Gone are the days when surveys and leaflets were the pathways to gain insights into customers’ views about a brand and its products and services. In contemporary times, when digital interactions are revamping and more people are participating in communities, it is crucial for brands to create the right strategies to know their customers’ views.
Keeping track of all engagement touchpoints in a community might be difficult but gaining consumer insight is at the heart of every content manager. And for that, it’s necessary to understand how existing and potential customers perceive your brand. To gain this knowledge, brands are now leveraging social listening.
Social listening enables you to keep track of all that your customer is communicating vis-a-vis your brand in your community. It can be in the form of mentions, comments, posts, ideas, and more. Analyzing what your customers say allows you to build a solid understanding of challenges your community members are facing and of areas that need improvement.
So, let’s explore the significance of social listening and the strategies that can help you build a robust online community.
The Significance of Social Listening in Online Communities
Through social listening, community managers and moderators get the opportunity to participate in digital conversations and monitor them closely to get actionable insights.
It is a key medium for brands to understand the psychology behind those conversations and what makes them meaningful. Based on these insights, community managers can create plans and strategies that address the member’s pain points and increase engagement.
Social listening in online communities enables brands to:
- Nurture target prospects
- Get consumer insights
- Identify brand advocates
- Create community management plans
- Create community moderation strategies
- Collaborate with influencers
- Improve brand identity and reputation
5 Social Listening Strategies to Build a Robust Online Community
Social listening enables you to monitor the community and lets you find ways to be a part of the community organically. By identifying and evaluating what is useful for your community, you can make qualitative deployments in your community to make it more engaging.
Here are some social listening strategies that community managers should take up.
1. Build Personas: It is not possible to build a successful community without knowing who you are building the community for. A community becomes successful when you know who your audience is, what they want, and if their needs are catered to in the community.
Building personas can be your data compass where you can always come back to when you need to make strategic decisions. To build personas, undertake the following steps:
- Make initial categories and compile customers accordingly.
- Pull up a list of people that fit into each category.
- Write every bit of information you have collected from social listening related to a particular member.
Add their basic demographic information, including age, work profile, industry, position, income, buying patterns, and all that the customer has shared. Having the data and segmented it properly will help you get a clear insight into what your target audience looks like and who interacts with your brand more.
2. Identify Business Goals: If you have multiple departments for your business operations, it is important to discern departmental social listening goals.
Some common business priorities social listening can support are:
- Lead generation & acquisition of new members
- Product feedback
- Market research
- Competitive analysis
- Customer support and case deflection
- Revenue through in-community advertising
As a community manager, when you are expanding your social listening strategy, you will need to keep the above-mentioned big-picture business goals in mind. To dig deeper on these, arrange discussions with sales managers, product marketing managers, and other key partners to identify the common challenges customers face. Analyzing feedback and challenges will enable you to pinpoint overarching business priorities that can be benefited from social listening.
3. Take Note of Where Your Audience is Active: Performing an audit of your community will lower your burden of following up with your customers around all channels.
Though, as a community manager, there are plenty of options for you to choose from, you need to discover channels that align with your community and the preferences of your customers. For example, if you want to promote product walkthroughs, the channel best suited to your audience will be YouTube rather than Facebook.
In case you want to discover what platforms your audience talks about, consider evaluating their mentions, suggestions, conversations, and ideas within the community.
4. Uncover New Prospects: Social listening gives you track of what your existing audience is talking about. It helps you collect data of what things interest your audience through their chats, mentions, searches, queries, and activities. With the data collected from what your current audience is interested in, you can create hashtags or keywords to explore other channels to look out for lookalike prospects.
By having a clear insight into the activities of your current audience and collecting their behavioral data, you can strategically discover a completely new set of audiences.
5. Address Negative Comments: As your company grows, so does your customer base. And a growing customer base comes with product/service feedback of all kinds, good, bad, and neutral. But the way an organization handles negative feedback is what matters to other customers. In a [i]research, it was found that 93% of people see reviews before they buy a product of which 50% of them said, upon encountering a negative review they doubt the quality of business. Customers silently watch the negative feedback coming and wait to see how you reply. Your replies are your businesses’ personality builder. Your agonistic reply to negative feedback can make your argumentative image and a polite response can present you as a sustainer.
Handling negative feedback is not always easy but when done right, it can help you solidify your image as a brand.
How, you ask?
Here are a few pro-tips to handle negative feedback well:
- Understand and listen carefully to what your customer is complaining about.
- Do not put up a defensive or angry reply for your customers. It’s best to reply calmly in all situations.
- Take negative feedback as constructive criticism.
- Ask your customers for improvements.
- Let them know their feedback was important.
- Reply compassionately with a solution.
Remember not to over apologize, if necessary, apologize once sincerely, learn from the mistake, and move on.
Listening to issues, working on the feedback, and acting on the complaints constructively, leads to robust community building.
Social listening is the best way to understand what your customers’ needs are – by analyzing the conversations that are taking place, who is taking an active part in them, and what is making them meaningful.
By listening to what your customers want and feel burdened with, you can sharpen your community management and keep them happy by delivering exactly what they want.
Building a competitive community is difficult, but once you know your customers well by leveraging social listening tactics, you can put your efforts into making your community more engaging.
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