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The Social Media Intelligence Blog

Insights on social media intelligence, marketing, and consumer insight

25 Questions Social Media Listening Can Help Answer

By Derek Franks  •  July 11, 2017

Social listening tools give you the power to spy on your competitors, do in-depth research and give your customers what they want.

25 Questions Social Media Listening Can Help Answer

Posted by: Derek Franks on July 11, 2017

It’s not everyday you discover the power to read minds. But, today is that day.

If you’re like us, your innate curiosity leads you to constantly be asking questions and skeptical at every turn. The business realm of sales, marketing and advertising really is a science.

Want to know what your customers really are thinking? This isn’t science fiction!

Luckily for us, there’s a whole universe of online conversation for you to explore.  Get to know your audiences, customers and potential customers. The media is not limited to journalists and advertisers anymore. The average person is now a content creator. With so much discussion happening online, we can now find the answers to some of our most burning questions.

Social media intelligence can help you uncover those difficult-to-find answers about your customers that you might be wondering this very second.

While there are hundreds of insights social listening can provide, we’ve listed out a few of the most pertinent ones that we’ve heard from our clients, prospects and thought leaders in the marketing and advertising industry.

Here are 25 questions social media listening can help answer:


What do our customers want?

Social listening can help you get into the heads of your customers. Thanks to the ability to track conversations from all corners of the web, you can get real insights into what people think and how they feel regarding your business. With the customizable searching capabilities and metrics like emotions and sentiment analysis, demographics and audience interests among other datasets, you have nearly infinite audience data points to easily and accurately discover the insights that matter to your business.


What are our competitors doing?

In this age of transparency, it’s easier to know what your competition is doing. But, never before have you been able to do research and analyze everything about your competitors as if you were working for them. Imagine being in their shoes to find out what their customers think, gauge purchase intent, reaction to campaigns, their demographics, the whole sha-bang. Social listening gives you the power to obtain customer data for your competitors so you can stay one step ahead of them at each turn.


How successful are my competitors at ____?

Want to get specific about a particular campaign or strategy your competitor is employing? Turn to your social listening platform to find out. If you’re an almond milk brand, you may want to see how well received a soy milk brand’s target audience responded to their campaign encouraging people to switch from good ol’ fashion dairy milk. The more you know about people that could be in your target, the better prepared you’ll be for your own campaigns.


What are our customers biggest pain points?

Your goal is to fill people’s needs and wants and offer the solutions to their problems. Social listening helps you figure out what those are. A travel brand could use social listening to discover that the biggest crux to people’s travel experience is the many inconveniences of getting from place to place once they’ve reached their destination. They could then offer solutions to these problems, such as creating materials like guides and tips to getting around town where their customers are going. The takeaway here: know your customers problems so you can be the best solution.


What opportunities are we missing?

The community discussions online could turn your ear to something you hadn’t yet considered about your audience. If you can pinpoint a problem or interest from your audience before anyone else, you could get a leg up in your industry and beat competitors to the punch. Social listening can absolutely help you find something that’s not being addressed in the market place.

By analyzing social conversations, you can discover the sweet spots where your brand can help and that your competitors aren’t privy to.


Which audiences are least happy with us?

The situation: you need to figure out who exactly isn’t feeling so high on you right about now. The solution? Dig through the conversations online to gauge the temperature. People will tell you how they really feel. You may find some things you’re not ready to hear, but you need to know everything about your audience, including the people who are less thrilled with you. This will help you make improvements and streamline your approach to better meet people’s needs and expectations.


How is our brand performing based on historical benchmarks?

One of the great things about social listening technology is that it can take you back to the early days of social media so you can look into the time capsule of online conversation. The historical record provided by a listening tool allows you to look at a specific fixed timeframe so you can measure past performance of your efforts. For example, a luxury car brand can see how their winter holiday campaigns performed in 2014 and compare it to 2015 and 2016 to help them prepare for the 2017 holidays. Using this historical data, you can set your benchmarks more precisely.


