What is social listening? And why should you integrate it with your Dynamics CRM system? Social listening is one of those phrases that initially sounded out of place, disjointed, and now rolls off the tongue as part of any modern marketing manager’s arsenal. TechTarget provides a neat definition: ‘Social media listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of identifying and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand.’
In short, it’s a business’s answer to the massive proliferation of social media platforms that has sprung up over the past two decades.
Sure, everyone’s heard of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest but there are also vast swathes of message boards and consumer forums, specialist platforms and applications that function in the same way – as a place for potential customers to digitally gather, converse and share information.
Which means if you’re not listening to what customers say on these social platforms, you could not only be missing out on vital data to help you sell but also vital data to help with ongoing reputation management.
What are the benefits of Social Listening and Social Engagement and why does it matter to your marketing and sales lifecyle?
There are many examples of where social interactions have been both positive and negative for an organisation; what’s clear is that social media cannot be ignored. Social listening has a role to play at almost every stage of your sales and marketing cycle and, therefore, it’s essential for your CRM strategy:
- Product development: what are your potential customers hungry for? What are their gripes with the products or services they’re currently buying? What do they love – and hate – about your current offering?
- Target market identification and segmentation: who are you selling to? How are they similar, and different? When, where and how do they like to buy?
- Lead identification: who is ready to buy now? Whose current product or service has run out, or stopped working, or needs upgrading?
- Lead nurturing: the delicate transition from someone who might buy to someone who will be needs constant monitoring and management. Social media platforms are a hugely convenient, always-on mode for doing this.
- Sale: can you sell direct through social media channels? If not, why not? Social listening will show you that for many potential customers, the precise moment they’re ready to buy is when they’re in the middle of a conversation – with you or someone else – about exactly how much they need that new product or service.
- Customer care and support: once they’ve bought, customers need ongoing technical support and ‘check-ins’ to ensure everything’s as it should be. Social media platforms are some of the most mobile, flexible ways a customer can keep in touch with you, allowing you to respond to problems almost instantaneously – if you’re listening. Are you?
Now, these stages of the sales and marketing cycle are clearly fuelled by far more than conversations on social media – multiple different market intelligence tools have a role to play. Some social listening tools are difficult to use and separated from your CRM, but with Microsoft Dynamics CRM this insight is familiar and integrated into your other marketing activities.
What makes social listening so special? You guessed it – it’s that word social. Social media platforms show your customers – past, present and potential – during their everyday lives and interactions. Free from the restrictions of a survey that structures questions and answers for them, or a face-to-face in a store when they’re in a rush to get back to the car, you can hear what your customers really feel. You can learn things about the way they use your products and services that you might not have considered. You can discover problems you didn’t realise you could solve. And let’s not forget – you can hear compliments about exactly what you shouldn’t change.
And social means more than everyday, non-commercial life – it’s about interaction. Interactions on social media can be a PR nightmare – but they can also spread the good news about your products, services and promotions faster than anything else. They allow your customers to share and swap ideas and information, disseminating messages about you.
In short, social listening offers you a dynamic, real-time and natural way of finding out what your customers really think. It’s another powerful platform that will leverage the full potential of your CRM. Can you afford to miss out?
Watch this short overview of Microsoft Dynamics Social Engagement and then speak to Prodware about how we can help you monitor and act on your customers and prospects activities, through Microsoft Dynamics CRM.