As the number of internet and social media users continues to soar across the globe, it is evident that businesses, irrespective of their size, can no longer ignore the opportunities and challenges it brings. This is particularly true for players in mass consumer markets.
The rise and development of social media has been revolutionary. Forums have been created especially for information and opinion exchange. Companies are now forced to redesign the models by which they interact with their audiences – from press releases to live human dialogue, from reacting within an established time frame to real-time dialogue to resolve the problems of their customers.
Unlimited Feedback in Real Time
In today’s competitive economic climate, only a deep understanding of the demands of existing and potential customers will enable companies to improve their products and services. Although social media has forced businesses to shift towards a new communications paradigm with their audience, it has also provided them with the necessary understanding to maintain a competitive edge.
The practice of gathering customer comments for the purposes of product development and service improvement is not yet widely employed by business, but all the trends in the development of the market and of technology point to the inevitable shift towards it.
Recent research by TNS showed that when consumers have a problem with a product or service, 57 per cent of them will seek a solution to their problem online in the first instance. Among 16–24 year olds, this figure is 71 per cent, and among 25–34 year olds – 65 per cent. Customers today expect a prompt response from a company. Quick and effective handling of such inquiries has a direct impact on increasing loyalty among a company’s audience and attracting new customers.
Management of the consumer experience in social media is therefore imperative in strengthening a company’s reputation and widening its share of a saturated consumer market, where the customer can easily switch between service providers.
Knowing Your Customer
For businesses, social media allows them to get to know their customers. Some social media monitoring systems support post author profiles, including: name, socio-demographic information, a selection of all the posts the author has published on different social networks and a history of the interaction between company staff and the particular customer. As a result, businesses are able to predict their actions and create individualised products.
Social Media Monitoring – How to Really Use It
In order to maintain its competitive edge, collecting and analysing feedback online is imperative for any company. Such monitoring cannot be a one-time investigation, it must be performed regularly or the whole point of the exercise will be lost.
Social media monitoring is currently used to track trends such as customers’ perceptions of a brand, advertising, and individual promotional activities; monitoring client feedback for the purposes of reputation management; and monitoring feedback, complaints and questions from customers with the aim of handling them directly through a support desk.
In order to obtain maximum value from potential opportunities, companies should use a specialised social media monitoring system.
The social media monitoring market is relatively young, but is already developing rapidly in the majority of countries across the world. The market offers a range of services to search and process data at varying levels in terms of comprehensiveness of data collection and depth of analysis.
A key factor is selecting a monitoring system that meets the current and future needs of a business.