Social media has shifted the power to consumers and given them a platform for their voices to be heard – in real-time. Not only has social media created this opportunity for consumers to voice their complaints and concerns around products and brands – it has also created an environment of transparency, and Retailers and Manufacturers must work harder than ever before to manage their reputation and find new and innovative ways to harness the power of social media to connect with their consumer base. To gain a competitive edge, Retail brands need to listen and analyze these conversations about their brands, their products and industry – to make better decisions about their merchandise, stores, service and promotions – and develop and nurture long-lasting relationships with their consumers and community.
Understand the Retail Social Landscape
Listening to social media helps you hone in on where your communities are. Do your customers and prospects engage on Twitter, blogs, forums, mainstream news sites, or all of the above? Which keywords do they use most often? Maybe they are discussing “coupons”, “malls”, “stores”, “retail” or “shopping”. A social listening platform will help you seek out these conversations to give you a better understanding of who your supporters are and where they like to engage. This information will be crucial when you are ready to develop dialogues with them. One of the world’s leading luxury watch manufacturers used the Synthesio dashboard to discover the bulk of conversations about which expensive watch to buy, were taking place not on fashion or luxury goods sites, but on automotive forums – particularly those relating to Formula 1 Racing. The luxury watch brand used this insight to connect with their customers by sharing a passion for fast cars through sponsoring Formula 1 events.
Gain Insight into your Consumer Base
Listening to social media can help you learn more about your consumers’ preferences, behaviors, perceptions about your brand, and trends in products and shopping. Monitoring and analyzing social media sentiment can help you understand the market reaction to product launches and measure the success of your promotional campaigns. By geo-targeting your search, you can focus on what’s important in that region, analyze the effects of your marketing campaign in specific areas, and seek out new potential consumers to engage with. Synthesio worked with a leading skincare manufacturer to provide ongoing monitoring of mentions relating to their new foundation. Through social listening they discovered that consumers loved the product but said it made their faces a little too shiny. The brand took action with an early launch of a new product in the pipeline – an oil-free version of the cream.
Provide Shoppers with Real-Time Customer Service
Social Media has transferred the power away from businesses and to consumers. The days of a single source controlling a brand’s reputation are long gone. With social media, consumers now have a public platform to share their voice with the world, and all too often with a negative tone. Consumer complaints which were once hidden behind letters and phone calls, are now on display for the world to see…including potential customers. Social intelligence platforms not only help online customer service teams discover brand mentions and customer issues in real-time, but also provide a platform for routing customer issues to the appropriate department to fix issues at hand. Kohl’s is one of the most proactive retail brands on social media, reaching out to customers via Facebook, Twitter and incorporating social media for product reviews and shopping assistance into the Kohl’s website for easy sharing.
There are a variety of influence-scoring platforms that can provide information about key industry influencers. Some of these tools can also provide detail on the levels of influence generated by web sites or media type, e.g. how many of your Twitter followers are clicking your links and retweeting your content, the level of engagement within your Facebook page, etc.
- Facebook User
- Twitter User
- Forum Member
The ability to accurately identify the influence of a brand mention, website, or individual can provide a variety of benefits, including:
- Filtering through thousands of mentions to find that needle in the haystack.
- Identifying key communities of advocates (or detractors) in order to more accurately target your advertising and communications.
- Streamlining customer service efforts by prioritizing your resources and responses to ultimately improve brand reputation, customer satisfaction, and sales.