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Social Listening - Why It’s Important For Retailers

“We have two ears, but only one mouth” -- in other words, we should spend more time listening than talking. This is as true on social media as anywhere else. Listening to online chitchat about your business, products, industry, even your competitors, can lead to surprising benefits, including strengthening relationships with customers and making better business decisions.

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What Is Social Listening?

It differs from tracking “vanity” metrics (likes, followers etc.) in that you’re monitoring terms, conversations and reviews associated with your business across different sites, including social media, blogs, Q&A forums and news sources — plus you’re analyzing the results. There are a number of tools available that can help retailers do this, including Hootsuite, Talkwalker and Reputology.

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Real-Time Response

One huge benefit of Social Listening is that it alerts you to any issues/complaints customers are having with your business in real time. This allows you to respond instantly, delivering an unparalleled level of customer service. Such immediate action can turn a disgruntled customer into a true fan of your business, as well as nip a potential social media crisis in the bud.

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Attract New Customers

Social Listening is also a good vehicle for reaching out to potential customers who have an interest in the products you carry. For example, say you’re monitoring discussions about pet care and someone asks about a good dog shampoo to relieve dry skin. You can chime in with advice or even send them a link to a blog on the subject. Your helpfulness may win a new customer for your store!

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Beef Up Marketing

By providing insight into who’s buying your products and how they’re being used, Social Listening can help you develop a more effective marketing strategy. One sock specialty shop learned through Social Listening that athletes tend to spend the most on socks, viewing them as tools for their job. The store then started associating itself with athletes, giving itself an elite image that helped boost sales.

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Listening Pays

Here are just a few other benefits you can gain from Social Listening: Identify new business opportunities by spotting product/service gaps that your competitors aren’t filling; Find bloggers who are “influentials” and can be ambassadors for your business; Gauge response to your marketing initiatives; Recruit and hire qualified employees – and so much more. It pays to be all ears!