It doesn’t get easier than this. In the example above, the person trying to make a purchase decision tweeted both brand’s handles in hopes of getting feedback. He’s obviously looking for input and made it incredibly easy for both brands to get involved. Either company could have provided more information about their respective products. However, by not doing so, it’s possible that they both lost a sale.
@_Laughter You still like your Fitbit? Trying to decide between that and Jawbone UP.
— Voggix (@Voggix) September 26, 2014
Here’s a good example of why social listening must go beyond brand mentions. The consumer tweeting here didn’t use Twitter handles like our friend above, but instead used product names. By employing good social listening techniques, the companies behind the products could have seen the tweet and jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the purchase decision.
Additionally, you must be prepared and willing to respond quickly and specifically to each individual message. While inbound messages are on the rise and can be increasingly difficult to manage, it is an extremely important aspect of social customer care — and one that involves more than just your marketing team. For example, customer service can resolve issues while preventing customers from venting their frustration with the brand online, while HR and talent teams can respond to career inquiries and showcase team culture.
@l_spurlin We love hearing where our customers want us! Thanks for the suggestion, Laura!
— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) September 29, 2014
JetBlue undoubtedly receives tons of requests for supported locations, but that doesn’t stop the brand from welcoming the feedback. In this example, JetBlue wastes no time replying to Laura (the company replied a minute after the original tweet was sent) and even acknowledged her by name. It’s a nice personal touch that goes a long way on social media.
Social listening and responding can also help your product development teams learn what people like or dislike about your product. This is an opportunity to hear unbaised, unfiltered opinions and to publicly — or individually through DMs and private messages — address pain points, collect more specific feedback, and demonstrate to customers that your company is committed to them.
Before launching an expanded social listening strategy, make sure that you have sufficient staff to meet your goals. Although you can make significant headway with even the smallest of teams, collecting social insights can return a lot of actionable data. Acting on that data requires time, energy and team bandwidth. Whether you have a team of two or twenty, set clear goals on what you hope to achieve, set roles and responsibilities and create a plan of action plan.
For more insight into which industries are receiving the most inbound messages requiring attention, and to learn how responsive and timely each industry is, download The Sprout Social Index. Knowing where you and your competitors stand can help shift your social media efforts so you’re better prepared to tackle the increased pace and volume of social messaging.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.