The B2B sector has always travelled a different route than B2C, with different rules and tools.
Despite this, the various changes that have taken place within the sector have modified its dynamics and habits, bringing elements into B2B that, until some time ago, belonged only to B2C.
One among many is the use of social media and related analyses, such as Social Listening.
B2B Social Listening: what is it?
Social Listening refers to all those activities carried out to monitor online conversations around specific keywords, brands, sectors and competitors. Listening to them helps you understand customer behaviour and market trends, allowing you to build a great competitive advantage.
This activity can help you a lot in managing your brand communication and products. Think about how much you can learn about your customers by listening to them across the board. Or how much you can learn about your competitors by using Social Listening well.
What are the advantages of B2B Social Listening?
Every social contact with a potential customer has a definite and tangible value.
There is no better place, in fact, to understand how your audience approaches your product: you can not only collect comments, but also conduct qualitative and quantitative analyses.
With social media you can collect a lot of data for analysis, useful for understanding many things about your product and your brand, and for making the right changes to your activities to make you more attractive to leads!
Make your communication more meaningful
If your followers take the trouble to contact you on social media, if they tag you in a post or send a message on a page, they do so because they need to communicate something to you, and they want to do it quickly.
It can be a request for assistance, a need or even an appreciation. Each of these things has a different importance, and must deliver a result as soon as possible.
In the past, after the launch of a new product or an update it took days, if not weeks, to receive feedback. Today, however, thanks to social media, we can find out immediately what impact it has had on our audience.
Skype, for example, reintroduced the ‘Away’ status function on its platform, and thanks to Twitter it was able to gather a lot of customer feedback in a short time.
Skype quickly realised how popular the feature was, and was able to act accordingly by releasing it in all markets.
Keep up with the criticism
Like it or not, we are in an era founded on ‘no filter’.
Customers do not mind harshly criticising brands, and they do so without filter. Sometimes the criticism is also very harsh, which is precisely why brands must be ready to respond without losing control. This is the dreaded Social Media Crisis Management.
No one will easily forget the episode that occurred with the Inps Facebook page, and if you think that these situations can only occur in B2C I am sorry to have to tell you that this is not the case.
For example Slack, the famous messaging app, changed its logo in February 2020 and announced it on social media.
What Slack didn’t expect was to receive so much negative criticism for ‘conforming to other apps’, much less could it have imagined seeing its logo associated with a swastika!
Slack’s social media marketers were able to contain the criticism and put the negative messages on the back burner by emphasising the more constructive and sympathetic feedback, maintaining a calm and professional tone as always. Which is not easy in these situations!
One must also be prepared to listen to criticism and comments ‘without a filter’. It is also important to do this in a timely manner to keep your company’s image under control.
Give customers what they want
Whether they are regular customers or potential customers, users always have an opinion about your products and what you offer to the public. Listening to this feedback will allow you to enhance your product, improve your communication, or create a new line adapted to the needs that arise.
Monitoring competitors is also useful. If you find that users complain about that particular flaw, you can use it as leverage in your marketing strategy, highlighting that instead your product or service has in that very aspect its strong point.
Furthermore, this channel can also be useful to move a potential customer forward in the funnel. He is on social, you are on social, he expresses a need, you have the solution: why not propose it?
How to create an effective B2B Social Listening strategy
You know, in marketing planning is everything, and Social Listening is no exception.
So let’s take a look at what you need to do!
Prioritize your social networks
There are so many social networks. Different by user type, by content, by purpose. To be present in all of them is therefore not possible, nor even useful!
In order to do a proper Social Listening activity you must therefore first choose which tool to focus on for your social communications.
Then you can activate your strategy.
Don’t neglect ‘hidden’ conversations
Do not assume that communications happen only in front of your eyes. There are secondary platforms where users can talk about your product without you knowing.
To do an all-round social listening job, you need monitoring tools such as Mention or Talkwalker. These two tools allow you to find all posts, articles, and comments about your company.
Listen to what is being said out there
If you base your strategy only on your brand, you might miss out on some very interesting things!
As we said before, listening to what is coming from the industry in general can help you improve your product.
A good strategy is to monitor industry hashtags, to keep up to date with what is being said and what trends are emerging.
B2B Social Listening: are you ready to listen?
What is said online about your brand ends up being part of a potential customer’s decision-making process. Think about how many times you have avoided a purchase after noticing negative feedback on social media to which there was no response.
Social listening is now essential to ensure that your product is in line with consumer needs and that your brand is truly appreciated.
It is also important to implement social listening so as not to be caught off guard by any criticism or issues.
To do this you need to:
- choose which social networks to monitor;
- use online monitoring tools such as Mention or Talkwalker;
- be ready to respond to needs that may arise;
- listen to what is being said in the industry and not only what is related to your brand.