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Social media listening’s insights are a great marketing tool – but only if they foster social engagement between brands and consumers. What does that interaction look like?

Never let ’em see you sell

First let’s talk about why it’s so important to talk back to your audience. The reason is far from rocket science: it’s all about relationship building. What used to be a sign of exceptional service is now a non-negotiable, basic component of getting consumers on your side.

If they “see” your marketing efforts as marketing – it’s game over. Instead, if you want them to care about you, you have to care about them. For realz.

To do this, analyze sentiment and create segments based on consumer interests – and then talk to them about your brand within the context of these interests.

For example, don’t assume all parents of a certain age care about your sale on Star Wars bedding – and push it at them. It’s smarter to talk to all the people who love Star Wars the most, and connect in a human way on this topic first. Only then can you wow them with the idea of merchandise or services that collide with their passions.

Be human and build your brand

Knowing what consumers want to talk about is the first step – the thing that helps you make friends with them. But there’s more to building a great brand-consumer relationship than that. As much as you want to be perceived as the BFF of all your customers, the reality is your job is to serve them.

That means no problem is too big, and no request is too small. You need to be attuned to extremes of sentiment on every channel of interaction so you can delight your audience by taking care of their needs before they ask.

When they grumble via social channels, you have to address those concerns before they fester. Just as you would take care of the grievances and needs of a close friend or family member, you must take care of your customers – not because there’s something in it for you, but because you care enough to make things right. Leave consumers with that impression and you can’t help but succeed.

The next level of engagement

So yes, you need social monitoring tools to alert you to consumer issues there, and you need sentiment analysis tools for audience insights. You also need integrated engagement software that allows you to respond to the data – social and otherwise – you’re pulling in.

The best of these let you route information to the proper parties in your organization, while also cluing you in to the degree of influence of negative feedback. That’s super important for triaging responses.

You also want control over who sees what, and the option to review team-member posts – to avoid potentially brand-damaging content from going live.

Combining solutions like MediaFunnel with your social analytics tools provides an additional layer of security while also extending the way social data is used by your brand. Easily loop in your customer service, marketing, human resources and channel management teams to maximize the ROI of your social listening insights.

With this kind of overarching approach you’ll know exactly where consumers stand in real-time, and be able to take the right action at the right moment. That could mean anything from sending a social customer to a page on your website, to resolving a consumer complaint, to activating influencers to carry your messaging out into the world.

Interaction is the first phase of action applied to the insights derived from social media listening – but it’s more than just making small talk as you promote your latest sale. Like everything else that happens on social, there’s a broad spectrum of data and use cases to consider. Don’t let any of it go to waste.

Our annual NetBase LIVE conference will shed light on all things social. Join us in NY or LA this October!

Image from Ian Gampon

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