The advent of the internet and interactive digital mediums have changed the way audiences perceive things. Their different mindsets, emotions, and pain-points can put marketers in a dilemma. It is because they want to generate content that creates the same level of impact on everyone.
Each customer is different and so are their preferences, needs, and interests. They prefer different modes of communication and consume different content forms.
For example, some people might like to watch funny short clips while some people may love hearing inspirational podcasts. While communicating your brand message to a broader audience, you must consider all these things.
You can learn about your audience from social listening. For instance, tracking the number of brand mentions on social media is directly related to your awareness. Similarly, different social listening metrics track customer engagement, competitor strategies, and customer satisfaction. In short, it offers insights into all the aspects of marketing.
The Importance of Understanding Audience
There used to be times when brands ignored audience perspectives and pain points. But today, the brands have come a long way ahead to please the customers. For example, the first online delivery service in the US started in 1995, which today we know as Waiter.com. Nowadays, Dominoes has started delivering their pizzas via drones in New Zealand. We do not know where it will end.
What starts as a luxury option can soon turn into a necessity for the customers. As a brand, you must be updated about the evolving customer perspectives. Online conversations are the best place to track their perspectives.
However, tracking all the conversations manually is not possible. This is where social listening proves to be a lot more convenient and relevant in today’s context. It automates the process of obtaining audience insights and helps you create impactful narratives for your brand. Knowing what your audiences prefer and think is also important for these reasons:
1. Tailoring Communication
To build a communication plan, you must understand the expectations, views, and behaviours of your customers. At the same time, you must also be aware of their cultural sensitivities and taboos.
For example, cats are symbols of good luck in China. However, in Hinduism, they are often connected to negative energies and bad luck. Similarly, different cultures can have different meanings for numbers, symbols, and colours. With social listening tools, you can gather specific cultural insights before customising the communication for a target audience.
Choosing the right communication channels is also essential to create the right kind of impact. Consider factors like availability, popularity, and accessibility of channels before making any decision.
Finally, use the cultural context of the target audience to refine your brand’s message in a way that appeals to them. To test the effectiveness of your communication strategy, you must evaluate how your audience reacts to your messages. Here also, the role of social listening tools becomes important.
2. Enhancing Customer Experience
Understanding how your audience feels about your brand, products, and services is essential. With these insights, you can streamline their experience. There are many ways to improve customer experience using social listening.
By implementing social media listening for audience interaction analysis, you can understand the topics that motivate them. You can include these topics while communicating with them. By knowing which communication channels they prefer, you can serve them better.
For instance, some people may not like to interact via direct calls and SMS. For such people, you can include options like web chat and email service.
The Power of Social Listening
Social listening is powerful because it can be used to improve all aspects of marketing. The tools with social listening capabilities can provide you with insights into your competitor’s strategies. You can also learn about the audience from social listening.
The audience’s needs, opinions, and sentiments can be tracked using advanced analytical tools. These social listening tools also make you aware of the latest industry trends. In my opinion, these aspects highlight the true power of social media listening:
1. Capturing Unfiltered Insights
Primary research is also a good way to collect diverse perspectives of the audience. Yet, it comes with many challenges and in the end, the derived insights may not be of much use. The research can be affected by different types of bias.
For instance, a researcher may prioritise the information that suits his beliefs and opinions. The opinions of the respondents regarding certain organisations or events can make them deflect from their true opinions. This results in respondent bias which affects the research quality. When someone’s opinion or views are heavily influenced by their culture, it leads to cultural bias.
Social listening lets you capture insights that are not filtered by any kind of bias. These unfiltered insights help you understand the diverse perspectives of the audience. Read Why Social Listening And Customer Insights Are Important For Your Brand
2. Identifying Trends and Sentiments
In the business world, it is essential to understand the evolving trends and sentiments of the end users. Without social listening, it is impossible to track them consistently. For example, if you are a clothing brand, you must understand how the preferences of your audience change according to different seasons and festivals.
