Listening and understanding the voice of the consumer
There are many elements and factors that can influence having a great social media strategy: a proper brief from the client, what they know about their ideal audience (and if it is the real one), their brands’ needs and goals… And that’s only on the client’s side, then comes all the work and proper execution by the agency that has understood the client’s request.
However, above any factor, there is a basic element that defines a solid strategy in today’s landscape: Social Media Listening, a very useful tool when it comes to generating value propositions for the client. Social Listening basically allows us to listen and understand the voice of the consumer, identifying new markets and opportunities.
Social Media Listening: has it always been like this?
The tools have never ceased to be there, but we have not always given them their rightful place in a strategy. We have used them occasionally for moments of crisis management, or to find out at a specific moment the conversation around an issue that would allow us to find out certain insights in some social media platforms. But it has never been as relevant as it is now.
What happened then, and why is it now the centre of everything? The answer relies, basically, on evolution. Communities have evolved, and we have done the same to meet their needs; we have had to adapt the way we understand and work social media and, therefore, strategies. The days of using the different channels as mere platforms through which we communicate a range of content to our different audiences and hope they want to be “like” us are long, long gone.
We must now understand the brands we work with as a true consumer experience and resemble our audience, rather than hoping for them to do the same. Only then can social media realise its full potential in a marketing plan, recasting its classic concept. We cannot expect people to chase us simply because we post about the coolness of our brand; rather, we need to provide value based on what our audience already needs.
Users come to the different channels to connect with brands through experiences that can only take place on their social channels, and for which it is worth connecting to them. We can check on the results this strategy has by considering why the user generated content is gaining presence and weight, sometimes even more than traditional influencers. People need good, aligned and core connections.
Social Media Listening, a source of valuable and close information
If we think that social media are a fundamental pillar to build that unique user experience, Social Media Listening tools allows to know what users need through their conversation on their own social platforms; and all this converges in the strategy that we plan, the content we create based on that strategy, how we execute and evaluate, and the circle goes on and on: listening to the consumer becomes a perfect symbiosis, if you know how to do it correctly.
It is impossible to build a good social media strategy from scratch without a previous phase of analysis and research.
With these social media listening tools we can obtain key information of our consumers: what are the different interests of our audience, what channels they prefer to use, if they are really interested in the brand or if there are other niches that we should be attending to. In other words, one of the basic information is to know if we have previously built a community that matches the brand on social media.
Taking this into account, we need to know what is being talked about a brand in the digital environment, what are the main topics of conversation and what feelings they generate in their audience: are they well received or, on the contrary, do they fail to connect with the consumer? When we obtain this information, we can cross-reference it with that of their competitors and this allows us to have a snapshot to mark our starting point and the opportunities we can take advantage of.
By working with Social Media Listening, we will be able to determine whether at the time we carry out our analysis the audience has found that brand experience we aim to create on social media, that differential value that will keep them connected to the brand’s channels, or whether they have some other need that we have to cover.
The consumer wants to feel listened to
Moreover, this whole thread is reinforced by a clear consumer trend: consumers connect more with brands that listen to them and respond to their needs and demands.
Hence, right now, social media have nothing to do with those of a decade ago in terms of communication strategies, because back then social channels established a colder and more distant communication. They showed their products and waited for consumers to reach them, a kind of idol-fan relationship.
Consumers are now empowered to connect with brands that engage in real conversations across various channels, allowing them to freely ask questions, share their opinions, and be heard. To achieve the desired level of affinity, brands must prioritize mutual recognition
“To achieve that brand experience where interacting comes first, companies need to utilise the Social Media Listening tools as an essential component when creating a strategy that is reviewed periodically and adapted according to the demands of the audience.”Marcos Fernández, Head of Social Media at Samy Alliance
We are seeing that we are in a very volatile context where everything can change overnight. Therefore, if we are close enough to our audience to listen to them, we will know how to adapt correctly and work on a strategy that responds to their needs and desires.
When looking for contents that connect the best and go viral the most, they are those that cover what is happening at the moment, sometimes even told by any user who takes the floor and addresses the brand. Such was the case of Emily Zugay, the TikToker that mockinly made “redesigns” of famous logos and went so viral that brands started to chase after her and have their logos redesigns, some of then even changing the TikTok icon to show their commitment. That’s actual, real time reaction that values, even if you think of it as pure entertainment.
Therefore, we must make a great effort to get to know our customers, their habits, wishes and desires, and know how to react to conversations with proposals based on content and actions of value to them. And sometimes it happens at the spur of the moment, but if you have the tools, you can anticipate needs and situations to be right on the leaderboard.