Can Listening to Social Media:
Help Us Predict The Future?

“By listening on social networks, brands can identify people with influence who are already talking about their brand or industry.
Engaging with this group to promote your product or service is often a much more natural fit.”

What happens when you stop asking questions and start listening instead?

A few weeks back we hosted a lunch talk on social media listening by Stephen O’Leary, Managing Director at Olytico, in our latest coworking space, The Brickhouse.

Many brands, companies and organisations view social media as a broadcast network, as opposed to a social network. They use it for telling their story – speaking to their customers, getting their message across. This has a purpose and a place, but it misses out on the true value of social media – the ability to listen to your customers. In the lunchtime talk at Iconic Offices’ newest space, The Brickhouse, Stephen spoke about what can happen when you stop talking and start listening, and how Olytico is helping brands across Ireland to better understand their audience.

Here are six key takeaways from the talk:

  1. Start listening. Asking people what they want is complicated – so many different factors can impact on the response they give you. Henry Ford was one of those who realised the problems with customer feedback. The advent of social media provides us with significant quantities of customer feedback – much of which is given without ever being asked a question. Focus less on talking, more on listening.Practical step: Use a free tool, such as Tweetdeck, to set up searches on Twitter for relevant keywords and conversations.
  1. Look beyond your own brand. Many companies who do listen are focused on what is being said about them – which is important and a good first step. However, when our need is greatest, we rarely think to ask for a specific product or brand – instead we express the problem we are experiencing.Practical step: Identify the problem your product or service solves, and find out how people express this problem online. Want some inspiration? Check out this article in Fast Company.
  1. Listen to your competition: There are two key elements to listen out for in terms of your competitors. Firstly, what are they saying themselves – what products, services, offers and events are they promoting. Secondly, what are the public saying about them – what do people like, dislike about their offering. By listening to these conversations, you can start to identify areas of opportunity for your own brand, and possibly areas you can improve on.Practical step: Set up a Facebook Pages To Watch list in your Facebook Analytics settings – follow these quick steps

4. Learn who has influence: We read a lot about influencers and advocates – with opinions divided on their benefits for promoting your brand. One of the issues raised is that influencers often promote brands they have never spoken about before, and this form of promotion can lack authenticity. By listening on social networks, brands can identify people with influence who are already talking about their brand or industry. Engaging with this group to promote your product or service is often a much more natural fit.

Practical step: Check out our blog on the benefits of identifying that sweet spot online.

5. Reply and respond: Once you have identified the problem your product or service solves, and how customers describe that problem online, it’s time to start considering replying and responding. Identifying and reaching out to the right people (potential customers) at the right time (when they need your product or service) can be an incredibly powerful application of social media monitoring. However, be mindful of you approach these conversations – tone, timing and thought are paramount.

Practical step: Learn from the best – check out this great example of getting it right from Irish cheese brand Sheridan’s last year

6. Finding patterns and trends:
Once you’ve listened for a while, you’ll start to gather data – much of which can reveal insights, patterns and trends. What time of day does the problem occur? Which day of the week? What locations? By analysing this data, you can identify new product ideas, improvements to the services you provide and potential gaps in the market.

Practical step: Talk to Olytico – this is what we specialise in.

lunch with Olytico_iconic offices_iconic events_iconic community_coworking dublin_offices to rent dublin_olytico_social media listening
Stephen O’Leary, Managing Director at Olytico

Olytico, Ireland’s leading social media monitoring and analysis company.
With
Irish and international client list, research and analysis carried out by Olytico has been used by major national and international broadcasters including RTE, TV3, BBC and The Washington Post.

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