Decoding Social Listening – Priyanka From IIM Lucknow

As the competition for customer attention becomes fierce, many a brands, companies and start-ups are moving towards social listening as a way to gain those brownie points from the consumers. Social listening is a tool that helps identify the perceptions and opinions of the various stakeholders, about the different products, brands and organisations, on the social platform.

The major task is to unbundle and untangle the massive amount of unstructured data present on the web. The enormity of the information and the exponential rise of this content each day possesses certain challenges to the companies trying to keep in touch and in sync with their image online.

Gatorade is one the many brands which has diligently operated in the space of social listening through its Mission Control Center, Adobe’s Customer Listening Post(CLP) monitors all the customer touch points throughout the day. Brandwatch’s Vizia is a social media command center, that is being used to deliver real-time consumer intelligence and for competitive benchmarking activities.

One way that companies are working on consumer intelligence is through Text Mining which is monitoring specific keywords on the different social media and analysing consumer feedback, feelings and trends through these keywords. This a great way to understand brand emotions, identifying new consumers or figuring out how a social media campaign is performing. Some of the tools which are being used to unleash the world of consumer intelligence are Radian6, Cymfony and SM2, which have limited analytical abilities but can be leveraged to understand the consumers and other stakeholders better.

Social listening is also becoming useful to identify the Influencers and Advocates for the different brands or products. These are the people who help shape the customers’ views about specific brands or category. Influencing and building relationship with these people who facilitate the consumers’ intention to purchase, has been the latest trend in the space of social media promotions.

Another important concept that is gaining traction lately is Share of Voice. It provided real-time insight of a brand’s online presence vis-à-vis the competitor brands. It measures the products/categories public attention, changing attention through the launch of new products, advertising campaigns or change in sales promotions or advertising budget. It is usually measured by the number of mentions and helps businesses evaluate their success and identify the gaps.

Social listening has also been instrumental in analysing the different language associations and product pairings that can lead to improved sales and a better targeted promotional campaign. It also helps brand realise where it is most relevant and which white spaces it can still target to gain a certain market share. Sentiment analysis is yet another area which is gaining a lot of attention from the leading brands across the globe. Keeping a check on the time-to-response, helps the brands stay relevant and service focused in the minds of the consumers.

Competitive Intelligence is a strategic tool that is being used to understand the consumers better, build a stronger connect with them through offsetting any negative emotions and propagating the positive ones. It helps brands identify their strengths, weaknesses, business decisions, keep track of the competitive space and calibrate their future goals with the consumer expectations.