All You Need Is (Brand) Love: A Guide to Winning Customers with Social Media Listening
“There's nothing you can know that isn't known; nothing you can see that isn't shown – all you need is love”, as famously sung by The Beatles, is a testament to how customers want to be treated.
Brands sometimes overlook the most basic aspects of customer engagement or put little thought into the importance of being transparent. However neglecting these key areas may cast a lasting, negative footprint on their online reputation, or worse, have customers boycott them entirely.
Brand love is increasingly important in a time where customers are free to pick brands according to their whim and fancy – especially with the variety of options online. For customers to stand loyal, brands must do more in the transition from satisfaction to loyalty.
The stages are simple to follow to win consumer affection. Companies that have stood by their customers are guaranteed to stand apart from their competitors and thrive in the game of brand love.
While you may already be familiar with the 4C’s of a customer’s journey, equipping social listening enables you to unlock deeper troves of insight by using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze online conversations and break down actionable insights in real time.
The journey of a prospective customer is mapped as they undergo several points of experiences with a brand, from the awareness, consideration, to the decision-making stages.
Bonus: Discover how AXA uses social listening to develop insurance marketing strategies that center on building customer loyalty.
🔐 Unlocking Perspectives In The Customer Journey
The customer journey is commonly used to map the customer’s purchase decision in several stages. The buying intent that goes behind a customer’s mind is what brands consider so crucial before developing their strategies.
It is also a key reason why some brands take years to develop a product or service, as customer behaviors are absolutely certain to fluctuate. To guarantee that an offering will be sought after for years to come is an undertaking that involves identifying the target customer’s needs and expectations.
You wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to reach a customer only because your brand hasn’t yet realized there is a particular need, only to lose out to a competitor who offered something you don’t.
Social listening tools like Digimind Social enable brands to accelerate data gathering by tapping into a rich vein of customer feedback in real time, from a multitude of online sources, including social media and review sites. What you’re getting is an overview of your market or brand sentiment – providing better clarity to how customers perceive your brand, staying on top of customer demand, but most importantly, evolving as a customer-centric business.
The journey of a potential customer can be informed by the information captured by social listening software, easily categorizing different topics based on consumer sentiment
1. Connection: Your Move First 💘
This stage is the first point of contact with your customer. It all starts with making the right impression. Like meeting your date for the first time, you need to expect that your customers know nothing about you. Yet, the idea is to start the relationship on the right note.
Social media marketing is, in and of itself, one of the channels where most customers begin to discover your brand for the first time. Whether it is through direct marketing or word-of-mouth, one thing or another led to them finding your brand.
For brands that are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to connect with their customers, it’s pivotal to create content according to your customer’s level of interest – not every customer who wants to know about an offering will end up buying it. It’s in this stage that social listening tools, like Digimind Social can drive customer resonance by providing insights to align buyer’s intent with the right messaging.
For example, your brand could be exploring the idea of venturing into sustainability but is highly uncertain of how your current customers will respond to it. With social listening, you’re able to aggregate key data based on current sentiment, online conversations, and share of voice to gauge the level of public perception before diving headfirst into planning.
Remember, having a clear sight of what customers want is a world of difference from pushing promotional content your customers never asked for. The goal is to nurture your relationship by educating them on what your brand stands for and how you can help them.
2. Consideration: Making Every Effort Count 💪🏼
Once a prospect has found out all they possibly need to know about your brand, it is highly likely that they have an intent to buy your product or service. Like all relationships that have blossomed past the initial stages of dating, the time for commitment is where it all matters at the end of the day.
But the question posed here is, why have they not?
The consideration stage is key in many aspects of the customer journey, as the reason for most customers putting their purchases on hold is because they are deliberating between you and your competitor, or even not purchasing at all.
Social listening can work wonders in identifying pain points that your customers face by analyzing online conversations around your chosen topic and helping you to uncover a goldmine of insight on current trends. If you spot an underlying issue that a segment of your target customer is facing with a competitor, are you able to highlight it fast enough to the necessary marketing or product personnel to take action?
