We talk a lot about the buyer journey, and for good reason – where your prospects encounter your business and what you're saying at those stages are the two most crucial components that guide your customer relationships. To that end, social media platforms have been a major focus for businesses looking to build relationships with their customers on their turf.
Social media marketing, however, is about more than being a member of a social community. Effective social media marketing means you're listening to your prospects and customers, not just spewing out all the content you can muster with the hope that someone cares. Let's take a look at how social listening answers key questions in all the stages of your customer lifecycle.
Is there really a market for this product/service?
During the market overview phase, you have a chance to gather insights that were traditionally hard-fought and hard-won. You no longer need to waste time developing expensive, time-consuming prototypes and conducting painstaking market research studies to see if there's a market for a new product or service.
Social media platforms are a hotbed of activity when it comes to opinions, solutions and needs. With a few well-placed questions and some effective feedback gathering methods, you're able to access all the information you need to find the perfect niche for your next venture.
Who are my competitors in this space, and what are they doing?
Competitive intelligence is a key aspect of product or service development. You need to know who's going to be interested in your product and who they're currently using to satisfy those needs. You need to know how much they're willing to pay.
Social listening helps you view the market for your upcoming service or product – who are the leaders in the space and how are they making their products work? What problems are they solving for their customers and where are they falling flat? What would make your product more attractive to their customers? With this information, you're able to tailor your product to a lucrative market and learn from (and capitalize on) the mistakes of your competition.
Am I keeping my customers happy?
Customer feedback gives you a chance to hear straight from your customers about what they like and what they'd like to change. Use social media platforms to encourage your customers to share their experiences with your product or service, and use social listening to ensure them that you're paying attention. You may even create a community tailored around a specific product so your customers and prospects have a forum through which to talk and share.
When you tap into this vast resource via social listening, you’re able to see where you're performing well and where you need to focus your improvement efforts.
How do I guide a prospect to talk with my salespeople?
Consumers use social media platforms to perform research on products, services and companies they're considering using.
Imagine a business executive is looking to buy a new software package. She's not sure which one she's going to choose, and the investment is an important one, so she spends some time in a LinkedIn group filled with professionals much like herself. She reads about the pros and cons, common problems users are encountering and hears stories about customer service. If you're not paying attention to these conversations, you're losing her as a potential buyer. If you're actively using social listening, you see these conversations happening in real-time and you're able to provide her with the answers she needs to make the best decision. Offer to answer any questions she has and direct her to a consultation with a salesperson.
How do I boost customer retention rates and turn one-time shoppers into evangelists?
Customer loyalty is the Holy Grail for businesses. Loyal customers stick around, make repeat purchases and tell their friends. Acquiring a customer is six times more expensive than retaining one. Usually, the key difference between keeping a customer and losing him is the value of your customer service.
Social listening provides a strong foundation for businesses to actively connect and converse with their customers, to solve problems and to keep customers happy. Social listening is your best bet for prompt response to customer service issues and prospect inquiries. If you don't have your finger on the pulse, you're letting these valuable interactions slip out of your hands.
Start Today Tip: Social connection is no longer an option in business – it's a requirement if you want your company to thrive. Facilitate strong interactions between your employees, your executives and your customers by listening to social cues in real time. Interested in learning more about real-time insights in a customer-centric market? Optimize your marketing strategy to reap the benefits of social listening!
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