How often do you end up with pushy sales reps who want to close you right away? They are so irritating! But here’s a genuine question – are you irritated because you hate the product or because the sales rep simply is not listening to you?
Like anyone else, I have dealt with a fair share of annoying sales reps who think that they can sell me their product by constantly bothering me.
The truth is that sales teams around the world need to start listening. Even more importantly, they need to start social listening.
What is Social Listening?
Every time you check in on your social media feed to check what your clients are saying or doing, you are listening to their social activities. Social listening has become a vital part of succeeding online.
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the name of the game in 2019. Social listening allows you to get in front of your clients.
You could tackle bad reviews by making amends or you can simply thank a customer for positive reviews.
Having a positive presence on social media will help you improve Public Relations and you can push for the flywheel marketing model.
What is the Flywheel Marketing model?
The Flywheel Marketing Model by HubSpot took the conventional sales funnel and fine-tuned it. The idea is to improve sales by turning your existing customers into your advocates.
This is one of the best things that can happen to your business. By turning your existing customers into advocates, you can create a perpetual lead generation machine. But the only way you can do that is by answering questions.
What are these questions?
How about these three to start with:
- What has to happen for customers to be so delighted that they recommend your brand to other people?
- What has to happen in order to ruin your brand image so badly that customers actually recommend staying away from your brand?
- What is your Unique Selling Point?
If you can successfully answer these three questions, half the battle is already won.
Using these internal checks, you can not only generate more leads but also close them much more effortlessly.
How do you find the answers to these three magical questions? You guessed it – Social Listening!
What Does Social Listening Do For Your Brand?
Social Listening has a lot of positive impacts on your brand. Doing it right is the best way to conquer social selling.
Here are the three key reasons to invest in social listening right now:
- Improves Trust Signals: Trust is the key to social sales. If your prospects do not trust you, why would they buy from you? Listening to what your followers want will help shape your brand in the right direction.
- Moulds Public Perception: Do you want to be active on Social Media? Or do you want to be pro-active? Active brands keep pushing content. Proactive brands reach out to customers offering feedback and implement them. Which would you rather be?
- Increases ROI: Say you spend ten minutes to respond to a customer’s problem. You turn that client into an advocate for your brand. Instead of paying affiliate fees, you pay attention to your existing customers. Can you see how that impacts your ROI?
That is the exact reason why social listening is so important for any evolving brand.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Brand’s Trust Signals?
Start tracking online conversations about particular hashtags, keywords, special phrases, and brand mentions.
Using brand monitoring tools, you can target and tap into a potential goldmine of social signals. It is not even that difficult. All you have to do is respond.
Enough with the slimy sales tactics. Put in some effort to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry instead.
By improving your brand signals, you can quit running after your prospects. Trust me – they will come running to you instead.
How Can You Mould Public Perception?
Have you ever noticed that great ad copies never really sell you the product? They do not even sell you a solution.
All they do is take your biggest pain point, find the emotion that it triggers, and capitalize on it.
Why does this work?
The reason is really simple – we buy only what we are emotional about. By understanding what emotions drive your target audience, you can position yourself as a company that the people love and want.
Public perception can make or break your brand and social listening will help you understand what your brand truly has to offer. Position yourself well using actual feedback from real people.
How Does Social Listening Increase Your ROI?
When was the last time you waited an hour for coffee and actually found the wait to be justified?
No need to answer, that was a rhetorical question. The answer is never.
By listening to specific conversations, you can figure out EVERYTHING you need to about your consumers.
Your ideal price point, expected delivery times, acceptable delay times, product feedback, ideas for expansion – you name it!
What do you think will happen to your sales when you hit all those checkboxes? They will skyrocket to the moon! Need more convincing that social listening is the way to go?
How About Some Statistics Next?
It is a rather bold claim to say that you need social listening for social selling. But is there any evidence to back up that statement? Fortunately, there is!
These 9 facts about social media selling will shock you:
- 90% of businesses say they use social media platforms to respond to customer service inquiries. But 58% of consumers tweeting with negative feedback never got a formal reply from the company.
- 78% of companies have a dedicated social media team. Only 26% fully integrate social media into their actual business strategies.
- Only 20% of CMOs use social networks to engage and collaborate with customers.
