Guess what? Your current and potential customers are on social media, waiting for brands to engage with them and help solve their problems; you just have to know how to find them. Once you’ve found them, you should pay close attention to what they have to say; what their interests and problems are.
Listening to your audience on social media is a great way to come up with ideas on how to improve your product or service, how to improve the way you deliver it and how to attract new customers. It helps you keep your business and its marketing strategy fresh and competitive.
If you know who your customers are and how to find them on Twitter, i.e. if you have a database of your customers’ names to search for on Twitter, then it’s easy. You can create a Twitter list of all your customers. This lets you see what they are tweeting about and react to it whenever relevant, or just take notice of what they talk about. If not, you can still listen out for information that’s relevant to your business and your customers.
Listening on Twitter
You can either do this yourself or by using social listening tools. For either of these methods, you first need to decide on some keywords or phrases that you want to pay particular attention to on Twitter. For example, if your business repairs iPhones, you might focus on keywords such as “iPhone”, “broken iPhone” or “need a new phone”. They can be as simple as this, but will be different for each business. Try to choose words that you think your audience will actually use.
To listen out for keywords manually, you can use Twitter’s advanced search to find specific instances of people using these keywords in tweets. You can narrow your search down based on location and other keywords they’ve used. By doing this, you might be able to discover new opportunities by identifying a potential customer or learning something about what your demographic needs.
If you want a more efficient way of listening on Twitter, there are several tools that will do it for you. By using Hootsuite or TweetDeck, you can create streams of content that mention your chosen keywords, so you can easily browse through them. Other platforms such as Mention send you an alert via email whenever someone mentions your predefined keywords, so you can respond straight away. Other than entering keywords related to your business, listening out for the name of your business can also help you out, to improve your customer service, for example.
Why social listening is so important
Social media is a great place for delivering fast and reactive customer service because people often take to the internet to praise or complain about a brand after an interaction with them. If a customer buys a product from you and subsequently wants to ask a question or commend you for something, they’ll probably mention you in their tweet by your Twitter handle, so you’ll be notified about it anyway, allowing you to respond straight away.
However, if someone wants to complain about your service or the products they’ve bought, they might not tag you. If this goes unchecked, then it can have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation. If you are listening out on Twitter for any mentions of your name, whether they tag you or not, then you are more likely to be able to catch negative tweets about your business and respond to them in a polite manner. You can then help resolve this person’s problem or offer them something in compensation for any errors you made. This will help you to salvage the situation, and, therefore, your reputation.
So, the question is not “should I be listening to my audience on social media”, it’s “can I afford not to be?” Have a look at the tools mentioned here or try some of the techniques we’ve recommended to find out what your customers and prospects are talking about on social media.