Use Social Listening for Product Development

September 28, 2017

Use Social Listening for Product Development

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Olivia Noli

Olivia Noli is the marketing intern at Nuvi.

Latest posts by Olivia Noli (see all)

Welcome to the seventh article in our nine-part series. If you haven’t read our last post, we talked about how to dominate your competition using social listening. In this installment, we are going to share how to develop your product using social listening. In this case, we mean the development and improvement of both current and future products. Social listening allows businesses to see what people are saying about their product, even if the business’s online account isn’t tagged. By using social listening, companies can further develop their products according to consumer demands. Here are three steps to develop your product using social listening.

Creating a Monitor

Social listening provides businesses the opportunity to gather unsolicited feedback around their product, even when their brand name isn’t specifically tagged in the post.

The key to this technique is to know the right terms to monitor for your purpose. By entering all relevant terms in a monitor, including hashtags, the monitor will bring in all available social mentions of the terms you entered. The trick, therefore, is determining the relevant keywords. Let’s say you produce vacuum cleaners, for example. By only searching for the term “vacuum cleaners,” you’ll have all mentions of vacuums, instead of just your brand of vacuum cleaner. While this can be useful for industry research and will help you get a better picture of what people think about vacuum cleaners in general, it won’t help you know what specific issues people have with your brand.

In his 2013 Medium article, Kevin Ashton explained the importance of using a social listening tool like NUVI to inform product development, “User-generated reviews are the best possible way to understand how customers use products. At Belkin, I launched a range of simple energy-saving products to understand more about the conservation and home automation markets. For all but the most mass-market products, post-launch research is expensive because users are hard to find. And even if you can recruit participants, focus groups only provide a few dozen opinions. Online user reviews, of which there were hundreds, told me more than I could have possibly discovered from market research, at no cost.”

By adding your brand name to the monitor, you can narrow your search to only pull in mentions containing your brand. Also, let’s say you have just launched a new product and want feedback about a specific model, you can add the model name or number of the specific product you want to monitor in order to narrow your results.


Each incoming mention might contain one or all of the keywords in the monitor. By following the mentions, whether positive or negative, you can gain insight into the pros and cons of your own product according to your consumer. NUVI’s bubble stream allows you to monitor these mentions of your keywords, as well as the sentiment of the mentions and the size of the influencer. NUVI’s monitor allows you to see at a glance the frequency and reach of your keywords.

Using Social Media Polls

Now, you’ve heard what people are saying about your product. Want more feedback? Post a poll on Twitter. Social listening allows you to hear unsolicited feedback about your product, but creating polls allows you to gain additional insight from your consumers. If someone complains about a feature of your product, you can then create a poll about that specific feature. An example would be to create a poll to see if your consumers would rather keep that feature, or add feature option A or feature option B. In this way you can create your ideal product for your consumer.


Twitter polls are advantageous due to their ease of use. Rather than fill out a form with numerous questions, a respondent simply clicks their answer to the question. Due to the simplicity, more people are likely to respond. Another advantage is that people can share polls, and therefore your original poll can reach more Twitter accounts than just your followers.

These polls can even be embedded into blog posts to reach your readers who aren’t on Twitter. By creating these simple polls, you can gain further insight into what people think of your product. Like the Airbnb poll above, you can see what your consumers are interested in, which can help you offer a better product. With this poll, Airbnb could offer a guide to local restaurants, or even a free meal in order to attract more consumers to their lodgings.


Product Development and UX

Now that you have all this data, what can you do with it? The next step is to implement your research. According to Forbes, Twitter began as an alternative to text messaging, but due to their growth and research, they added “liking” to tweets and “retweeting,” which gives us the Twitter we have today. Based on product research, they kept their original base of their product but developed it into a new social platform. You can use this technique as well. By finding what your users want with social listening, you can develop your product into a key commodity based on user demands.

According to Twitter’s blog, product development should be approached much like the scientific method:

  • build a hypothesis
  • define success
  • test the hypothesis
  • learn
  • determine if the product is shippable
  • build another hypothesis

By using the data you have collected with social media listening, you can develop a “hypothesis” about what your consumers expect of your product. If it fits the parameters of a successful product, you can ship the new product. Social listening allows you to monitor reviews about your products and continuously develop your product. Ashton elaborates on the use of reviews, “User-generated reviews are the best possible way to understand how customers use products…Negative reviews are even more valuable than positive ones. Bad reviews draw attention to previously unknown bugs, unacceptable trade-offs, or missing features.”

Very few businesses are using social media to understand and design better digital experiences. If you were monitoring the sentiment of discussions about a business over the course of a month and saw a significant increase in negative commentary, how could that help UX designers to do their job?

In Conclusion

Social Listening, if used effectively, can help you create the ideal version of your product. This will help you dominate your competition and make your business recognizable by your efforts to listen and respond to your consumer. Product development is essential to creating a successful business, and social listening is an effective research method to create the ideal product.

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