The social era not only introduced new ways for consumers to get to know brands. It also brought with it some outstanding opportunities for brands to get to know consumers.
The discipline is called social listening (not to be confused with social media monitoring) and can be described as the tracking of online conversations related to your brand. If your brand is not already doing some social listening, now is a good time to get started. Why? Because really getting to know your audience will pay off in several ways.
Less talking, more listening
The dynamics between brands and consumers were very different pre-internet. Back then, advertising and direct marketing went a long way. Then the internet came along and introduced online platforms for people to gather around their interests and passions. These platforms gave a voice to consumers that has grown louder and stronger ever since, and consumers are now at the centre of the conversation – which is why it’s so important for brands to tune in on relevant conversations in order to dig out learnings, opinions, perspectives, recommendations, and reviews (good or bad).
But that’s not all. Through social listening, brands can also get a better understanding of their audience: what they like and dislike, how they think, what motivates them, their pain points, who they listen to (or follow), and much more.
Joining discussion groups on platforms like LinkedIn, Reddit and Facebook, not to forget the newcomer Clubhouse, is a great way to start tapping into relevant communities to understand what is being said around topics related to your brand. Searching relevant hashtags is an additional way to find out what audiences are saying about certain things.
The benefits of social listening
Getting a better understanding of your audiences and their cultures by listening in on their conversations has several benefits:
- It can help you gather data, which can be used to identify insights. And this is where it gets really interesting, because these insights can be used to drive strategies – strategies that are based on what your audiences actually believe, feel, think and say, including across borders.
- Who knows, maybe these insights can even help to identify emerging market trends that are relevant to your market.
- While social listening is not limited to finding out what your audience says about you and your competitors, it’s certainly helpful in finding out more about how to differentiate from your competition.
Getting insights from online communities does not get any less relevant when crossing borders. Far from it. Perhaps the feelings about a product or service are different in other markets? This is important because different cultures have different definitions of what needs, wants and goals are. And you need to understand these in order to help your brand determine its messaging for that audience. As such, local consumer insights derived from social listening can be a powerful foundation for any transcreation work.