When I mention social listening, what benefits do you think of? For most, this tool is an opportunity to monitor a brand’s reputation. But in addition to monitoring, it also allows you to analyze and respond to conversations about a company, business or even a sector on social media. The responses or actions to be carried out will depend on the findings of social listening; In most cases they can range from changes in communication, crisis control or improvement in customer service, although there is a little-explored action: innovation.
Social listening beyond brand reputation
The information collected from a social listening study is extremely useful not only to anticipate and respond to crises, it can influence a wide range of business processes, updates or generation of new products or services and even the personalization of advertising. This is where innovation comes into play.
Take Avon as an example. The beauty giant used machine learning and social listening to create new products with a focus and approach centered on the true wishes of its consumers.
What they did was extract millions of comments on YouTube and Instagram that talked about their mascara. They collected, ranked and filtered keywords referring to the benefits people were looking for in their products: volume, lengthening, lift, definition and dramatic touch.
With this information came their Avon True Lash Genius product. But they also realized that there were regions with different needs, for example in Mexico consumers preferred mascara for lengthening eyelashes and that they did not necessarily offer the other four benefits. In this way Avon drove innovation: it went from offering lash lengthening mascara to ultra lengthening mascara in one region and fulfilled the 5-in-1 wish in the other countries.
An example of an Extendo customer is the case of a very famous brand of soft drinks. They had a challenge: their target audience was not engaging with the brand on social media as they wanted. We help them with research to find the topics that the younger generations were most interested in. A campaign with a hashtag emerged from this listening process dedicated; thus they began to generate content aligned to these search terms and their Paid Media campaigns were adapted. Consequently their engagement and sales increased.
Innovate in times of pandemic
Although there are crises specific to each brand, there are others that we cannot control. External situations like the current pandemic seem like a risky moment for change. In itself there is a lot of uncertainty and it would be to add a little more to it. Why bet on innovation in times of COVID-19? Because at this time an unprecedented amount of information is being generated both in our own media and in third-party media that we can take advantage of for our benefit.
During May 2020 #BANGBANGCON_TheLive, the hashtag of an upcoming paid online concert, remained in the top trending topic places for more than 15 days in 20 countries. The music industry has been one of the hardest hit during this pandemic. That a paid live streaming event is part of a conversation for so many days could give us to understand that there is hope for the new normal. Will corporate entertainment event organizers be aware of this? The conversation suggests that there are sales still in quarantine, someone notify them.
For smaller and more modest businesses there is also a door of hope. No need to hire expensive social listening tools. It is enough to take time to get into Google Trends, monitor the trending topics or the comments of your competition or partners to get “fabric to cut from.” Are people complaining that delivery services (much in demand now) come with the food made into mush? If you are a restaurant, then put double the work on the packaging of the dishes: reinforce the packaging of liquids, separate sauces from dry items … provide a user experience worth of buyback.
The creativity with which we interpret the data is something that no tool will give us and this is where the greatest challenge lies when listening and innovating. Don’t take the conversation for granted or assume that what is being talked about out there is the same thing on your mind. Going out of the ordinary could be a lifesaver in this challenging time for all sectors. Sometimes it is worth the risk.