What is the Use of Social Listening in Business

Unlike other data collection methods for market research, social listening is not just about customer insights. Uncovering unique actionable insights is the reason why social listening is relevant to market research, however, there are many more use cases for various departments within an organisation.  


Here is an outline of 8 use cases with the first one (customer insights) also being applied across all the other 7:
 

  1. Customer Insights
    Asking questions in surveys and focus groups is no longer enough in order to uncover customer needs and wants so that organisations can stay relevant. Unsolicited posts on the web provide a different flavour of information, the value of which becomes exponential when integrated with tracking surveys and behaviour. 
     
  2. Advertising
    Positive customer testimonials on social media can be used both to strengthen advertising messages and also as “the reason to believe” when Unique Selling Proposition (USP) claims are made in Ads.
     
  3. Public Relations
    By discovering discussion drivers on social media, organisations can publish relevant content, increasing the probability that it will be propagated by customers themselves. They can control the narratives and they can create new ones that serve their performance goals.
     
  4. Customer Service
    Nowadays it is an expectation that customers are able to tweet a need or a complaint and receive a response from the organisation they are addressing within minutes. Public relations and customer service on social media are somehow interlinked. It is as important to appear to be tackling customer issues head on and transparently, as it is to actually fix them!
     
  5. Operations
    Fixing product or service issues communicated by customers on social media is critical from an operations and PR perspective. Multi-branch organisations in particular, can benefit from feedback on social media about individual branches. This use case may render mystery shopping obsolete.
     
  6. New Product development
    Customers tend to post about product features that they are not happy with or that they are missing. They also post about their pains, key information that can lead to innovation in order to address these pains.
     
  7. Board of Directors
    One of the things that are of interest to the board is Corporate Reputation,which can also be part of Public Relations. Social listening provides a unique opportunity to board level executives to keep their finger on the pulse of their customers in the most direct and efficient way.
     
  8. Risk Management
    A problem with a product or a service can easily be blown out of proportion on social media. Companies need to keep their ear to the ground and identify issues before they become real crises that will impact brand equity in a negative way.
     

In order for any and all the above use cases to be valid and useful for an organisation, it is an absolute pre-condition that the sentiment and semantic (topics) precision of the social listening solution used, is the highest it can be. As an example, if a social media monitoring tool feeds negative sentiment posts about a brand to its customer service team with only 50% precision, this means that the team will have to sift through all the posts to actually find the ones they should really respond to. This can be frustrating for the team, and it also means that the organisation will have to spend more time and resources in order to deal with customer service on Twitter or other social media platforms.
 

Over 80% sentiment precision and 85% topic precision is what is achievable – as already mentioned in previous articles in more detail – thus organisations do not and should not have to settle for less these days. Please do share your experiences with social listening tools if you have used them, either for the above use cases or others that are not mentioned here.

 
 



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