While businesses have always interacted with their customers, the methods of business communication have changed during the past 50 years.
History of Social Media Monitoring
Just consider how the meaning of “being social” has changed — from meeting with clients face-to-face or touching base on the phone to tweeting or branding through social media like Facebook. But regardless of differences between 1970 and today, humans will always act as social beings. As Karl Marx observed, human beings require social cooperation in order to survive. Nevertheless, the methods of social interaction have changed, and businesses must adapt if they want to survive and thrive.
“Social marketing” is not new. During the 1970s, Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman noted that the basic principles used to sell products could also be applied to “selling ideas and behaviors.” But cultural and technological shifts have led to modern social media marketing — is your company keeping up with the changes?
How Do People Perceive a Product With or Without Social Media?
Before customers buy your product, they must first conclude that the product is a practical and cost-effective solution for a “real problem.” Prospective buyers have always looked around to see how other people are addressing similar problems. However, the product research process has shifted from “word of mouth” to “word of mouse” due to internet search engines and social media.
While customers are doing most of their “buying research homework” online, smart businesses also have a golden learning opportunity — to learn what potential buyers think of your products, your company and your competitors. Both small and large companies can use the same methods to take advantage of what social media sources are telling them.
If companies are actively paying attention to what prospective customers are saying in social media such as blog posts, products can be quickly added, changed and improved based on customer perceptions.
How to Benefit from Social Media Monitoring
The importance of the customer has been well-known to marketing experts for many decades. However, most businesses have often felt that customer buying behaviors were somewhat mysterious and involved a fair share of “guesswork.” Social media monitoring tools have changed everything — replacing guesses with real data about potential buyers. Here are five examples of practical social media monitoring benefits for companies of all sizes:
- Product Development Ideas — By analyzing customer attitudes and comments, companies can make products designed to meet existing problems.
- Data Mining — Social media analytics involves a series of methods to analyze “opinions” rather than “facts.”
- Competitive Intelligence — Most companies are constantly striving to find out more about the competition, and social media management makes this a cost-effective reality.
- Reducing R&D Investment — Learning more about what actual buyers like and dislike is an economical substitute for lengthy research and development decision making.
- Getting to Know Your Customers Better — Hearing the “true voice” of your customers is ultimately the best benefit of all for social media monitoring.
How “Social” Is Your Business?
Thanks to “being social,” many companies are using social media management and marketing to dramatically shorten the period between product development and actual product availability. But with anything new, avoidable mistakes should always be anticipated and avoided. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there can be a steep learning curve when companies first use social media monitoring tools.
Social media monitoring will be insightful, if you track customer interactions quantitatively as well as qualitatively. In order to make every social media interaction on your brand count, a social media monitoring plan is essential. Companies like Research Optimus can help you build a customized social media monitoring plan to make your business more social than your competition, and to help prevent you from making the same mistake your competitor has made.
– Research Optimus