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Knowing What Customers Say Privately, Means Sales and Profits for You

More than six-in-10 business-to-business buyers listen to colleagues on social media before making a business purchase. Right now, some may be talking about you.

KSocialListeningPlusnowing what they’re saying can help you build business and keep your customers.

We call this Social Listening.

Social listening programs:

  • Increase sales by identifying issues most important to potential buyers and creating strategies to reach them, not only through social marketing but through all marketing channels
  • Retain dissatisfied customers, identify problems while there is still time to solve them
  • Identify competitors’ dissatisfied customers, “low hanging fruit,” and strategies to reach them
  • Identify unmet needs to develop new products and services; it’s not unusual to read a post asking, “Does anyone know a company that…”
  • Identify emotional “hot buttons”

About 60 percent of B2B purchase decisions are motivated to some degree by personal emotional motivations (security, trust, ambition, etc.), sometimes higher even than company considerations.

  • Give you a head start on identifying and exploiting industry trends; customers and potential customers talk to each other about what they’re seeing and experiencing before they speak with anyone else
  • Helps make your social media campaigns more successful by identifying content buyers find interesting, useful and educational, setting your company apart from competitors

There are many other benefits of social listening through Social Listening+ (SL+), from Integrated Marketing Services. Perhaps, few are more important than generating real-time intelligence from actual current and potential clients so you can make real-time decisions.

What is Social Listening?

Social listening is a proactive process of tapping into conversations on social media platforms and forums to determine what customers are saying about your company, products and brand, almost equally important, your competitors.

SL+ uses key words and phrases, company and product names, industry sectors, services and other indicators to seek out social media conversations about your company, your industry and your competitors. More than just verbatim comments, you receive a market analysis showing trends, strengths and weakness; also, a real-time warning of any specific problems or issues.

Social Listening vs. Social Monitoring

Some marketers confuse social listening with social monitoring. There’s not just a difference in wording.

As the name implies, social monitoring is reviewing social conversations and then replying to specific posts. Social monitoring is a common practice for such companies as shops, hotels and restaurants to answer specific complaints and comments made by customers.

But social monitoring is reactive, it is designed to respond to comments.

 Social listening is proactive. Comments are aggregated and analyzed to create new strategies, and identify potential clients to increase sales and market share.

  • Social monitoring gives you snapshots
  • Social listening gives you a complete picture

It’s the difference between hearing and listening.

Through SL+, urgent issues are also red-flagged and immediately forwarded to clients to help ensure a problem doesn’t become a crisis.

Social Media Has Revolutionized B2B Buying

More than six-in-10 B2B buyers say their purchasing decisions are directly affected by comments they see on social media, both positively and negatively. They read reviews from peers, pay attention to others’ experiences, and then make decisions such as which vendors to consider, and which to reject.

This is particularly true in the “weeding out” phase, when purchasers decide which suppliers to consider.

Positive comments on social media can bring customers to you, even as you go after them.

Knowing what customers are saying is vital. Companies have reported up to 200 percent return on investment from their social listening programs.

Social Listening Success Stories

Staying Ahead of Competitors
Social listening among medical purchasing agents, doctors, hospital personnel and insurance payers allowed a global manufacturer of medical devices to identify customers’ unmet needs. The analysis was used as an important part of its new product development program.

This information allowed the company to develop more useful, innovative products, as well as better forecast industry trends. This is particularly important in the health care industry where technology is profoundly affecting patient care and costs.

Overcoming Opposition; Winning Product Approval
A social listening campaign conducted by Integrated Marketing Services helped an international pharmaceutical company overcome fierce opposition from an advocacy group and win U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for a new drug. Analyzing comments and conversations on social media platforms tipped us to the group’s strategy, its expert witnesses and what their arguments would be.

Integrated Marketing Services was then able to identify expert, pro-client witnesses, handle media relations and train clients (including mock “ambush” interviews with our clients) to effectively deal with reporters’ questions.

Social listening will help your business grow and help buyers succeed.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll start collecting the information that helps grow your bottom line.

Lois Kaufman, Ph.D.
President, Integrated Marketing Services