Social Listening Must-Haves for Retailers
Retailers enthusiastically leverage social media with a growing digital brand presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and many other social platforms. Social media advertising is growing rapidly — it's expected to exceed $10 billion by 2017. New business and revenue models that provide unprecedented opportunities for retailers will emerge and mature. So, what are the must-haves for retailers to drive sustainable business value from social media investments?
Social media strategies must include social listening capabilities. The value in social media are the two-way communication opportunities, particularly in having a 24/7 channel into what your customers, prospects and other influencers are saying about your brand. Retailers also can tap into what their employees are saying, what their competitors’ customers are saying and what their shareholders are saying about their brand. However, the content posted on social media sites is nearly immeasurable and is continuously replenished, so how can retailers harvest meaningful information in such a vast amount of data?
At a minimum, all retailers must have capabilities in place to manage risk and listen for content that presents their brand in a negative light. For example, customers may be disappointed and vent on social media outlets and employees may be disgruntled and share inappropriately in this public forum. Retailers must have the ability to listen for negative content and be able to address it quickly. Many consumers consider social media a preferred customer service channel, so retailers must be able to receive and respond to those customer service messages quickly. In fact, research shows that about half of all customers will expect a response within one hour, regardless of when that service issue is posted.
Retailers also need to establish social media policies for employees to clearly communicate an employee's responsibilities as it relates to their social media activity. There are numerous examples of inappropriate online postings from employees that unfortunately travel with lightning speed around the social media universe. Retailers must have the ability to quickly identify truly damaging content and respond to it immediately before a small distraction escalates into a truly harmful incident to the brand.