Have you ever looked on social media before purchasing a product or service?
If so, you’re like 75% of internet users who use social media to research products and services before buying.
This figure is why many brands are starting to include social media listening in their market research efforts.
It helps tell a full story of consumer awareness and perception of a brand, product, or service, outside of the data collected in an online survey.
In this blog, we’ll discuss more about what social media listening is and how to incorporate it into product development research.
What is Social Listening in Marketing?
Social listening is the process of tracking conversations, mentions, keywords, and brand sentiment across social media accounts.
With social media product reviews and recommendations carrying significant weight in the consumer decision-making process, they too should play a vital role in market research for new product development.
Benefits of Social Media Listening
Social listening becomes an important role in making sure organizations are aware of comments, mentions, and engagements online.
Other advantages of social media listening include:
- Modeling engaging content based on online trends and consumer attitudes found on social media
- Analyzing and quantifying the success of marketing campaigns in real-time
- Finding shifts in customer satisfaction through sentiment analysis, or identifying the tone that people are talking about your brand with
- Building consumer advocacy
Social Listening vs. Social Monitoring
Social listening and social monitoring are two terms often used interchangeably.
That said, there are differences in definition, application, and impact.
- Social media monitoring aims to find brand or competitor mentions, relevant hashtags, and industry keywords.
- Social media listening focuses on individual, small-scale interactions happening online and tracks them through analytics.
A good example of social listening is proactively finding customer posts about a negative customer service experience and responding to fix the issue.
This practice takes monitoring to the next level by adding actionable steps that align with business objectives.
For instance, when comments, mentions or keywords are found, listening to social media lets you dig deeper into the consumer behavior behind it.
Additionally, listening to social media is dependent on analytics to make data-backed decisions that will directly benefit the consumer.
Social Media Listening Tools
This process of social media listening and monitoring is more than scrolling through feeds or searching keywords.
There is a multitude of listening tools available that can power your market research strategy.
Below we share popular programs that all feature useful tools for listening to social media comments, posts, and other online interactions.
Understanding your brand’s specific needs will help you make the best decision.
A social media listening platform like Brandwatch is designed to understand and engage with customers in real time.
- Uses Artificial Intelligence to categorize data, flag insights and notify businesses
- Can report current keyword trends and provides analytics
- Competitor insights
Pricing: Brandwatch offers different pricing based on your business needs. For social listening features, the Consumer Intelligence suite has research and analysis capabilities. Users can also decide from a Social Media Management tier and Full Suite that combines all things social.
A user-friendly listening tool for social media, Juphy allows users to easily monitor and manage their accounts.
- Manage social media messages, comments, mentions, and keywords in one inbox. This includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and more
- Track consumer reviews on Google My Business, Google Play Store and the App Store
- Access to performance reports to track customer satisfaction and feedback
Pricing: The Juphy Starter Plan costs $20 per person per month. The platform has all core features, access to six months of history, and up to five social channels. The next plan, The Growth tier, costs $36 per month with unlimited history and up to 10 social channels.
Brand24 provides complete access to mentions from 25 million online sources. It supports users with sentiment analysis, measuring, and reporting on insights.
- Access to monitor all major social channels, as well as blogs, reviews, forums, and news articles
- Organizes customer insights to be shared across your organization, like tracking hashtag volume and reach
- Artificial intelligence detection sources to conduct advanced sentiment analysis in over 108 languages
Pricing: Brand24 has different subscription tiers based on your business size and objectives. The Team plan, priced at $129 per month, gives a small team access to 7 keywords, 5,000 mentions, and hourly updates. The most popular tier, the Pro plan, costs $178 per month and gives 12 keywords, 25,000 mentions, and real-time updates.
Talkwater is a leading social listening and consumer intelligence platform that prioritizes data-driven decision-making.
- Real-time alerts of mentions/conversations around your brands
- Data visualization options to quickly make sense of data and outline actionable insights
- Access to five years of historical data across social media platforms and online forums and websites
Pricing: Each Talkwater plan gives businesses full access to customer support, online training, and professional onboarding. The most popular plan is Premium with features like clustered conversations, predictive analytics, and product, location, and app review data.
When to Use Social Listening for Market Research
Listening to social media goes beyond informing traditional social media marketing strategies.
There are many ways that social listening can maximize your market research methods, and increase insights and analytics for data-driven marketing.
Here are a few examples of where our market research company recommends adding social listening to your methodologies.
Online Reputation Management
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is the process of requesting customer feedback on your product, service, or brand.
This typically involves sending a customer satisfaction survey and then redirecting customers to popular review platforms like Google My Business or Yelp.
ORM is an opportunity to intercept negative feedback before it makes its way to social media.
If consumers responded negatively to customer satisfaction surveys, the organization may resolve the issue before it impacts consumers’ taking their thoughts to TikTok or Twitter.
Similarly, a quality social media listening platform keeps organizations aware of consumer sentiment and can flag any issues before they become crises.
For more information on ORM, watch our short explainer video below.
Being aware of what rivals are doing is essential for businesses that want to thrive in any industry.
Therefore, many brands conduct different types of competitive assessments to monitor rival websites, service offerings, pricing, and marketing strategies.
A key part of conducting market research on competitors should be social listening.
Take to social media to learn what consumers are saying about your competitor’s product or service.
- What do they love?
- What do they hate?
- How do competitors respond and engage with people on social media?
With this insight, you can learn what strengths and weaknesses your competitors have and how you can do better.
We’ve just scratched the surface of competitive assessments. For more information, read our Ultimate Guide to Conducting a Competitor Analysis.
Customer Satisfaction Research
One of the most common market research methods, customer satisfaction surveys are often used to gauge important KPIs.
These surveys are frequently used to understand how your business is performing through scaling customer opinions.
Common customer survey metrics include:
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
- Net promoter score (NPS) - how likely customers are to recommend your company
- Customer effectiveness score (CES)
While valuable, not every customer will complete the survey.
Therefore, adding social listening to a customer survey project will provide a 360-degree view of how satisfied (or not) your buyers are.
In fact, many customers share negative experiences on social media. For instance, research shows 92% of customers will call businesses out on social media for their poor customer service.
If organizations use social listening in addition to customer surveys, they can respond appropriately and support the consumer experience. All of which help to improve customer retention.
Gathering data from social media channels in addition to surveys and focus groups has the ability to improve your business in a big way.
Based in New York, Drive Research is a full-service market research company that can help.
Our team will partner with yours to discover relevant insights across all customer online and offline interactions.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about our market research services.
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