So you’ve started to collect social listening data: mentions about your company, brand, competitors, and other topics that are relevant to your business. But what’s next? What can you do with all these fancy statistics and data?
Well, there are many ways you can leverage this information. Here are a few important social listening use cases that show you how social listening can help you improve customer satisfaction and grow your business.
1. Social listening improves your customer service
Customer service is a very popular application of social listening — and an effective one at that, as the Internet has become the place for people to: rant about poor experiences with products and services, look for solutions to problems, and commend brands on good service, etc…
It’s just easier for customers to tweet at a brand on Twitter instead of trying to reach an automated call center… and then get put on hold for hours just so they can ask a simple question that isn’t on your website (but should be).
Social listening gives brands a big leg up when it comes to taking care of customers who’ve encountered problems with their product.
How to listen to customers effectively?
Improve the quality of your customer service by taking full advantage of online and social channels. It’s a simple fact: people hate waiting almost as much as they hate to be ignored. The sooner you can provide service to your customers, the better.
Social listening tools (like Brand24) collect questions and complaints about your brand as soon as they’re posted, so your customer service representatives can answer any questions or handle any problems as soon as possible.
Social listening case study: Virgin Trains
One of the best examples of great online customer service has to be this one from Virgin Trains:
A passenger was on a train headed to Glasgow from Euston when he got up to use the rest room. Just minutes later, he found himself in an urgent situation — he’d run out of toilet paper just when he needed it most (!). What would you do if that were you?
This passenger decided to tweet about it, unabashedly informing the company about his dilemma.
Virgin Trains quickly tweeted back, promptly taking care of the issue both online and onboard.
2. Social listening can help you find leads!
Apart from providing good service for your customers, social listening also helps you gain new ones by generating sales leads. The key is to listen for mentions of keywords that are relevant to your particular social listening goals.
How to do social listening for lead generation?
In this case, it’s a good idea to monitor several types of keywords, including: your product or service, particular product features, specific industry terms related to your business, the name of your brand or company, and your competitors. Monitor mentions of these keywords with social listening to find potential leads who have an active interest in your type of product or service.
It is so easy for customers to ask for online recommendations and search for advice on the web before making any purchase decisions now. In the span of just one month, Brand24 collected almost 45,000 mentions that included the question “where can I buy”. There is enormous space for brands to join in on the conversation and suggest their products to prospects who really need them.
This is the exact opposite of intrusive marketing (outbound), where goods are pushed to people who do not necessarily want them. Instead, social listening helps businesses do permission marketing (inbound), which caters to audiences who are actively looking for particular offers.
We use Brand24 ourselves to find people who are looking for recommendations for good social media listening tools.
Our community managers then do a great job of interacting with these users to let them know about Brand24. This is one of our best methods of identifying new leads and has one of the highest conversion rates, too.
Why? Because we reach out to people who have a real need for our product.
Social listening case study: Brayola
Naturally, there are many more examples of brands reaching out to potential leads on the Internet. For instance, Brayola uses social listening to help prospective clients find their ideal bras.
How? By listening for online conversations about uncomfortable bras.
Then Brayola consultants join the discussion and offer their assistance in customizing the perfect bras while promoting the brand and their products to the audience.
Here is another example of a smart way to respond to customers online from Airbnb — a brand that connects people who want to rent-out their lodgings to the people who are looking for accommodations in those areas.
Dan Wetzel, a Yahoo Sports journalist, mocked the hotel arrangements in Sochi right before the 2014 Winter Olympics, as many locations lacked even basic facilities. He made a joke, offering 3 light bulbs in exchange for a door handle. Airbnb took this seriously and offered him accommodation in their response.
3. Use social listening to support your marketing campaigns
Nowadays, it is pretty common to see a dedicated hashtag accompany a marketing campaign, especially since it has proven to be one of the most effective ways to increase both reach and user engagement
Somersby, a leading brand of cider from Danish brewing company Carlsberg Group, is an excellent example of this. They’ve designed numerous hashtag campaigns that have successfully engaged fans, and amplifying their success by building strong relationships with bloggers and influencers.
For instance, when they introduced a new variety of Somersby to the Polish market, they worked with dozens of bloggers and encouraged people to share content (especially photos) with a dedicated hashtag.
This campaign not only improved the overall brand sentiment towards Somersby, it also gained tremendous social media reach. Beyond that, the new beverage became a bestselling beer in its category and the brand executed what became an annual sales plan in just 4 months.
