By: Jordan Hathorne
In the brand world, it’s often easy to forget that social media channels are not just podiums to stand on to talk at our audience. One, if not the most important aspect of a healthy social media presence, is actually listening to your audience and what they are saying about your brand. Recently, CNBC published an article where they were able to look at data about the social media efforts of 50 large food and beverage companies. The data gathered by Brandwatch showed the visibility, responsiveness, and positive or negative sentiment of these brands Facebook or Twitter mentions. According to Will McInnes, the CMO of Brandwatch, “Having a high social engagement or positive sentiment from consumers can definitely affect a company’s bottom line.” This is why it’s of the utmost importance that social media teams understand what people are saying about their brand and ideally why they are saying it. Let’s take Coca-Cola for example. According to Forbes, Coca-Cola is the fourth most valuable brand in the world. They also happen to have a very high amount of social media mentions and positive sentiment around those mentions, according to CNBC. This high amount of social media success comes from listening to what your audience has to say about your brand and then adjusting accordingly.
If listening is half the battle of a strong social media presence, then responding could be the other half. Take Groupon’s recent “Banana Bunker” campaign. Groupon knew their product looked humorous, and that their social media audience consisted of a demographic that would respond to it. They anticipated their users to comment about the product’s phallic appearance, and instead of brushing it off or ignoring it, Groupon kept their team on the situation and replying to these comments comedically to keep engagement high. The product subsequently sold out. Through listening and monitoring their social media presence, all that Groupon had to do was post a certain popular product, respond to their audience, and sit back and watch their engagement skyrocket. This campaign helped Groupon achieve its highest social media presence to date, garnering 12,000 Facebook comments, 18,000 likes and 43,000 shares. This success was planned and achieved by listening to their audience and then executing a campaign where they had a high probability of success and would be able to interact with their consumers. This tactic of responding to a brand’s audience is not new, but it works, consistently. According to CNBC in the data gathered by Brandwatch, “Companies that tend to respond to consumers’ social mentions tended to have higher sentiment scores.” In this way, brands create a cycle of social community engagement that if done correctly can lead to higher sentiment among a brand and its audience. If a brand successfully monitors their social media presence, listens to their audience, and responds to what they are saying, they have a much higher chance for positive social mention and overall social success. The bottom line is that the best kind of social media interaction looks more like a conversation than a presentation.