From one-man-bands to global conglomerates, social media provides businesses with a wide open window into the thoughts, opinions and behaviours of customers. Whether it’s a simple keyword search in Google or the deployment of a sophisticated tool, social media monitoring can add value to everything from customer acquisition and product development, right through to crisis management and customer service. At the end of 2011 Radian6 drew up a list of 100 of the best uses of social media monitoring. We’ve pulled out our favourite five.

1) Brand monitoring

Listen to what is being said about your brand. The good and the bad. Run keyword searches within social media platforms to identify where and when the conversations are taking place and build a deeper understanding of who the brand detractors and advocates are.

2) Competitor intelligence

Follow the conversations surrounding key competitors and look for opportunities to poach. By using keyword searches that associate negative words with competitor brands, bad consumer experiences can be tracked and intervened, turning disgruntled competitor customers into the next customer acquisitions.

3) Customer service

Keep a watchful eye out for customer issues. Publicly engaging with customers in real-time might seem like a high-risk proposition, but the value-add of converting an angry customer into a brand advocate in such a public sphere is an insurmountable marketing tool.

 

 

4) Crisis communications

A crisis can spread like wildfire across social media and the brand can often be the last to know. Actively follow the conversation to locate the source, understand the volume and scale of negativity and work to put the fire out. As FedEx recently demonstrated, when a video circulating a careless courier emerged, honestly and openly addressing the crisis is an effective way of restoring brand perception.

 

5) Product development

Find out what the customer wants. And give it to them. Online customer conversations can provide deep insight into likes and loathes surrounding products, while offering a means of beta testing and potentially developing new products. A great example of this is Vitamin Water, who crowdsourced a new drink flavour, not only showing its fan-base that it was prepared to listen to them, but it was prepared to act.

 

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