- 80% of brands advertise on social media platforms.
- Only 18% of users trust social marketers.
- The average order value for e-commerce websites influenced by social media was $143.46 in 2014.
- The average response time for consumer complaints even for brands that responded on Twitter at all was nine hours.
- 54% of B2B marketers generate leads from social media.
- 24% of brands claimed that they were involved in ‘social listening’.
Let me distill these facts into something very simple – advertising on social media is not enough. Your consumers will not trust you unless you pay attention to their needs.
This is all fine and good, but how do we execute something like this on a scale? Social media platforms have a LOT of noise. How do you filter the relevant posts? The best way to do that is to use automated tools that will help you in social listening.
What Tools Can We Use for Social Listening?
Some of the simplest tools are often the most effective in the case of social listening. If you have a small business that is just starting out, the best thing to do is to engage daily with every relevant post out there to build a following.
Once you have a dedicated following, you should automate the entire process.
These 8 tools will help you sort through an avalanche of social posts and target the ones that really matter:
- Google Alerts
- Simply Measured
- Social Mention
All these tools are meant to equip you for better sales and branding. Great!
But you still have to sort through all of them and forward them to different departments.
The chaos is unbearable and in the process, you are sure to miss a few posts. As a result, your customers will feel sidelined and ignored – bad for business. Even in the best case scenario, there is a huge wait time for your customers.
What do you do to make it even easier to spot consumer patterns and organize different posts to register and react to?
The simplest solution is to ask your customers to declare their patterns. This is where hashtags come into play.
Use fun and innovative hashtags that different departments in your company can use. Encourage your customers to use those hashtags.
This way, the right post ends up with the right department and everyone wins – GREAT for business!
Tools Are Great, But Where Do We Start?
If you are a small company or you just started your business, chances are that you have no clue where to begin.
Do you know who has a lot of knowledge in this regard?
Influencers already have a curated group of people in your niche and they know exactly how to sell your product to their audience. Partner up with influencers in your sphere to get ahead in the game.
Once you know more about your audience and your brand, start creating killer content that your audience is most likely to appreciate.
As you grow a brand following, the chaos will increase. But the good news is that you already know what tools you can use to fix that!
How to Apply What You Are Listening to On Social Media?
Now that you know what you should be listening to and how to listen to it, you need to learn how to apply the data that you gather.
BuzzSumo took this idea to the next level and they create data-driven content on a regular basis.
They mine not just what their own customers are saying on social media but several industries at a time. As a result, their social media accounts are always booming and their products sell like hot cakes.
The best thing to do now that you have all this data from social media is to create content based on it or at least modify your existing content to suit it.
You can create:
- An FAQ page based on popular queries.
- A contact page that details the contact information forr different departments.
- Contests that your customers will want.
- Blogs and tutorials for products and related niches to boost your authority.
- Lead magnets using content offers that are useful to your prospects.
The list is simply endless. Content is not the only place where you can use your data either. You can actually use the consumer feedback to sort out issues in your sales, supply chain, and even your price point.
Who Is Responsible for All This, Though?
Every department in your company is separately responsible for social listening. Think about it – every department has different concerns, right? So, the heads of each department should practice and perfect their social listening game.
The first step is to get the heads of you departments with official social media accounts. Using these accounts, they can monitor different customer queries and deal with focused issues.
If you have a relatively small company, ask yourself if you have a CMO. The CMO can directly handle a lot of customer issues and include it in their marketing strategies.
Of course, if you are doing everything at the moment, then the responsibility falls entirely on your shoulders. As an alternative, you could outsource your needs to other companies that are equipped to help you out.
Wrapping Things Up
The entire idea behind focused social selling is unchartered territory for many businesses. So, it is quite natural that social listening is not something most businesses really understad or invest in.
One of the major factors in 2019 behind better branding is the entire customer experience. You need to optimize the entire sales process so that your customer is delighted across each step of their buyer journey.
If you have not set up social listening yet, it is absolutely time to get started.
Are there questions or challenges that you are facing with social listening? Reach out to us. Perhaps we can help.
Leave a comment on how you are currently using social listening and if you are not using it, comment below with ‘Not’. If you liked this blog, then show us that love. Share this with as many businesses and service professionals as you know.