One of the most critical challenges B2B firms face is getting to know what’s on the mind of their potential clients. What are their current pain points? Have they heard of their organization? If they have, what is their perception? Ideally, answering these would require companies to conduct various surveys and studies. But with social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook gaining momentum, all B2B marketers need is to do is look at the right places to cull relevant buyer insights. That’s where social listening proves instrumental. In fact, 63% of social media marketers believe listening will gain more importance in the current scenario.
To know how social listening as a practice is helping brands achieve more than their strategic business goals read on.
1. Gathering customer feedback for product development
B2B social listening opens up a slew of opportunities for firms to interact and get a pulse of what their prospects and clients have to say about their offerings. Such first-hand feedback when passed on to the relevant departments within your firm enables them to take well-informed next steps. For instance Slack, the business communication platform, made a Twitter announcement about their collaboration with Zapier, to gauge their customers’ reactions and respond to queries.
Similarly, Skype reintroduced their ‘away’ feature through a Twitter announcement and got some mixed reactions. Businesses that explore such social listening possibilities are not only better equipped to augment their portfolio but will also see long-term value through varied buyer perspectives. The unfiltered nature of these conversations provides insight into aspects you may have missed or overlooked but are actually key sales drivers. Plus, they afford you a much larger sounding board and are incredibly cost-effective.
2. Reputation management
Now while feedback is useful, complaints, poor service experiences, and other negative feedback can seriously put a firm’s reputation at risk. Not just this, 84% of C-level executives turn to social media to inform their purchase decisions. This definitely involves reading user reviews and comments about your offerings.
Thankfully, B2B social listening helps manage such a crisis through timely notifications of these instances.
It enables you to immediately respond, address concerns, offer due apologies, and convey the next steps. All this essentially to help them feel valued, thus turning a bad experience into a good one. Once the issue is resolved, you can then ask your client to share how their experience has improved, thus softening the blow on your firm’s reputation.
3. Measuring content marketing effectiveness
91% of B2B firms use social media for content marketing. By plugging in insights derived from social listening, firms can not only guide their strategies and investments better but also calculate their content effectiveness and ROI. This category of ‘content’ can be broadly classified into three areas:
Whether online or in-person, events have been viewed as platforms to create meaningful relationships and explore new business opportunities. Before the pandemic, B2B firms allocated a sizable share of their marketing budgets to such events offline. But as travel restrictions persist these events are now being hosted via video-conferences and webinars.
As an industry player, social listening helps you glean out which of these events worth attending or endorsing. It can keep you updated on events your competitors host, endorse, or attend. Similarly, if you are hosting or endorsing one as a firm, it allows you to measure reach, impact, and spend effectiveness based on brand mentions among other parameters. By constantly monitoring the conversation around your firm, it helps you target the right audience with conversion-driven content.
- Online content
Social listening tools help measure the engagement (likes, comments, shares, and downloads) generated by each content collateral posted across platforms. It also calculates the clickthrough rate (the number of times the post has been clicked, divided by the number of times the post is shown).
- Influencer marketing
Every industry has a league of experts and thought leaders who come with tangible clout. Decision-makers look up to these famed identities for reliable advice and recommendations on their potential purchases.
As a B2B firm, social listening helps you identify such influencers by analyzing social and industry prowess to find the profiles that suit your business objectives. Once you’ve roped them in to review or endorse, you can even use social listening to measure their performance and engagement ROI.
4. Identifying prospects
Speaking to the exact needs of your potential clients will help you garner the attention you deserve. Closely monitor their conversations on social and you will get just the insights you need to optimize your account-based marketing initiatives. An example to note here is the way Cisco uses Twitter handle to strike a conversation with its audience even as they promote their content.
Claiming to be responsible for generating about 80% of B2B leads, LinkedIn is a good place to start. All you need to do us track the kind of content your prospect expresses interest in and use those insights to hone your marketing strategies. As a practice, this proves more effective than cold calling simply since you are more cognizant of your prospect’s needs and inspire engagement in a more non-invasive manner.
5. Monitoring your competition
Apart from tracking your brand mentions, tools like Unmetric and Talkwalker add another level of insight by showcasing how your social content and engagement stack up against your competitors. They analyze industry-specific keywords, hashtags, and more to serve up detailed reports of where your business could improve. Moreover, monitoring reviews and comments about your rivals could also uncover new positioning strategies and help develop a well-rounded competitive road-map.
As the B2B online realm grows fiercer social will play no small part in influencing buyer decisions. Companies that integrate social listening into their marketing activities will be better equipped to tackle the evolving trends of the social selling landscape.
Netscribes’ social media intelligence solutions help B2B companies translate volumes of digital conversations into meaningful business insights, to gain a competitive edge in their space. To know how we can help you, contact us.