How do we save more time with our customer research?

The research that goes into customer segmentation, target personas and social media monitoring is exhaustive and can take a lot of time. Since we’re all in the business of saving precious time, social listening technology helps us to get to the heart of the data about our customers, fans, followers and detractors faster.  


What are my target customers’ interests and passions?

Knowing what your customers are interested in and passionate about can help you make important decisions with regard to your business: from social media content, to ad campaigns and product reviews. It’s essential for your brand to be relevant and relatable in the eyes of your customers and potential customers. This insight enables you to make sure you’re staying on course.

Social listening brings you these answers by analyzing the online conversation around specific topics you search then seeing what people who talk online are also interested in.  Let's use almond milk drinkers as an example. What topics are consumers who drink almond milk also interested in?


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Similarly, you can see how passionate the community is about these topics over time, an indicator of how topical and relevant you can be to people who have those interests.  How passionately has almond milk and soy milk been discussed over the last 3 months?

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Use this measurement to gauge how well your tribe might feel about your marketing tactics beforehand and help your brand remain topical in the eyes of your customers.


What are my customers talking about?

In the same respect, you can actively monitor what’s being talked about a given topic that is pertinent to your business.

For example, if you wanted to see what brands are saying about National Ice Cream Day, you can search the appropriate terms and see all the different posts, comments, and hashtags and the latest content from influencers and publications.

By keeping tabs on the community conversation, you can stay one step ahead with your marketing and advertising campaigns and tactics.


Which audiences are our biggest advocates?

When doing audience research, you’ll want to deep dive on the people talking about you in a positive way to find out who is doing it the most. This how listening can take it a step further from just monitoring the online conversation and figuring out who your fans are. The real question is: who is promoting you the most? Keep track of the people who are your biggest advocates and observe their needs, wants, interests and pain points so you can be in a position to offer the best solutions to their problems.


How do we target our ads better?

It’s simple: you need to know everything you can about your customers. To prepare your team to create more precisely-targeted ads online, you need to become an audience research maestro. Social listening helps you discover important details about your customers that can enable you to optimize your targeting. Social data around interests, conversation volume, emotions, and actions such as purchase intent, will help take your ad targeting to the next level.


How can we convert more leads?

Lead conversion is quite possibly the most important social media metric. By consistently observing the online conversation using social listening, you can make sure your business is always talking about the right topics and in the right places so you’re in a better position to be discovered by people who want to do business with you.


How successful was our offline campaign?

The crazy thing about social listening is that you don’t need social media to use it. Of course, we’ll always advocate for brands to leverage social channels in their marketing, because that’s where your customers are. But, utilizing social listening can help with non-social efforts.

A great example: say a soda brand airs a political leaning advertisement during the Super Bowl. Gasp, controversy! Where is the first place people go to voice their opinions about that commercial? Aha, social media. Then they write about it on their blogs, they leave comments and reviews on forums and soon enough, that’s a lot of people talking about that soda commercial. Let’s take a look at the impact your message had and how it was received easily and accurately, thanks to social listening analysis.

This can work for many other offline campaigns, from in-store signage, to contests to print ads, you can use the online conversation to analyze and observe its success even if social media was never involved.


Did the audience react/perceive us positively?

If you’re looking to get real-time feedback about your brand or a campaign from a large sample size of people, social listening cuts right to the chase. Don’t sift through surveys or hold a groupthink driven focus group. Instead, get unsolicited thoughts right from the opinionated people talking online.

Sentiment analysis and emotional trends, for instance, can be measured right within a social listening platform so you gauge how people react to you or perceive your brand and its efforts.


What do our customers think of our new product?

Similarly, if you are launching a new product, you can see what the public has to say. The searching capabilities of listening platforms can help you discover topics related to your business, in depth and far reaching throughout the entire internet. Put yourself in a position to monitor the fast-tracking reaction to your new products, optimize your approach and take the learnings and apply them to future product launches.


