August 8, 2016
The Art of Social Listening

By: Jill Draper, President at Marketsmith Inc.

“The art of conversation lies in listening.” – Malcolm Forbes

Recently, I was asked to speak at the Newark Regional Business Partnership on the topic of “Social Media: A Customer Acquisition Strategy.”  This is a subject near and dear to every marketer’s heart, especially in today’s rapidly-shifting social media landscape.  Like never before, we’re called upon by our customers to cut through the chatter of this incredibly crowded digital landscape, find their elusive target customers, and drive them to action.  To accomplish this, we need to start by listening.

At Marketsmith, we believe in building campaigns that start with a conversation – one that involves an equal amount of talking and listening.  Think of a recent conversation you’ve had with your kids, co-workers or favorite Starbucks employee.  Then, break it down with the good old 5w’s from grade school: Who, What, When, Where, Why.  When we talk about social campaigns, we start with the ideal conversation brands envision with their customers.  Just like any of the recent conversations we think of in our own lives, the context of the conversations brands have with their customers are just as important as the content.  We think of it this way:

  • Who: We have the data and analytics to learn an unparalleled amount about target segments. In particular, Facebook offers enormous targeting capabilities, simply because it’s the biggest social network by far (the average US adult spends 30 hours per month on Facebook!).  Not only can we identify our target, we can increase this pool by “lookalike” targeting that allows us to find customers who look and behave like our target, in order to broaden our reach as much as possible
  • What: Think of that recent conversation you had with your co-worker or kid. What was the sentiment?  Over the course of the conversation, how did a problem get solved?  Or was it simply a conversation of mutual feedback?  As part of our campaigns, we monitor positive and negative mentions of the brand, its keywords and competitors.  By doing this, we can customize the content of our conversations moving forward to optimize consumer satisfaction
  • When: Have you used your phone yet to buy something? When I’m at my monthly book club meeting, I can now purchase next month’s book selection via Amazon’s mobile app.  This is another burgeoning aspect of the social landscape: $27B in mobile transactions are anticipated in 2016 alone.  This means brand campaigns need to understand when their targets are most likely to respond and interact, and to converse with them at the perfect moment
  • Where: In the changing social landscape, mobile is playing an increasingly huge role. Today, one of every five minutes spent on a mobile phone is spent on Facebook.  It’s critical that brands interact and converse in ways that appeal across all screens (desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile).  And just like the “When,” we want to have conversations at the moment most suited to product discovery, research and purchase
  • Why: Social allows brands to offer images and videos of their products like never before. In addition, social platforms provide opportunities for us, our friends and colleagues to review and share new products and experiences.  From research, we know that 72% of all online users trust online reviews.  By using social, we can communicate at the right time and place with incentivizing content, imagery, video and trusted testimonial.  By leveraging these pieces, we can optimize the path to eventual purchase

By knowing the Who, What, When, Where and Why, we can craft conversations that are relevant, stimulating and take place in real-time.  As a next step, we at Marketsmith believe in amplifying using social media more like a paid vehicle than simply an add-on area, where posts and feedback are managed within a community.  It’s imperative that we guide our clients to amplify their paid media efforts across their social platforms, and rely on analytics to understand the impact of the investment.  We need to deliver ads at the right time and place to the target.  With the data and analytics available to us, as well as the 5 W’s of understanding brand conversations, we have the building blocks needed to achieve success on social media for our clients.

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