Is Social Listening a Catch-22?
A new infographic by J.D. power and associates has caused quite a commotion in the social media space about how social listening should be handled by brands. The statistics show a catch-22 for brands who have a social listening campaign in place, with consumers split about how and when they prefer brands to engage them online. Many companies are complaining that consumers now expect companies to be “telepathic” in order to know when to engage with them.
The statistics themselves aren’t that surprising to be honest – but I believe the statistics speak less about consumer preferences, and more to how brands have used social listening in an attempt to engage consumers in the past.
The numbers may be a lot different if social listening tools have been used responsibly, to engage with consumers in an authentic way. This isn’t to say there aren’t brands who do this well, many brands do. However I think that the rise in popularity of social listening tools has given a lot of companies what I like to call “shiny object syndrome” where they jump in without really thinking ahead of time.
So what do these stats say?
• Forty-three percent of consumers think brands who listen to conversations on social media are invading their privacy.
• Half of all consumers (51 percent) want to talk about companies on social media without them listening in.
But other consumers are OK with brands listening in certain situations:
• Forty-two percent of consumers expect companies to respond to positive comments.
• Fifty-eight percent want companies to respond to complaints.
• Sixty-four percent only want companies to respond when spoken to
So what’s a social media or brand manager to do? The answer is probably the most simple solution. Contribute to conversations in a meaningful and valuable way. Really, that’s all there is to it!
Remember that although conversations are happening online, they are conversations. Think of it as though you were overhearing a conversation at a grocery store – you wouldn’t just jump into the conversation unless you had something valuable to add, right?
Here is an example. Let’s say that I was at my desk, craving a delicious red velvet cupcake (which I am!). Then pretend that I decided to tweet about my desire for said cupcake to my followers. Now let’s say you were a social media manager for (I am just making this company up) 1-800-cupcakes. Would this be a great time for you to send me a tweet about your amazing selection of cupcakes that I can have delivered? Nope, not really. That doesn’t offer a lot of value to me.
What would offer value is if you created a personalized coupon code to send me, so I can fulfill my craving at a discount. Better yet, you could check my influence online – do I seem to have a lot of followers who listen to what I say? Get in touch and send me a free cupcake! Chances are good that I will take a picture and tweet about it, possibly even post it to Instagram and Facebook and mention your company while I am at it. Tons of free publicity! And you helped a consumer out!
So when in doubt, follow the following three guidelines:
• Don’t just monitor keywords, listen to the conversation.
• Engage (when relevant) with the intention of delivering value to the consumer.
• While social media listening can be automated, responses should be human crafted.
Here is the full infographic if you would like to take a peek.