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 answers or actions to carry 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 one 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 deal with crises, but it can also influence a wide range of business processes, updates, or generation of new products or services and even advertising personalization. This is where innovation comes into action.
Take for example the case of Avon. 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 masks for eyelashes. They collected, classified, and filtered keywords referring to the benefits people were looking for in their products: volume, lengthening, elevation, definition, and dramatic touch.
With this information came his Avon True Lash Genius product. But they also realized that there were regions with different needs, for example in Mexico consumers preferred masks for eyelash lengthening and that they did not necessarily offer the other four benefits. In this way Avon drove innovation: it went from offering eyelash lengthening mask to ultra lengthening mask in one region and fulfilled the wishes of 5 in 1 in other countries.
A typical example of an Extendocustomer 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 most interested the younger generations. A campaign with a dedicated hashtag emerged from this listening process; This is how they began to generate content aligned to these search terms and their Paid Media campaigns were adapted. Consequently they increased their engagement and sales.
Innovate in times of pandemic
Although there are crises of each brand, there are others that we cannot control. External situations such as the current pandemic seem like a moment of risk for change. In itself there is a lot of uncertainty and that would be adding a little more. Why bet on innovation in the days of COVID-19? Because at this moment an unprecedented amount of information is being generated both in our 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 at the top of the trending topic for more than 15 days in 20 countries. The music industry has been one of the most affected 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 organizers be aware of this? The conversation points to the fact that there are sales still in quarantine, that someone warns 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 join Google Trends, monitor the trending topics, or the comments of your competition or partners to get “where to cut”. Are people complaining that the delivery services (much in demand now) come with the food made into porridge? If you are a restaurant, then put twice as much work on the packaging of the dishes: reinforces the packaging of liquids, separates sauces from dry elements… provides a user experience worthy of repurchase.
The creativity with which we interpret the data is something that no tool will give us and this is where the greatest challenge lies in listening and innovating. Don’t take the conversation for granted or assume that what’s being talked about out there is the same thing on your mind. Departing from the usual could be a lifesaver in this time so full of challenges for all sectors. Sometimes it is worth taking the risk.