social chatter or unsubstantiated rumors, or simply nefarious trolls, it is critical that you react immediately and accordingly to protect your reputation, consolidate your relationship with your customers, and build customer loyalty.

Discovering influencers and key opinion leaders

In as much as SL helps identify and control trolls and other detractors by making it possible to evaluate the user, SL also helps pinpoint influencers and find potential collaborators. Influencers could be anyone from well-known bloggers, to journalists, to industry regulators. Their support can be solicited in various ways, including by establishing direct contact (inviting them to collaborate) or by referring to a study or other research.

Defining psychological patterns of consumers

In addition, SL draws the characteristics of your buyer persona. Not only socio-demographic factors (such as gender, age, or location), it also sheds light on preference in terms of behavior (most frequently used channels, most read media, or people they follow). Moreover, it makes it possible to define the psychological patterns of consumers. Knowing what other topics your customers discuss regularly makes it possible to optimize their character profiles and fine-tune your brand accordingly.

Lead nurturing: guiding conversations to your selling cycle

Social media has vast potential as a lead generator because it makes it easier to distinguish qualified leads from idle chatter. Because you are not looking for keywords or individual mentions but rather scanning for tone and sentiment, you create a much wider playing field, looking not only for what your customers want, but also gauging the overall sentiment about your brand and monitoring trends that may affect you. This information makes it possible to proactively respond; in effect to ensure that the ball stays always in your court. Advances in technology are steadily improving the sophistication of SL techniques, making it possible, for example, to “listen” for images as well as words.

social listening

Predictions and conclusions:

Although SL has made great strides in its capacity to gauge tone and sentiment, it is not without its weak points. The most significant is the difficulty to recognize irony or distinguish between brand names that contain general language words. Although second-generation tools work with semantic context rather than key words, a consultant is useful in training the SL tool to successfully discern irony and recognize your brand accurately. In the digital age, news travels almost instantly, and it travels to every corner of the globe. As a result, your reputation is no longer what you say it is, it’s what others say it is. Use social listening to make the most of it!

At Capgemini’s Online Marketing Solutions, we can help you know precisely what your online reputation is and advise you on how to maintain or improve it. We have developed various solutions based on different tools to work with your SL campaign. Contact us at: carlos.mora-de-la-cruz@capgemini.com to learn how we can configure and calibrate these tools and use them accurately.

Listen to my latest podcast on social listening here:

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