Are Marketers listening to conversations on social media platforms?

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social-mediaSocial media listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of spotting and reviewing what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand on the Internet. Conversations on the social media platforms are gigantic unstructured data. It’s very important for a brand, therefore, to define the targets for a social listening initiative.

The distinguished panelists at the ongoing DMAI2014 convention shared various insights from their respective experiences about the topic, “The Power of Partnership, Social Listening & PR”.

The coming generation of social media marketing overlaps with the PR’s ability to converse and build relationships with the consumer. This has lead to usage of vast scope of social media in their digital marketing strategies.

Speaking about social listening, Sanjay Tripathy, Senior Executive Vice President, HDFC Life Insurance Company said that social listening is a great way to inform any business effort that would be assisted by input from a relevant social media platform. Before we had the tools to crunch together the gazillions of social conversations happening across the internet and deliver business insights.

On being asked about the problem and the difficulty that is created by the excessive conversation on social platforms, Nikhil Rungta, Chief Business officer, Yebhi said “These days there are tools available to extract insights from the billions of conversations happening on social media at any given time. With the help of the tools it is able to get notification about what is said across a range of sites including LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, and video. Brands can monitor their brand names, products, services, and competitors by keyword and geographic location. The tools help users to identify influencers among the people who are driving conversations.
Nikhil further added that the time span in which the brand replies to the negative feedback on social media platform should be a maximum of sixty minutes. It’s very important for the brand to reply. The consumer should feel that his query has been read and would be solved.

Social listening is beneficial not only in one way conversation between the consumer and brand but also in the bigger picture. Sudeep Narayan , Marketing & PR Director Volvo said “ Social listening is not just about what people say about a particular brand but also what is said about the competing brands and the response of the competing brands.”

Sudeep, with an example explained, how listening to competitors could be very useful. Sudeep said “It is useful to learn that a competing brand is about to launch a product in the segment in which our product is to be launched in the near future. It is a deliberate leak of the feature in which it has an upper hand as compared to the product to be launched by the competitor. This deliberate leak may act like a teaser and is very acceptable on social platforms”

Another Panelist Bipul Kiran Singh, Public Affairs Adviser and brand expert advised the brands to communicate with the audience as if the conversation were between two humans and not between a common man and a big brand. The conversation on any platform should give consumers a feel that he is being heard by some human being and not the big brand. If senior officials start responding on social platforms it can certainly gain more faith of the people.

Has the concept of social listening penetrated in the public sector especially the government? Bipul Kiran said “The government sector has still not got active with social listening. They are still engaged in the traditional ways of media. In the political classes its one way listening. Even if the public posts something the replies are not that quick”

Kanika Mehrotra

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