Last updated: 6 ways to leverage social listening for digital transformation

6 ways to leverage social listening for digital transformation


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Organizations all over the world are going through a digital transformation with social listening technology. From B2C, B2B, B2G, or NPO, you need to constantly be thinking in real-time. How do businesses that have been around for many decades, or even centuries, transform to embrace the now up-to-the-minute nature of digital?

In a single minute, there are 350,000 tweets sent, 290,000 Facebook updates, and 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube – of all that content, what is relevant to your industry? Your company? Your employees? Your customers?

To harness the power of all this data, you need a platform that can make sense of it all and allow you to pull out insights that lead to action. By incorporating social listening technology, people, and process into your gameplan, the marketing department can become the agent of change within an organization.

There are many social listening platforms on the market – Forrester provided an excellent overview of the enterprise grade systems last year, and Trust Radius makes it easy to compare two or three tools side by side with ratings, reviews, pricing and more. Every business has different needs, so it’s critical you find a partner who can help you assess, select, set up, and train your staff on the use of these tools. Otherwise, if your staff isn’t using the tool, or it’s not properly integrated into your processes, your sizeable SaaS investment won’t see much of a return over the course of your license.

Once you’ve got the right social listening solution in place, your team is fully trained on its features and functionality, and you’ve mapped your desired outcomes to clear roles and processes, then you can start to reap the rewards of your social listening transformation.

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The benefits of social listening

There’s a plethora of benefits when it comes to harnessing data across your organization to better engage customers. Here’s a few ways that it boosts various parts of your org:

  1. Marketing benefits: Marketing benefits by pulling insights from relevant social conversation that lead to changes and optimizations in communication strategy, content strategy, and brand building. Marketing is better equipped to build personas, segment advocate networks, build compelling influencer campaigns, create stronger media relations, and compile real-time competitive intelligence and benchmarks.
  2. Customer service benefits: Customer challenges are brought to the forefront, customer feedback loops are tighter, and customer complaints are resolved faster. Lost customers are identified and rescued before they cut ties with your company, and building up new customer relationships is made more efficient. Your self-help knowledge-base can become more discoverable if your social customer service representatives are at-the-ready with deep links to send to customers in need, surfaced by your listening tool. And all of this can lead to reduced stress on expensive resources, like your call center and long asynchronous email threads.
  3. Commerce and sales benefits: Once the sales team starts getting insights that your marketing team has culled through social listening efforts, then the hard ROI of social listening starts to kick in. For your sales reps, early funnel stage triggers are more easily identified, buyer mapping becomes more tangible, prospecting time is more efficient and more MQLs are coming to sales from marketing. Insights derived from social listening can also make the lead nurturing process more effective, and when a potential customer is about to switch from a competitor, your sales team can be the first to know.
  4. Human resources benefits: Once employees are cataloged and integrated into your social listening efforts, the HR team will begin to see some value. Sentiment analysis can be applied to gauge and then enhance employee experience; newfound insights can guide employee advocacy initiatives, churn reduction initiatives, and, perhaps most importantly, talent acquisition initiatives.
  5. Research and development benefits: After you’ve had the social listening machine up and running for a few quarters, or even a few weeks, you may quickly discover things about your products, or, more specifically, the way that your customers consume your products, that you never knew even through direct survey methods. If the R&D team is plugged into your firehose of real-time customer insights, then monitoring customer sentiment, conversation themes as they relate to product categories, and unfiltered product discussion will likely lead to product tweaks, optimizations, and pivots that will directly impact your bottom line.
  6. Leadership buy-in benefits: By showing tangible results, or, conversely, traction in the market gained by competitors, your team can more easily gain buy-in of executive leadership. This will enable your team to integrate at a deeper and more meaningful level within the org, unlock new and expanded budgets, and deliver on higher-priority initiatives. All of this leads to emergent outcomes across marketing, customer service, commerce and sales, human resources & talent acquisition, and research and development.

This set of goals, outcomes, and benefits is by no way exhaustive. With the right technology, people, and processes in place, your marketing team can become an agent of change within your organization.

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