Not paying heed to customer sentiments can also affect your business negatively. Suppose that you run an electronics store and your customers are not happy with your after-sales support. If you do not address the issue and incorporate the required changes immediately, it can affect your online reputation and sales. With social listening, you can track industry trends and customer sentiments effortlessly.
3. Unveiling Audience Diversity
Audiences can be categorised based on their age, hobbies, occupation, and other details. Social listening highlights the diversity that exists even in a particular audience segment. So, true audience diversity can only be understood if you have access to social listening capabilities.
A food brand can broadly segment its audiences based on their taste preferences. Fast food lovers can be one of those segments. Yet, the wide range of fast food varieties available in the market creates the scope for further classification.
Collecting and assessing these finer details manually would need a lot of time and effort. However, if you use social listening for capturing audience insights, filtering data as per your target audience becomes easy.
Key Techniques for Understanding Audience Perspectives
Follow these key techniques if you are planning to use social listening for audience engagement:
1. Segmenting Audiences
All the social media users cannot be your target customers. So, the first step would be to filter the larger audience based on the preferences and perspectives that matter to your brand.
After that, you must segment the target audience further based on their demographic details, interests, hobbies, and other details. Segmenting the audience also highlights their varying perspectives.
For instance, a political party may segment the audience based on their social, economic, and religious beliefs. Further, they would shape their strategies to target the different perspectives of their target audience.
2. Monitoring Trending Topics
You can establish strong communication with the audience using social listening. Incorporating the latest trends and insights into your content and communication make them relevant to your target audience. Monitoring trending topics unveils the current perspectives of the customers.
Suppose that you are a brand that sells cars. In this case, safety ratings of different cars, safety features, and overall features of cars can be the trending topics. Creating content around trending topics helps you to capture the attention of your audiences. By monitoring the trending news and topics, you can dive deeper into their emotions and perspectives.
Startup brands find trending topics before creating marketing posts and campaigns. By leveraging these topics, they improve their brand reach, visibility, and reputation.
3. Analysing Sentiment Variation
While learning about the audience from social listening, you must also pay attention to their sentiments. Sentiment analysis is a critical process in the online reputation management strategy. The feedback, product reviews, and surveys taken by customers highlight their sentiments regarding the brand and its offerings.
Brands want to know the underlying sentiment of the larger audience to detect whether their strategies are working or not. It is also known as opinion mining. Text analytics tools that use NLP (Natural Language Processing) and ML (Machine Learning) detect whether a given text contains positive, neutral, or negative sentiments.
Using these tools, brands may conduct a sentiment scoring test. In sentiment scoring, scores are given to the tests based on their underlying sentiments. The negative sentiments attract a negative score say -10. Neutral sentiments always get a 0 score, whereas positive sentiments get a positive score like +10.
Any variation in the overall sentiment score gives brands an idea regarding their marketing strategies. If the sentiment score has varied a lot, the brands may use it as an indication to change or upgrade their strategies.
4. Tracking Demographic Insights
If you are thinking of using social listening for audience perspectives and insights, you cannot ignore the demographic insights. Demographic details like age, occupation, gender, spoken languages, location, interests, etc. are usually obtained from a user’s profile.
Conversations based on demographic data can be analysed using social listening. For instance, you can track the issues faced by customers in the age range of 45 to 50. Or else, you can monitor the preferences of a specific high-income audience. Multiple metrics can also be used to filter the conversations as per your target audience.
5. Unearthing Cultural Nuances
While communicating with your audiences, you must consider the nuances related to their language and culture.
Understanding their slags, emotions, values, and other cultural nuances helps you build effective communication strategies. With social listening tools, you can unearth these nuances by tracking location-specific trends and preferences.
For instance, to offer better customer services in a particular location, you can hire a native speaker in your support team. With a native speaker, you can reach out to the local audiences in a way that even the most experienced and talented executives could not. Likewise, even the best research and sentiment analysis is incomplete without uncovering the cultural nuances and insights.
You can use social listening for audience behavior analysis. At the same time, you can also use social listening for audience engagement. For instance, you can detect the influencers that are popular in a certain region or language. By collaborating with these influencers, you can reach out to the audiences in a better way.