Check out another social media listening case study: Somersby Social Engagement Case Study, An Easy Way to Enhance Sales: Somersby Cooperates with bloggers – Case Study
4. Use social media listening for customer engagement
These days, more brands than ever are engaging in online discussions with their fans and clients. Once a user posts something on the Internet that is related to either a brand or an entire industry, social media managers are there to interact with the audience.
This is a great way to increase customer engagement on the Internet, extend your online reach and win over your audience. If your response is timely, intelligent and humorous yet consistent with your brand image (you should not be making jokes if your company’s profile is very formal), you can easily grab your audience’s attention.
Social media listening case study: PlayStation
Take a cue from PlayStation’s social media monitoring strategy and see how they join online discussions to increase audience engagement and increase brand loyalty.
PlayStation uses social listening to find conversations that are related to gaming, gamers and the brand itself. Then they invent creative and funny responses to engage their audience and encourage gamers to play on the PS console.
5. Social listening gives you access to important customer insights
Today’s consumers are more open to sharing their opinions and reviews about the products or services that they use (or maybe they just have more avenues of doing so now).
Naturally, the easiest way to share is on the Internet, where users can post about their experiences using different products and brands — and automatically share these posts with a great deal of other consumers. Frequently, this is also where users provide candid suggestions and feedback on these goods and services. The Internet is a powerful source of valuable customer insights.
Smart brands leverage these user insights and implement them in their product development processes, which is what GoPro did when they came out with their new camera — GoPro Hero4.
Social listening case study: GoPro
We analyzed the online discussions regarding both releases: Hero3+ and Hero4. The user insights gathered during the Hero3+ premiere included lots of suggestions for features that could improve the user experience, which then appeared in the next model — GoPro Hero4.
Customer insights shared on the Internet among friends (and strangers) are often seen as being more reliable than those from other sources, because they’re considered to be more honest and genuine — even if they’re negative.
That’s why it’s important to listen to your audience. Your users and clients can (and probably do) give you valuable advice on how to improve your products and services. After all, they are the ones using them, so they know best about what would make these products even more appealing.
6. Identify influencers with social listening
Collaborating with social media influencers can bring you measurable results. Of course, it’s best to work with influencers who are genuinely interested in your company or its value proposition.
Social listening makes it possible for you to discover social media influencers who would be a good match to work with your brand.
If you are listening for mentions of your brand / company / business across the Internet, you can see what kind of people post about these topics inside the Brand24 Analysis Tab. The top profiles talking about your brand may be potential influencers that you can work with, and some of them may have cultivated significant followings.
However, just because someone may have mentioned your brand in one of their posts doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she will resonate with what your brand is promoting.
When searching for influencers, it’s important to also refer to the data from at least one more column inside the Analysis Tab: Share of Voice (Voice Share in the image). This metric considers the social media reach + total number of mentions of each profile; these factors combined inform us on the role that these profiles played in the total number of the discussions about your brand as a whole on the Internet.
If a user has a high Share of Voice for mentions of your brand, it means they generate more discussions about it. This indicates that they could be good potential brand ambassadors or influencers for you to work with. You can also filter by Influencer Score in the Mentions (or Sources) Tab to view profiles according to influence.
Social media listening case study: Zortrax
A very good example of a company that uses social media listening to find influencers is Zortrax, a Polish producer of professional 3D printing solutions.
Zortrax values the relationships that they have built with their clients — including satisfied customers who publish content about their brand. The company finds influential profiles through social listening and converts them into loyal brand ambassadors. They also have an eager group of “activists” who evangelize and educate the online community, e.g., on how to use 3D printers. This is extremely important, as loyal customers can provide your brand with the type of authentic promotion that no paid advertisement can give you.
7. Social listening helps protect your brand reputation
This is the most common and obvious social listening use case, and an extremely important one as well. Very often, a fast response to a negative review or fake comment can prevent a brand reputation crisis.
For instance, brandjacking is when someone impersonates a brand online, often with malicious intent, and it can cause a lot of damage to your reputation if not spotted early on. These virtual imposters can post anything they want to hurt your business and make you look bad in front of your customers.
If you discover a fake profile like this early enough, you can immediately rectify the situation and nip social outrage in the bud.
This also concerns unsatisfied customers who complain about your service or product. If you can spot their public comments before too many people see them, you can try to solve the problem before it gets out of hand.
8. Social listening data reveals purchase decision factors
Learning which factors have the greatest influence on customer purchase decisions is possibly the most valuable customer insight you can derive from social listening. Recommendations that are left on web forums and other online platforms often include detailed descriptions of a user’s experience with a product or service, which can influence consumer decisions.
