Michelle Morales

Social Listening Amidst Disorder

Improve Social Listening for Brands

To maintain and grow your brand on a digital level, social listening can be one of the most important tools you deploy. Social listening is crucial for a brand that is trying to connect with current customers, especially during events like we’ve been experiencing these last few months.
Here are ways to use social listening to help your brand better understand:

Analyzing Sentiment

Reviewing and analyzing current conversations on places like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can help in understanding what customers are currently feeling towards your brand. This can be useful in two ways. First, it can provide valuable insight into keywords and topics you can use to connect with existing sentiment and need. It can also help you quickly react to consumers. Especially in a situation we are in now, where brand conversations can shift quickly, it’s important to know what people are needing and wanting.

Understanding Conversations

For first-time analysis, it is recommended to do social listening for the full prior year, if the brand has conversation volume to do so. Beyond that quarterly review is typically advised, although more updates can help if the conversation is changing rapidly.

Reviews look for main keywords, top mentions (such as influencer conversation), and which social platforms have the majority of the conversations. Analyzing these, in correlation with daily mentions, whether sentiment is positive or negative, and demographics of the topics/keyword mentions. It can also be useful to target groups like Millennials, etc. if that’s where you know the conversation is happening. For global brands, looking into language or country separately can be necessary too.

Filter What’s Important

Scouting keywords and tracking quantitative data is one thing, understanding the quality of the data is another. To best utilize social listening you need to have strategy and discernment for which conversations to follow, and which to leave behind. For example, a brand we do social listening strategy for recently launched an IGTV channel, prompting a spike in conversation. It’s important to relate the spike to the event to know why the spike occurred to respond accordingly.

Some of this can be found by specifically finding keywords that fit your brand, versus more generic terms that can throw off findings and results. It also helps to read context into conversations, looking for spikes and patterns of conversations/keywords, and analyzing the data in relation to things like new product launches, company updates or current events within the community.

Understanding all aspects of social listening can help with organic content creation as well as advertisements in both digital and other channels. As quickly as conversations and sentiments can change, so can the digital platforms you’re listening on. Every day hashtags shift, platforms add services to entice brands, and the volume of conversations is altered. Truly connecting with your audience, and responding to their current needs and wants, can bring stronger brand loyalty, recognition and drive more meaningful conversations in return.

A Strong Strategy for Digital Customer Service

Marketing may be having some ups and downs during the pandemic, but one thing we have seen stay strong is the need for robust digital and online customer support strategies. This is beyond having a “contact us” button on your website, or a chatbot on your home page. And it’s more than sending an email with Coronavirus updates from your CEO. We’re not saying these things aren’t important ways to communicate; they definitely have their place. But at a time when news can change hourly, having a team in place that quickly answers online or social media concerns is really important to your future relationship with them.

Our digital agency has worked with a number of brands to offer customer service strategy and support across a variety of industries. Through these last couple of months we’ve seen customer inquiries rise up to 30% for some companies – specially CPG brands. This large increase of work became a proving ground for how strong strategy can help navigate unexpected spikes in consumer needs. Here are the takeaways from our years working with clients, and these past months of disruption to the status quo:

Organized Action Plan

Having an action plan for ebbs and flows is key. Not only does that mean knowing what to do when an influx comes, but also managing expectations for the highs and the lows. A good action plan organizes customer response scenarios into levels of escalation. Some questions are asked often and can be easily answered by a customer service representative. Other questions may need approval from a member of the leadership team before proceeding. 

Knowing which questions should be escalated, and who can be counted on for a quick response, provides customers with answers in a timely manner. Creating hard rules for response is important to this process. An example of this would be: Questions will be answered during work days within 12 hours, weekends within 24 hours. If a question is escalated it will receive a response within 24 hours from management. 

Ready to Respond

Whether questions lend themselves to a quick answer or escalation period, a response should always be given as soon as possible. This means that even if an answer may need a 24 hour window for your company’s management to think about, a customer service person should still respond so your customer knows they’ve been heard. 

It’s important to understand the question or comment before you respond, but in some cases something as simple as, “We’ve escalated your question, and will get back to you shortly.” Other cases, like public forums or social media, requesting the customer to contact you directly gives an opportunity for a more in-depth and personal conversation. 

Identify Repeat Inquires 

Another very helpful part of ongoing strategy is to identify repeat questions or comments. Doing this can help efficiencies within customer service, and speed up response time.

Every common question should have a canned response. This doesn’t mean a response has to be written verbatim each time, but it does mean that a very similar response can be given to very similar questions. Identifying and tracking common questions and canned responses is especially helpful in times like we find ourselves now, when unique customer inquiries may spike, but the uniqueness of the inquiry has not. 

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In times when things are uncertain, our advice to stay nimble applies to customer service as well. This may mean shortening or expanding response times that were set forth in the original plan, adding additional canned responses, or preparing for more escalated comments than normal. Connecting with your customers in a time of crisis can help strengthen a relationship and prove real interest in your customers needs.