In today’s unstable economy, consumers are increasingly focused on spending their money wisely. Consumers may do more research on companies before deciding to make a purchase to ensure they get the most bang for their buck. Online purchases will likely continue to account for a larger-than-usual portion of sales. What we’re saying here is: things will be different for a while. But it’s a speed bump, not a dead end.
Providing users with a great social customer experience from start to finish will help you earn and keep customers throughout this time. 80% of customers say that the experience is just as important as the product or service. A good social customer experience strategy depends heavily on well-informed market research gathered from listening to your customers. The research will indicate where customer needs should be incorporated into your strategy, engaging content that demonstrates the value of your product, and how best to respond to customer service issues.
1) Gather Market Research Data
Listening to what people say about your brand by monitoring your mentions is just the tip of the social cx iceberg. Social listening gives you the power to conduct comprehensive market research that will help you make better strategic decisions. In order to understand the full landscape of your industry, you need to take a step back and look at the big picture.
Many users consult social media before making a purchase, whether it is via research or directly asking their followers for product recommendations. Monitoring untagged mentions of your brand in casual social media conversation can provide you with a different angle of feedback than you normally receive. Indirect mentions can also provide you with competitor comparisons from a consumer’s point of view. It’s important to know the customer's desires and expectations so you can meet them. It’s also essential to listen to what consumers are saying about your competitors, both on their social channels and in casual discussion. Keeping your ear to the ground can help you identify problems that customers have with your competitors and offer solutions preemptively.
2) Act on your Market Research
Now that you’ve got the data, you need to inform your strategy and put your team to work creating great customer-centric content. Publishing content that resonates with your audience will positively impact your engagement and your brand perception as a whole.
Strong and frequently updated market research data will help keep your team unified as they execute your strategy. Knowing what your customers want from your business allows you to more easily determine the content they want from your business. Content-market fit is an extension of product-market fit and an important factor to consider in your strategic planning. Thorough research for strategic planning will allow you to develop and maintain a detailed brand identity that shines through with every interaction, making a name for your business among the public and garnering further brand recognition. Everything from the content your team creates to the tone they use while engaging with customers should be on-brand.
Studies show that customers feel more connected to brands they converse with directly on social. Online social interactions have been increasing as time progresses, and the Covid-19 crisis has inevitably intensified this trend. Human touchpoints will be especially important to potential customers as we recover from the Coronavirus and people adjust to having less in-person business interaction than before the disease. Whether it’s just a compliment or a customer service issue, you can easily enhance your followers’ social customer experience simply by responding to their comments and posts!
As times change, your audience, their concerns, and the type of content that succeeds with your audience may also change. For example, it’s as important as ever to create content that is shareable and engaging; but, in the post-COVID era, it will be especially important to demonstrate the value and longevity of your product. Other specific features you should emphasize may depend on your industry and can be determined with a combination of analysis of your brand, industry and the general conversation around Covid at the time. Knowing what’s happening in your industry right now, rather than a week ago, is essential to making smart marketing decisions in the wake of crises like Covid. And marketing will be an integral part of stimulating the economy!
3) Analyze and Update
Social listening enhanced market research is a great start that can indicate what, where and on whom your brand should focus. But you need to pair that information with analysis in order to refine your strategies based on what worked and what did not. Analyzing your social performance can help you identify the efficiency of your strategy and ad spend– because in times when consumers are being cautious with their budget, you will need to be as well.
Social customer experience market research along with performance analysis will help your team form plans for reputation management, crisis management, and customer growth and retention. Having a plan for every facet of your social customer experience and many potential situations will be invaluable to your company. You don’t want to put all of the effort into marketing campaigns just to drop the ball when something doesn’t go according to plan! The key is not to form a static strategy as your be-all-end-all, but to be continuously adapting to the rapidly changing market landscape by listening to the customers’ needs. Your strategies have expiration dates, but your brand doesn’t!
Interested in more information about improving your brand’s social customer experience? Download our Social CX Guide!