Social listening case study: smartwatches
We’ve conducted numerous analyses based on online discussions which have helped us understand consumer behavior and user attitudes towards specific products, services, and their features.
These analyses help us uncover the most common reasons for buying (or not buying) a product. Understanding the key factors behind why clients choose your brand can give you a significant advantage over your competition.
For instance, we analyzed online discussions about smartwatches on the Polish market and examined the criteria for customer evaluation. It turned out that the most important factor behind choosing any particular model was based on appearance, and the second one — battery durability.
This chart indicates that customer support in Polish has little influence on the general public opinion for smart watches. And even though it is negatively evaluated (the chart below indicates sentiment as 100% negative for “support in Polish language”), companies do not need to focus on refining this feature; it does not have a significant impact on purchase decisions.
9. Social listening helps you find content marketing inspiration
Social listening is widely used by many bloggers who are looking for content inspiration. All bloggers and writers have probably struggled at some point with finding ideas on what to write about. Social listening tools can be a big help here by providing you with insights into what is trending on the Internet and what people want to read about.
It’s a fairly simple process; you just need to monitor relevant keywords. Naturally, keyword selection depends on your industry and topic of your blog.
For example, let’s take a blog that helps companies find solutions to develop their business. In this case, we should think about the catchiest key phrases related to this topic. Which tags and hashtags do they use? What are the most common words in this field?
In this case, we are interested in “growth hacking”, “grow your business” and “business growth” (separated with commas), which often appear as buzzwords in relation to tips, strategies and tricks for business development.
Don’t forget to also include these phrases as hashtags!
One of our clients — Veeu Network, a digital video company, uses social listening precisely in this area. Before writing any scripts for new videos, they first dig into recent social media discussions to find the most relevant topics of the moment according to their fans.
Check out this social listening case study: Veeu Network’s video strategies.
10. Make sure you hire the best employees with social listening
Human Resources is another department that can benefit from social listening. People post about everything on Including, including when they’re searching for a job. HR specialists who know how to use social listening as a recruitment tool are able to find a broader pool of potential candidates to fill an urgent vacancy in less time.
You can easily set up a project to monitor phrases like “looking for a job”, “I need a job”, etc. Results can be curbed to specific geographic regions and industries by adding ‘Required keywords’.
Once Brand24 collects some mentions, you’re ready to start reaching out to potential employees. Respond to their tweets or posts on LinkedIn, or send private messages asking for more details about their personal background. Who you reach out to and the questions you ask are totally up to you, and depends on the job.
11. Social listening backs up market research
Do you plan to introduce a new product or implement a social media campaign? The first thing you need to do is learn as much as possible about your target audience and the people you want to reach in your marketing message; you need to do some market research.
There are many ways to approach this and social listening is one of the most reliable methods. You can derive a lot of information about your target group based on the data that you monitor, including: user demographics, preferred online channels, and when your audience is most active — not to mention their levels of engagement, context of public discussions, and much more.
This data can help you design the most effective marketing strategy. You can learn where you should implement your campaign, the best days/weeks/months to run it, the best hours for posting on social (visible inside the Brand24 Excel report) and it also shows you the kind of language you should use in order to convey your message in a way that will resonate with your prospects and clients.
Of course, there’s much more that you can learn from media monitoring data.
12. Social listening measures the value of organic reach
Measuring the value of your organic (free!) reach is especially useful for agencies and CMOs that need to report the results of their strategies to a board of directors — in the form of tangible numbers.
Traditional marketing focuses on outdoor, TV, or press advertisements, and pays less attention to online channels. This is a (costly) waste, as marketing data from online channels is actually much more accurate and measurable than data from offline sources.
For instance, you cannot precisely estimate how many people have made a purchase decision after watching a TV commercial. However, if you display the same ad online, you can collect precise information about conversion rates at each step of the customer acquisition process.
An effective social listening tool, like Brand24, can help you estimate the value of online discussions about your brand. Taking into consideration factors such as: the size of the profiles that mention your brand, and the reach of their content + number of interactions — you can learn how many people have potentially seen mentions regarding your brand.
Using this data, you can effectively calculate the estimated value of these mentions and discussions regarding your brand.
The Estimated Reach is equivalent to the amount of exposure that you receive from your online marketing activities.
Not only does social listening show you how many people have encountered online content about your brand, your marketing campaigns and your products — it also helps you estimate the online advertising value, which is the real market value of an asset in terms of the average market cost of advertising after discounts.