How Social Monitoring Will Make You a Better Ag Brand
One of the most powerful digital tools available to brands today is the social listening platform. It’s also the tool that the vast majority of brands aren’t using to its full potential. In order to fully explore this topic, we’ll break down social monitoring and social listening into two articles. Let’s start with social monitoring.
Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in February 2017. It was revised March 2021 with updated statistics and new information.
Social Monitoring Vs. Social Listening
While both social monitoring and social listening are conducted using the same tools, they serve very different functions.
Social monitoring uses specific keywords, like brand and product names, to scan social media platforms, forums, news sites, blogs, and more, for mentions of your brand or products. It helps to alert social media management and customer service teams to customer questions, complaints, or possible problems that may require a real-time response.
Social listening is about research and analysis. It involves collecting broader data beyond brand or product specific conversations, to uncover deeper insights. These can include customer insights, competitor analysis, audience analysis, and trends. Scalable and driven by AI, it can help you build better customer personas and refine your marketing communications.
Social Monitoring for Better Farm Customer Support
It isn’t uncommon, even now, to come across ag brands that don’t have a social media presence. Often, the reason they give is a concern about monitoring the channel – they don’t want to miss a customer service complaint or question and not have someone respond.
It’s naive, or maybe optimistic, to believe that a customer will hold back their complaint because they can’t tag your company on Twitter, or that they’ll switch to a private venue to air their grievances. It’s far more likely that they’ll voice their complaint anyways, and engage with their followers in a conversation that your company may never see.
Social monitoring is your window into these conversations, and the door that can open to a community around your brand. You can choose to listen and remain silent, or you can join the conversation, potentially influencing its direction in your favour.
Responding to negative comments appropriately can create goodwill in your audience, and build customer loyalty. Skilled customer service can be the difference between losing a customer and gaining a brand advocate. When responding to direct questions or complaints, consider the following:
Don’t wait too long. Customers on Twitter expect a response within 60 minutes, while customers on Facebook expect an answer within 6 hours.
Be diplomatic at all times. Acknowledge the customer’s frustration, apologize for the inconvenience, and indicate a desire to help.
Respond to public comments publicly and move the conversation to private channels as soon as possible.
Over-communicate. If your social media manager or customer service representative needs to escalate the issue to another team member or team, ensure they let the customer know what’s happening frequently.
But what about the conversations about your brand or product that aren’t directed at your company? You can and should join these conversations as well, especially if you can provide accurate information. Respond to questions posted on forums and social media about product performance, usage, availability, etc. You can use this as an opportunity to ensure that the most accurate information is shared. Negative product experiences are often due to incorrect usage, such as applying chemicals off-label at the wrong rate or time.
Brands that engage and communicate with the audience are brands that draw followers and advocates into the conversation. Customer trust improves even with just the perception of being heard and customer experience improves when trust is established. They see your brand and your team as trustworthy, they are satisfied in their interactions, and they anticipate future interactions positively.
Social Monitoring As a Research Tool
While not exclusively intended for research and analysis, the data collected through social monitoring can offer valuable insights into how your customers think about your product, service, or company. By being open to negative feedback as well as rave reviews, you create an opportunity to fix potential problems. Learn from the good and the bad. When reviewing your social monitoring data, consider the following:
Are the pain points identified in your customer persona accurate? Could they be further refined?
When farmers talk about your brand, what do they say? Do they like or dislike your product/service?
What steps can you take to improve your product or service?
Are there common themes in the questions or complaints you receive that could be addressed in your customer journey?
Are you responding quickly enough and providing satisfactory solutions to your customers?
Customer feedback data has value for nearly everyone on your team. Ensure you share your findings with research and development, sales representatives, marketing managers, customer service agents, and more. Your dealers or retailers may also benefit from understanding common customer questions or complaints, so they can address them during the sales process.