Monday, March 24th, 2014 | 5 min read
Brands have been doing social media listening way before social listening became a ‘thing.’ They set up queries on listening tools to discover conversations about themselves and their competitors. They extracted these insights to advise corporate strategy.
Since then, the space hasn’t evolved a lot. Solutions have folded, solutions have been acquired, and we’re still watching line graphs go up and down and word clouds change. We continue believing certain myths about social media listening.
That is all they are — myths.
Imagine presenting to the executives at your organization copious amounts of data on company performance and brand perception, then telling them “but… you can’t do anything about this.” Miss CMO would laugh at you; data is meant to be insightful and actionable, not consumed and archived. And social data has to be just that – insightful and actionable – you have to put it into work queues for teams to address, categorize and profile, engage with newfound conversation, and support CRM efforts.
We’re in the conversation economy, not the sit-and-do-nothing economy.
In the age of the second screen — when news stories break on Twitter before CNN can put together a script and PR directors become viral sensations between airport terminals — your social brand story can change just as quickly. Topics change, the words used to describe your brand shift, and social vernacular morphs.
The data can (and should) be your canary in a coal mine. By setting and forgetting, you miss out on opportunities to change the conversations around your brand, as they’re actually happening.
One of our clients, for example, recently ran a campaign through social. Things were going as planned until some participants found a loophole in the contest rules and started ‘gaming the system.’ This brand not only monitored these conversations, they also rounded up their internal teams to turn around an updated set of rules within 24 hours. By listening and taking real-time actions, the company prevented a potentially brand-damaging incident.
Lesson here: use your social data, engage with it, follow it down the rabbit hole — don’t just turn it on and watch the pretty charts and graphs.
If social media listening is used to serve a singular organizational department, you’re wasting your money on a listening solution. Every minute, millions of conversations are taking place; the insights you can glean from the mass of these conversations can support multiple departments across the organization.
From a PR standpoint, listening can help you identify potential brand-damaging moments and determine if actions need to be taken.
From a service perspective, listening can give you insights into how to provide better experiences for your customers.
This sharing of listening insights will act as the needle that threads together the cubes and floors of your firm, creating corporate partnerships that span the entire enterprise.
You can ask for a report after a crisis has passed, “listen” for how much earned media a campaign generated, find a few influencers to send swag to, etc. But if that’s the most you’re doing with social listening, you’re selling yourself short. Social has evolved. The expectations of today’s social consumers have evolved. If you want to provide the best experience for your customers/audience, your social listening has to evolve, as well.
About the Author: Colin Burns is an Account Director at Sprinklr and works side-by-side with strategic and Fortune 500 clients to grow their social media presence to scale. In his past life, he held positions at AT&T, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Match.com and Red Bull. Colin is a Texas-born Horned Frog fan who holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Texas Christian University and is currently pursuing his MBA at University of Texas at Dallas.