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Social media innovations may help brands learn more about consumers


Companies that listen to Facebook conversations may get a new tool for understanding consumers.

Companies that listen to Facebook conversations may get a new tool for understanding consumers.

Customer care is only as effective as its medium. When consumers begin favoring a particular platform, businesses have to respond and explore new channels. It’s not enough to be familiar with popular communication tools like social messaging and public online pages, brands have to be as well versed as their users.

Businesses that use social media solutions can turn popular sites into proactive service tools. Listening in on consumers conversations taking place on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can provide invaluable insight into target groups. What’s more, if customer care centers keep up with innovations, they may find new strategies for gathering in-depth data on the customers they find most profitable.

“Some organizations aren’t aware of the value social listening.”

Where to listen
Almost all companies recognize the advantage of learning from their customers or potential clients, but not every organization agrees on the best way to study audiences. The Altimeter Group, a data analytics partner, performed a survey that found most companies viewed tracking website performance and customer relationship management records were the best way to understand customers, prospects and markets, according to eMarketer. While social media wasn’t the top answer, it was preferred by about 50 percent of respondents and has grown in popularity in recent years.

Some organizations, however, aren’t aware of the value social listening can offer a brand. One problem is not every business has tools in place to monitor different channels. Other businesses don’t know what sites to watch or what to listen for.

These obstacles may be alleviated by working with a customer relationship management consulting partner who can communicate value of new strategies and provide case studies of where social listening benefited similar organizations.

When platforms change
Working with an expert can also help companies stay ahead of consumers when platforms change. A major advantage social listening holds over other strategies – like consumer surveys or traditional CRM data – is that it offers a diversity of content for observation. Ad Week described how a food manufacturer collected photos customers posted on social sites to learn about the many different ways families used the products. This information helped the company design future advertising content and target new consumers.

Not only is social media consumer content diverse, it’s constantly changing. Until recently, tracking a brand’s Facebook posts allowed a company to see if consumers liked, shared or commented on the material, but Forbes reported this is about to change. Facebook users now have more options when responding to posts. Instead of just liking content, they can push a button to indicate if news surprises them, infuriates them or makes them sad.

Fortune detailed how many organizations and industry experts are already speculating how these emoticon tools could be used to track user behavior and preferences. At the very least, if a company has social solutions in place to recognize brand mentions on Facebook, they can drill down on each notice to see if the message made audience members happy, sad or angry. Before it was like it or nothing, now consumers can voice disapproval.

Many social media sites recognize their potential for business and consumer engagements. As the platforms become more popular, don’t be surprised if they add more features for collecting audience data – especially ones that make it fun to submit information.


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