Businesses are using social media as part of their marketing strategy more and more, helping build brand awareness and boost sales. Leveraging your social channels has become even more critical as it seems working from home is here to stay.

Customers crave engagement and interaction. Since most of our shopping is now done online, you must create a customer experience (CX) that’s personalized and connects to users. Take it a step further and amp up engagement by incorporating social media customer support into your strategy with social listening.

What is social listening?

Social listening is the process of monitoring and tracking your social media channels for mentions, keywords, or comments related to your brand and industry. Simply put, it’s all about listening to conversations and knowing when to engage — and this means going beyond just listening to your own brand. Listening to your competitors is also a great way of understanding your market and what you can do to improve.

But why is it so important?

Social listening is crucial because it helps you understand customers better, thereby creating a better CX by building on feedback and comments. It gives you insight into what questions, queries, and complaints customers are making, enabling you to formulate better solutions and features for your products.

To help you incorporate it into your strategy, we’ve compiled a list of the top five ways you can achieve customer service excellence with social listening.

Image: Pexels

1. Choose the topics and channels to monitor

Adding social listening to your e-commerce customer service strategy will go a long way to building brand awareness and loyalty — customers will feel more valued if you take the time to engage with them across all platforms. Before you can begin listening, it’s key to set up a brief plan that outlines the topics and channels you’ll be monitoring.

Research which of your social media channels gain the most traction, sticking to the most popular for the time being. Perhaps your Twitter and Instagram accounts have the most followers? Your best bet is to listen in on platforms with the most conversation happening — that way, you can get the most insight from your customers.

Include the topics you’ll be monitoring, too, everything from brand mentions to industry keywords. Some ideas could include:

  • Industry keywords
  • Competitor keywords and updates
  • Brand mentions
  • Service names

2. Set up social listening systems

The next step is to set up social listening systems that will do all the hard work for you, monitoring any brand mentions or keywords you want to focus on. Instead of manually searching those keywords, social listening tools will automate the process and enable you to find brand mentions that you haven’t been tagged in. Reducing the time it takes you to sift through all that big data means you are free to spend more of it engaging and interacting directly with consumers.

Some good systems to consider include:

  • Google Alerts
  • HootSuite
  • Tweet Reach
  • Brand Mentions

Image: Pexels

3.Respond to customer queries and complaints

A great way of showing customers you value them is to respond promptly to their queries as they arise. Gone are the days of the apology letter— greater numbers of consumers are starting to turn to social media to voice their concerns, so don’t miss out on an opportunity to connect.

The key is to respond speedily; most users expect a response within an hour. Using listening tools will help update you of any issues in real time. An example of great customer service would be to respond within a 10-minute timeframe, addressing the user directly and asking them to DM you to resolve the issue personally.

4. Engage with positive feedback

As well as responding to complaints, always engage and interact with positive feedback. Whether it’s simply leaving a like or posting an acknowledgment comment, engaging with positive reviews shows consumers that you value them and keeps you up to date with their journey.

More than building a sense of loyalty and connection, engaging with consumers will maximize word-of-mouth referrals. The more you acknowledge positive feedback, the more likely customers are to share their future experiences with your products on social media — leading you to win more clients!

5. Monitor competitor channels

Rather than just focusing on customer feedback about your brand, zone in on what people are saying about your competitors. Monitor their brand mentions, user comments, and any updates they post to their channels. Not only will it help you gain an insight into what you could improve on or features you could implement; it can also assist you in your consumer journey mapping.

While understanding what your consumers say about your brand is essential, knowing what your entire target audience is talking about is key to getting into your potential customer’s shoes. This will inform you of how you can improve your marketing strategy, whether you operate B2B or direct to consumer.