Similarly, you can also unearth marketing experts in a particular region. By reaching out to them, you can uncover the business potential and opportunities in that region.
Leveraging Insights for Strategic Action
Employing social listening for audience perspectives and data is just the first step. The actual process begins when you leverage these insights and use them via strategic actions. Here are some actions to be taken based on the insights obtained via social listening:
1. Personalised Content Creation
Customers prefer interacting with marketing messages and content that are related to their specific interests. Personalisation is not just limited to wishing customers on their birthdays and sending them gift cards on their anniversaries.
Let’s say that some of your customers engage more with funny memes and one-liners. Using tools with social listening capabilities you can discover these insights. Further, you can use them to create content that suits your audience’s interests.
Nowadays, customers like brands that offer personalised experiences to make their journeys better. Personalization allows you to add some tweaks to streamline their experience.
2. Product and Service Innovation
If your customers are not happy with your products or services, it will reflect in their conversations. By tracking relevant conversations, social listening helps you uncover the product and service gaps.
Let’s consider a real-life example. The users of Xiaomi 12 Pro in India faced a strange issue with the camera when it first came out. Due to heating issues and condensation, the camera fogged while they recorded 4K videos. When many customers started reporting it via user reviews and feedback, the brand took it seriously. Fortunately, they were able to fix it with a software upgrade on time. As a result, this event did not affect the future sales of the phone model.
Likewise, if your customers highlight any service or product issues, you can share them with your product development or support team. By incorporating the changes, you can resolve their issues. Further, you may convey to the audiences that the issues have been resolved through a post or update.
3. Crisis Management and Prevention
While implementing social listening for audience perspectives and insights, you can encounter some negative comments and feedback. With social listening capabilities like sentiment analytics and scoring, you can flag the issues that can turn into a crisis.
With NLP and machine learning, you can track the conversations that have an underlying negative sentiment. Even simple metrics like product/service ratings can help you uncover such sentiments.
For example, you can track the customers who have given only a ‘1’ rating out of 5 for your product/services. By communicating with these customers personally, you can try to understand their issues. With such proactive measures, you can prevent a social media crisis and maintain your brand reputation.
Future Trends in Audience Understanding
Nowadays, more people use voice assistants to search for details related to specific products and services. By unearthing such trends, social listening helps you to understand audience perspectives better.
Social listening is a continuous process. By employing predictive analysis and social listening for audience insights, you can also predict future trends. One needs to watch out for these future trends in the market:
1. AI-Driven Audience Segmentation
AI is already being used to communicate with the customers. For instance, we see virtual assistants and bots being used to address customer concerns and queries.
Likewise, brands may use data-driven algorithms to create audience segments. By employing clustering techniques, they may group audiences based on their preferences, needs, and demographics. Further, audiences may be segmented based on their loyalty, value, and proposed potential.
2. Real-time Insights and Response
One of the social listening capabilities is providing you with real-time access to customer conversations. By using advanced analytics and AI, brands may obtain real-time insights in the future.
Also, they may use automated tools to generate immediate responses. Using such strategies, brands may streamline their reputation and manage an ongoing crisis far more efficiently!
3. Integration with Personalisation Tools
Brands are already using AI-powered personalisation to offer better customer experiences. In the future, you may see brands using AI to send personalised product recommendations to their customers.
For example, Amazon uses Amazon Personalize, a system that uses machine learning to recommend customers to clear their shopping carts. At the same time, this system also suggests products based on their shopping history and preferences. You may see brands integrating more of such tools and systems into their communication channels.
By now, you should understand the true potential of social listening. Using social listening to gain audience perspectives is just one side of the coin. The real difference between you and your competitors will be created when you integrate these insights into your communication system.
Konnect Insights is a customer experience management suite. It not only helps you uncover relevant customer insights but also helps you leverage them to create seamless customer journeys. With social listening, social publishing, BI (Business Intelligence), and ORM (Online Reputation Management, it has everything you need to understand customer sentiments and drive customer engagement.