When it comes to marketing platforms, social media is a non-negotiable tool. Social ad spending in the United States is set to increase by over 20% this year. However, social media isn’t just for advertising to your customers. It’s also for communicating with them.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are hubs for identifying, and acting on, customer wants and needs. Here are some ways that your business can use social media listening to enhance not only your customer experience (CX), but also your entire experience management process.
1. Engage in Real Time
Your customers are active on social media day and night. And while traditional customer service platforms require some wait time, social platforms close this gap. Your social team can interact with your customers in real time. If a customer has a question or problem, your business can answer within seconds.
Real-time interactions help customers feel more immersed in your brand experience. Your business provides more attentive customer service, and the customers become more than just a name on the screen. To boost response time, be sure to use a social media management tool that provides real-time alerts. You might also set up an auto-response to direct customers to additional support tools.
2. Identify Common Problems
Your business likely collects customer feedback through surveys and comment boxes. But are you getting the real story? Social media is where customers go to be honest — for better or worse. If customers are experiencing issues with your products or services, chances are you’ll receive comments and messages.
As you handle this type of feedback, be on the lookout for patterns. Social media is a great tool for spotting common problems that your customers are having. If similar issues keep popping up across multiple users, the fix might be bigger than a one-time refund or coupon. Instruct your social team to alert management to patterns so you can make adjustments as needed.
3. Field Customer Questions
Social listening helps your business attend to customer questions, and you can do this in a few ways. The first is to monitor comments and direct messages for inquiries and respond quickly. Answering one-off questions improves individual customer experiences, but you can also broaden your reach. Post answers to frequently asked questions to keep all your customers in the know.
The Live features on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can also be useful tools for answering customer inquiries. Consider hosting “ask me anything” sessions on social media to engage customers and broaden social listening opportunities. Hearing directly from a company representative not only humanizes your business, but it elevates your CX to make customers part of the story.
4. Highlight Positive Experiences
Customer experience is about more than addressing common problems. Your business should also respond to positive customer feedback. Start by monitoring the photos and posts that your company is tagged in. You can then respond to happy customers and thank them for their business. This attention not only boosts visibility, but also makes your customers feel important.
Some businesses go the extra mile by offering perks to particularly delighted customers. If a customer posts a photo of an appetizer from your restaurant, you might respond, “Next one’s on us!” You’re sure to have a loyal customer after that.
5. Monitor Your Reputation
Customer reviews certainly tip you off to your business’s reputation, but social listening provides even more hints. Monitoring customer feedback gives you a feel for how the public perceives your business.
Are there common words customers are using to describe their experience? Do the positive messages outweigh the bad? Using social listening for reputation management helps identify areas for improvement.
Keep your fingers on the pulse by setting up brand mention alerts. Recommendations, glowing reviews, and posts from repeat customers are signs of a positive reputation. A steady flow of complaints and poor reviews are not. Regardless of which way your reputation is leaning, be quick to acknowledge the feedback and prioritize customer happiness.
6. Engage Potential Customers
Many people go to social media for recommendations, and these recs are a prime opportunity for social listening and customer engagement. When you notice that someone has mentioned your brand as a recommendation, be sure to respond quickly.
Direct the prospective client to your website and ask whether they have questions. Engaging in the comment thread shows that you’re attentive to customers and proactive with leads. That will improve your CX from the start.
7. Improve Your Offerings
To better your customer experience, you’ll need to make certain your business is offering the products and services customers want. Social listening is the perfect tool for doing so. As you monitor mentions, comments, and direct messages, note which products customers are posting about the most. If you own a coffee shop, your data might show that one particular latte is showing up in photos more than others.
Logging this data will help you determine which products are popular and which are falling out of favor. Compare this data to sales numbers to see whether it’s worth adjusting your product or service lines. You can also use product mentions to quickly spot defects or other issues, addressing them right away.
8. Identify Competitor Strengths
Social listening allows you to tap into your customer base, but it also clues you in to your competition. Keeping tabs on your competitor’s social media activity, as well as that of their customers, will help you improve your own. You can analyze your competitor’s social media engagement and compare it to yours. Your rivals might be generating traffic with a type of content that you haven’t even considered.
Identifying which content engages your competitor’s customer base will better inform your own. The same goes for their strategy. Notice how your competition engages with their customers and compare their response times to yours. You might see room for improvement on your end.
Managing your brand’s social media profiles requires time and attention. However, the extra effort is well worth the customer experience boost. Social listening is an essential tool for better understanding customers’ needs so you can eventually exceed their expectations.