There’s too much data, too little time.
It’s an excuse we hear far too often, but it will no longer pass in today’s marketing world.
Salesforce’s 2015 State of Marketing report shows that 89 percent of marketers find social media listening effective, but only 37 percent are actively practicing it. Plus, recent technologies have made it easier than ever to sort through data, pinpoint information that matters and develop targeted strategies to help your organization thrive.
So, why haven’t more marketers opted in?
Don’t think of social listening as an obstacle. Instead, use it as an opportunity to push past competitors, connect with your audience, improve your brand’s reputation and generate leads.
To get started, here are five audiences brand managers shouldn’t ignore:
1. Prospective consumers and clients. Social media makes it easy to identify potential clients. That’s no secret. Simply track mentions of your company’s name and see what people are saying, but don’t stop there.
Keep an eye out for people who use social media to find solutions to their problems—especially the ones that you can solve. Track keywords and topics related to specific issues that are catered to by your products or services.
2. Customers. When customers have a poor experience with your organization, very few of them take the time to write or send a complaint your way. They often take to social media to share their complaints with their followers, and though you may be tempted to ignore those and focus solely on the positive, those complaints offer a big opportunity for your brand.
Take note of what your customers are complaining about. It may be an area where you can improve.
3. Competitors. If you want to make a name for yourself, you must understand your industry—starting with your competitors.
Find out everything you can about what they’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement. Don’t just copy what the competition is doing though; instead, find ways to innovate and set yourself apart, creating a niche all to yourself.
4. “Influencers.” Especially if you’re a brand manager for a new organization, or one entering a new market, gaining your audience’s trust can be a challenge. That’s where influential bloggers and social media heavyweights can help.
They give you the chance to connect to your audience in a direct way, and can extend your reach more than you could ever do on your own. Find out whom your audience already trusts and align your brand with theirs. Also find influential social media users who are already fans of your organization, and reward them for their loyalty. They will be even more vocal about your brand.
5. Employees. With social media, every employee is a potential spokesperson. This presents a valuable opportunity for brand managers who choose to capitalize on it.
Employees give your organization a face and allow customers to connect with your brand on a human level. When those employees do something good, their connection to your brand will help to build and strengthen your brand’s reputation, too.
Marketing pros who seize the opportunity to better understand their prospects, customers, competitors, “influencers” and employees will flourish. Those who ignore it will eventually fold. For more strategic advice from top social media marketing pros, check out Cision’s new Listen e-book.
Brandon Andersen is the director of marketing at Cision.