The Importance of Social Listening

In 2015, Netflix made one of its trademark digital splashes – but not for what most would think. The streaming titan introduced “Netflix socks,” a pair of smart socks designed to detect when a user falls asleep, then pausing what the user was watching so nobody misses their favorite scene or favorite episode. When this ingenious foot fashion hit the market, from a streaming service no less, Netflix’s new venture into the smart clothing space caused some buzz. Sleeping through Jim and Pam’s first kiss on The Office quickly became a thing of the past.

But why did Netflix decide to make a pair of socks in the first place? Better yet – why do companies roll out new products time and time again? Simple – by acting on consumer feedback, but more importantly garnering that feedback from listening – and not just listening from focus groups or surveys. Netflix broke into the hoof modeling scene overnight because they noticed users complaining on social media about falling asleep in the midst of a TV show, only to wake up episodes later having missed everything.

With social media acting as the two-way dialogue channel, and by having an active ear on social media, Netflix executed an authentic solution to a trending customer “problem,” further showcasing that listening on social platforms and valuing input from audiences ensure brands have a deeper commitment to those who matter most – their brand loyalists.

What is Social Listening?

For a brand, social listening is when you actively monitor and analyze conversations and trends surrounding your brand, brand keywords and your brand’s industry, then utilizing those insights to help inform your brand’s marketing decisions and overall strategy.

Social Listening Insights Inform Your Marketing Strategy

Social listening should be one part of an integrated and omnichannel marketing approach. Your strategy should be led by social media strategists that have their ears to the ground, and are charged with bringing that strategy to life via insightful, dynamic creative inspired by your brand. But ultimately, your strategy needs to be informed and verified by your audience, which is why social listening should be a piece of your approach. It’s the digital checks and balances that make social media the unique ecosystem we see today.

The Impact of Social Listening on Your Brand

Not only does social listening allow you to stay on top of, and take part in, conversations taking place around your brand, it also gives you insights into the conversations and trends happening in your industry space. More specifically, social listening allows brands to:

Manage the Amplification of Unique Stories to Unique Audiences

With controlled storytelling, you can witness in real-time how your audience is interacting with your narratives – and pivot if need be based on the tone and context of engagements and comments.

Create Meaningful Connections with Multiple Target Consumers

By identifying keywords and behaviors your audience is portraying around a certain topic, image, video or discussion you can create rich connections with multiple segments.

Manage Brand Equity and Reputation, if Needed, in a Crisis Setting

As the most pivotal part in listening for a brands health, when a crisis may present itself, by listening (and engaging if need be) on all appropriate channels brands can effectively control a situation and defuse negative mentions while rapidly monitoring for potential opportunities to present the brand in a more positive fashion.

Improve Customer Service

Responding to direct mentions when a product, brand or service didn’t meet consumer expectations is the core anchor of social listening – and how it became such a niche topic. By managing your channels and having a beat on inbound inquiries, allows brands to up their response game – while increasing consumer satisfaction.

Stay Top of Mind to Their Audience

Remember Netflix’s’ smart socks? From 2015? Yes you do. Enough said.

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