It seems like every year brings a social media revolution. The way consumers use an ever-growing collection social media platforms is constantly shifting, which requires marketers to stay vigilant and adapt to the latest trends and technologies.
Social listening, a crucial part of today’s social landscape, has evolved considerably over the past year. The technology has gone beyond just recognizing when someone mentions your brand, and can now flag when a consumer might be interested in something you have to offer.
What’s more, visual insight technology is providing valuable knowledge about the role a brand plays in a user photo, and emojis—despite, or because of, their silliness—are helping brands understand how people truly feel about them.
Here’s how social listening has evolved the past 12 months, and how it’s influenced the brand-customer relationship.
Imagine if someone posts on Facebook, “Love my brand-new headphones!” The text alone would make it seem like a win for the company, but if that statement is accompanied by a photo of the person frowning and holding up a pair of broken headphones, it’s clear that the customer is not happy.
Today’s visual listening solutions can flag these situations and prevent a brand from, say, tweeting at the customer and saying how happy they are that she’s enjoying the product.
If that same customer happens to pair the statement with an angry face emoji, there’s no question how she feels about the situation. Emojis are an important component of a push towards a more sophisticated ability to communicate tone and emotions via texts and social media.
Listening solutions are built to recognize emoji-based feedback (negative or otherwise), and can enable brands to respond the right way.
At a time when customers are connected and empowered like never before, it’s consumers who are telling brands’ stories more than brands themselves. That’s why companies are increasingly building campaigns around user-generated content (UGC)—a cost-effective and authentic way to reach a customer base that’s grown wary of traditional advertising.
Social listening has evolved to play a key role in the UGC building process, as it allows for brands to search for specific keywords and sentiment across countless social media posts. The technology also empowers companies to identify and engage top social influencers among their fan base.
Through listening, companies don’t have to sift through thousands of tweets—they can run precise searches that unearth exactly what they’re looking for, from the right person.
What’s more, listening allows companies to quickly understand the context of the content they’re packaging into a UGC campaign. Similar to the situation above, listening can keep a brand from mistakenly asking an upset customer whether they can incorporate a sarcastic, negative post into a UGC effort.
Social listening plays a valuable role in UGC, which enables brands to engage advocates, build trust, develop a sense of community, and provide an all-important sense of authenticity.
Companies are beginning to recognize the need for continuity between the experience they provide on and offline, and social listening has become a key way to achieve that.
Brands can use listening to understand how customers feel about their experiences in a brick and mortar location. They can identify where an inordinate amount of negative social chatter is coming from, and isolate the problem (perhaps a particular store is driving a lot of complaints on social because it’s understaffed and lines are long).
By tracking online reviews and social mentions, brands can know which locations are meeting and exceeding customers’ expectations, and which ones are falling behind. Brands can take then apply best practices form the top branches and apply them to the ones that ares struggling.
As with every year, social listening technology will only continue to evolve. Brands—tasked with reaching those connected and empowered customers—would be wise to understand just how powerful listening can be, and approach 2017 with their ears to the proverbial ground.
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