Image sourced from: www.wise-geek.com
Like I mentioned in the connection stage, prospects are likely to remember your brand when pursued long enough. This means continuing to provide essential benefits that will help make their purchasing decision easier if it means engaging them via gated content, tutorial videos, discounts, and even sweepstakes.
To your customers, they are looking for strong buying signals to trust in what your business is offering. Many businesses offer too much fluff at the window but leave little to desire once customers realize they are overpromised. Customers, like a love interest you’re courting, need assurance.
3. Conversion: The Heart Wants What The Heart Sees 💖
Now that you have successfully gained your customer’s trust, it’s time to reap the fruits of your labor. Although the long pursuit of your customer is finally over, the effort to retain them has only just begun.
On top of delivering on promises made, customers expect attention and personalized treatment from your brand. This means providing top-notch customer service right from day one of purchase. This is where brands sometimes fail to see the long-term investment, as one might prefer putting more budget into new sales objectives rather than retain existing customers.
Bonus: Read how Lexus and NH Hotel mastered their customer experience strategies.
But hell has no fury like a woman (or man) scorned. The damage to your brand reputation will eventually outweigh the costs if you were to fail to continue to deliver consistent customer satisfaction. As far as your brand is concerned, social media can incite a mob when expectations are not met. An unhappy customer might translate into your business losing out on thousands of future customers.
You may be able to single out negative reviews and complaints coming through dedicated channels like your website and social platform. However, there could be much more rising from earned media like forums and blogs.
Here, social listening has the capacity to detect hot spots early in real time, giving your public relations and marketing team a heads up for potential crises, initiate transparency on legitimate issues, and quell misleading social chatter.
A “Sentiment Intensity” score can be helpful for detecting your brand’s perception on social media, and key drivers behind positive and negative emotions that your customer experience and social teams should act on.
4. Continuation: A Brand-Customer Union to Last 💒
Once a customer reaches this final stage in their buying journey, you should still take the steps to ensure that they stay with you.
Customers are a finicky lot, but once you’ve nailed down the ideal post-purchase experience which goes the extra mile in giving them the support and communication they require from your brand, you can keep your customer content for a long time.
What’s more, with more satisfaction comes more profit. Repeat customers have a 60% to 70% chance—or nine times more likely—to convert than first-time customers. That being said, prioritizing the importance of customer experience would help to close the feedback loop and reduce friction in your overall customer journey.
Where else can your brand benefit from social listening at this stage?
By reciprocating the love from potential brand advocates! These are customers who consistently and readily recommend your products and services to their personal networks on social media, whether it’s by leaving a positive review, showing off their purchases, or engaging with your owned content. These people likely share a similar viewpoint to your brand’s values and ideology.
Social listening chart displaying brand advocates and the network of audiences they are influencing or interacting with through their social posts about a brand.
Social listening platforms like Digimind Social can enable you to detect such customers, by identifying individuals that either mention your brand more frequently, and whose mentions have a positive sentiment.
Example of a potential brand advocate who shares details of the camera equipment used to take his pictures.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to this segment of customers as they would be more than willing to establish a partnership with your brand, even more so when they love your brand and what it stands for. Keep them in the loop during product launches and key events, and make an effort to reward them for their time and effort for getting your brand more reach!
Ideally, you’d want all your customers to be advocates, as your brand would achieve the pinnacle of brand love for a lifetime.
👏 Completing The Customer Journey From Start To End
It’s no longer an option to build a strong customer strategy to back your brand reputation and win market share in the Age of the Customer.
Exercise prudence by thinking from the perspective of your customer, so you can understand their needs and motivations behind their buying decisions.
A social listening platform like Digimind Social can not only accelerate the way you gain insights into relevant customer data, but it can also help to propel innovative standards and problem-solving mechanisms. More importantly, having an open ear to consumer conversations will be fundamental to improving customer service, bridging gaps that could hinder how customers experience your brand positively.
Want more tips on how to enhance your brand-customer relationship with social media listening? Check out our guide to optimizing your customer’s journey!
Written by Jared Silitonga
Jared is a member of the APAC marketing team at Digimind. Besides hashing insights into content, he loves a good ol' sit-down of board gaming and film rhetoric. Catch him diving in other shenanigans on Instagram @jarrds