Social media listening is beyond customer service; it is direct feedback on the brand, product and customer satisfaction.

Social media listening is beyond customer service; it is direct feedback on the brand, product and customer satisfaction.

By Raman Mittal

Every brand has a customer base on social media, which means there will always be conversations around the brand. And if brands don’t measure these conversations, they are missing out on a big chunk of insights that could be helpful in overall decision making.

Social media listening is beyond customer service; it is direct feedback on the brand, product and customer satisfaction. If the sentiments are positive, there is no harm. However, in some instances, when the sentiments are negative, it can damage the brand’s reputation and impact the bottom line eventually.

Listening closely
How does social media listening help achieve business objectives? When you have customers keeping an eye on your brand, responding to almost everything that a business does, you need to stay connected with them at all times.

This is how a leading international car manufacturing company heard its customers: With the help of detailed social listening reports, the company concluded that people were not really happy with the seat style of its recently launched car. After much deliberation, it changed the design of the front seats of the car to enhance the long-journey travel experience. This led to a spike in sales numbers and satisfaction index.

Jollibee Foods Corporation, a leading fast food chain, is another example of how to do social listening the right way. The company gathered a lot of intelligence on multiple parameters benchmarked against McDonald’s, Burger King and other competitors. It learnt that breakfast conversations were mostly dominated by McDonald’s, and adding morning products in the menu would increase footfall. Jollibee also devised giveaway promotional campaigns for specific meal categories looking at the competitors, and saw a surge in conversion from 11% to 39%.

Then there’s the case of Mahindra, which listened to more than eight million conversations over the last year, before zeroing in on a social cause to stand for. Mahindra’s digital marketing team worked on a detailed social media listening exercise and found that people were most concerned about environmental issues. On analysing the results, the company decided to go ahead with the RiseAgainstClimateChange campaign.

Indifference is a risk
Ignoring the social media chatter about your brand could have unpleasant consequences. Amrapali Real Estate is a good example of this. While several cases of willful wrongdoings in corporate governance are pending against the company, the biggest consumer movement against the company started a few years ago on social media. However, the company ignored the chatter, and did not address the complaints. As a result, one Facebook group led to another, and the brand was brought down in no time.

Lessons can also be learnt from the social media disaster of United Airlines. A YouTube campaign by the guitarist who received his guitar in a broken state at the airport checkout created uproar on social media. The airline’s lack of response let the conversations snowball into a virtual mass protest. Millions of dollars in revenue, market capital and brand equity were lost before the company offered an apology and compensation to the guitarist.

Brands have now understood the impact of an analytics-driven marketing strategy. Investing in a good social media listening tool helps pull all of your brand mentions on to a single place. With tools such as Talkwalker, Sysomos, Brandwatch and Meltwater, it becomes easy to cull out information, and further analyse this data for better decision making.


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