2020 has undoubtedly shaken up businesses of different industries and sizes, especially those that heavily relied on foot traffic for revenue and upkeep that dissipated at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Retail stores, food establishments, and recreation centers were among some of the industries that were most gravely impacted, with social distancing and store opening restrictions resulting in up to 90% decline in customer activity for some countries.
While Covid-19 has certainly been the blight of most businesses struggling to diversify their offerings, enterprising leaders need to display strong business acumen in adapting to new consumer demands and behavior in order to withstand this tumultuous period. However, where physical retail was upended, a global study by Salesforce revealed that 58% of consumers now expect to do more online shopping than they did in the pre-pandemic period, with a majority having an elevated expectation of digital services and company values in response to purchasing consideration.
This new shift in consumer spending is likely to stick beyond 2020, with businesses exploring new ways to improve their customer experiences online, from social shopping to live-streaming. Benefits are twofold: getting closer to your customer base while turning prospects into advocates.
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With social data at the helm of your consumer research, you can fine-tune your business strategies with data-driven insights that accurately unveil more of your customers’ needs and wants. In addition, social listening enables you to keep track of online conversations surrounding your brand and create relevancy with key trends in the market.
As a start, here are 4 objectives you should set for monitoring social data to supercharge your consumer insights projects in a post-Covid reality.
- Better understand new expectations and behaviors
- Capture new concerns of customers
- Identify unmet customer needs that have emerged
- Understand where your brand stands in your current market
1. Better Understand New Expectations And Behaviors
Noticed something different in the way your customers are interacting with your brand? Or have their expectations shifted? With the pandemic keeping outdoor activities to a minimum, customers have adapted to new social regulations, prioritized spending on home luxuries and electronics, and are increasingly seeking at-home entertainment.
Just like when TV ads became synonymous with prime time programming, social media is filled with sponsored content and offers with every swipe and click. In a pandemic-stricken 2020 with more consumers shopping and interacting online than ever, brands are incentivized to leverage social intelligence to collect data on new consumer behaviors and act on emerging opportunities by monitoring key trends.
It’s important to use social data to help you develop buyer personas to guide you toward creating customer experiences and marketing strategies that engage and resonate. You can use social data to analyze the following:
- Key topics of interest
- Sentiments and emotions
- Purchase intentions and barriers to purchase
- Product feedback, and
- Complaints and comments specific to each type
From here, start matching data gathered from social listening tools with other sets of data, such as socio-demographic data to each customer type, to help you personalize approaches to best serve and engage them.
2. Capture New Concerns Of Customers
While marketers and insights teams tend to associate “social media listening” with just that – listening to conversations on social media networks, don’t forget that tools like Digimind Social are capable of monitoring mentions on public forums too! And that’s a good place to start listening to consumer discussions.
As most forums comprise audiences from a specific sub-group or community, you can focus your monitoring efforts on gleaning concerns, behaviors, and preferences on groups specific to your industry. For example, a cosmetics company would turn to online beauty forums and even communities around makeup gurus.
When looking out for new customer concerns, behaviors, and expectations that have emerged, be sure to watch for these signals on your social listening platform:
- What areas did customers previously not talk about, and are now scrutinizing closely on social media?
- What new factors have emerged to change or impede your customer’s journey?
Prioritizing these questions will be key to driving customer loyalty and satisfaction in the long run. This brings us to our next point.
3. Identify Unmet Customer Needs That Have Emerged
In a similar vein, identifying unmet customer needs is another objective that is crucial for your social listening project. As Covid-19 has proven, it’s not a matter of if, but when customer habits will change. Moreover, these newfound habits and needs will likely stick around for a long time.
Plugging unmet business gaps will help to optimize your customers’ journey as you remove hindrances and points of friction that otherwise prevent customers from making that purchase.
↪️ For example, are customers concerned about the increasing waste of single-use food packaging with more food delivery demand arising during lockdown? On social media, growing public sentiment about how brands can do more to reduce plastic throwaways brought new attention to incorporate this as a corporate social responsibility strategy. To accommodate consumers who factor this issue highly in their purchasing decision, Singapore’s food delivery giants, Foodpanda, Grabfood, and Deliveroo began pilot initiatives on offering reusable containers as an opt-in in consumer accounts.
In order to be truly effective, consumer insights gleaned from social listening tools must be disseminated to relevant teams, so they can start to optimize your brand’s products and services. This is even more important in the ‘Age of the Customer’, when consumers are faced with a myriad of choices, and can easily take their dollar vote to a competitor.
Social listening can help to signal new changes that are under the surface, develop strategies from key talking points, and facilitate product and service innovations ahead of your competitors. More importantly, it can empower businesses to continually deliver personalized user experiences tailored to their needs by staying in the loop of brand mentions on social media.
4. Understand Where Your Brand Stands In Your Current Market
Lastly, it’s important to look at your brand positioning on social media to gauge the impact of your brand campaigns when matched with the overall market visibility and receptivity. Utilizing a comparison chart like Digimind Social enables you to generate social figures for benchmarking, which helps to put into perspective the success of your marketing efforts.
Take note of where your brand stands amongst major players in the market by highlighting key statistics in terms of share of voice, sentiment, and reach.
As a market leader in your industry, prioritizing a larger share of voice can get you closer to achieving ample brand exposure with minimal brand-awareness campaigns. While newer or smaller brands should ideally look at achieving a majority of positive sentiment about their brand or offerings to cement social reputation.
Leverage insights gleaned from brand positioning on social media to swiftly identify public perception surrounding your brand. For example, a 60% positive sentiment might look pretty average on its own. But if you compare this with your competitors who are only achieving around 45 – 55% positive sentiment, that helps you to see that your company has set the bar in achieving customer satisfaction on social media.
Providing enhanced improvements to customer experience can do more for your business in the long run as you keep your consumers progressing in their purchasing journey. Consumer insights allow you to easily identify consumer opportunities at the intersection of customer expectations and existing business offerings.
If you are looking for a comprehensive insight into successful case studies of social listening, key objectives for capturing consumer insights from social media, and social networks that are essential for monitoring, download our guide 11 Ways to Supercharge Consumer Insights with Social Media Listening.