How can we come up with new ideas?

In the need of a little inspiration? Even the most creative of people go through times where they struggle to come up with ideas. Your team can benefit from taking cues from the audience at large, whether it’s designers and writers, strategists, marketing directors, or social media managers. If you’re in need of coming up with ideas for your ad campaigns and online marketing tactics, social listening can help give you the boost you need.

Analyzing the online conversation can help your team formulate new ideas. This is a great approach because you’re letting potential new customers tell you what is relevant to them.

In this two-way street digital world, the power is in the hands of the customers. But, you can use that to your advantage by actually listening to them.


How do we respond to a PR crises?

This is doozy of a question. Sometimes things go bad. When they do, you need to be armed with historical data about how your brand, other brands in your industry, your customers, and target customers acted and responded. Social listening allows you take a look back in time so you can observe the past instances of public relations issues and inform your response to a current problem. Don’t get caught in a storm without a good umbrella!


Who are the influencers in our industry?

The tactic of utilizing big name influencers to help market brands is not going anywhere anytime soon. But there’s an opportunity that is very often missed when it comes to influencers: micro-influencers. These are smaller names who don’t have the follower numbers that a celebrity has, but who have a ton of pull within a given industry. If you can tap influencers to promote your product or service, your reach potential will increase exponentially. The tough part: identifying people to promote you. Social listening is the perfect remedy. For tools like Infegy Atlas, you have a whole section of the platform dedicated to analyzing and discovering influencers.


How can we provide a better customer experience?

What you need is to match what your customer’s expectations are to the experience they have with your product or service. Maybe you’re getting some unsightly reviews online and you’d like to improve it to better meet people’s needs. Online reviews are great to have, but the honest truth is, people talk more elsewhere online. To get a more accurate read on how people feel about you, leverage social listening. Bonus: some listening tools integrate review sites into their data.


How do we develop better relationships with our customers?

It’s important to respond to your fans, followers, and those who talk about you or reach out to you. The monitoring capabilities of the social platforms themselves are limited and often you can miss a significant portion of the online conversation. Social listening helps you see the whole picture. Now you can engage with your fans and followers and gain a better understanding of the communities sentiment towards your business.


What content should we produce next month/quarter?

Just as listening enables you to better engage your online audience, it also helps you prepare for your next round of marketing and advertising. If you’re creating social media content, for instance, don’t go into that production process blindly! Instead, find out what your audience thinks and feels. Always be in discovery mode. Do the audience research to help you create messages that your customers would find interesting, intriguing, helpful, and entertaining.


Where do our customers hang out online?

Listening tools can help you easily scan the the online landscape to see which channels and properties are visited and utilized most by your target audience. With the help of listening, you can discover how much conversation is occurring with regards with to relevant topics, brands, demographics on each social channel, network, blog or microblog. This will help you figure out where to place your ads, where to target your content and where your should focus your marketing efforts most.

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What did people think of our event?

Got a big conference or local event and want to see what the reaction was to it? Listening tools can sift through the online chatter to hone in on search queries as specific as the event you held. Not everyone is Apple or Facebook and if your company is hosting a seminar, conference or charity event, you’ll want to see how well it was received.  By doing this you can gauge the community’s pulse and prepare yourself for the next time.


How can we recruit better talent?

Social listening isn’t just useful for marketing your business. It can help you find the right people to join your team. Provide your hiring managers with social listening to track the online conversations about job searches and find skilled people in the talent pool. Use a social listening tool to hone in on the right people for the job.

In Closing

Now you’ve played this fun game of 25 questions. You see social listening provides so many opportunities not previously available to us. The evolution of social media intelligence and technology has opened so many doors to advertising, marketing, media, research and sales professionals.

While these aren’t the only questions listening can help answer, you can see there’s a whole new world of discovery and research readily available at your fingertips. Let’s make social media technology work harder for us, save us time and most importantly, give our customers what they want.

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