Every day, new information, opinions and mentions are seen on the internet. Do you realize how much of it concerns you and your business? Some of it can change your image, and some can help boost sales. How can we find and make use of the data? The answer is: social listening.
Let’s start from the basics. What exactly is brand image? It can be defined as a general idea people have about a business, about its products and services, its organizational culture, representatives, modes of communication, and values. If your image is positive, your products are well perceived, customers trust you better, and you can build a lasting relationship with them that is based on consumer loyalty. Why is it so important to create a business image in the most conscious manner possible? Well, if you don’t do it, others will do it for you and they’ll probably do it wrong. There’s no place for blank spaces in this area of your business. Each entity we contact produces certain emotions and associations. If you do not rule over them through a well implemented strategy, you’ll find your company sunk into negative buzz that is very difficult to control. A well-thought image is crucial due to the following reasons: you want to always be two steps ahead of the competitions, and you want your customers to be able to identify with your brand.
What Affects the Image
Factors influencing the making of your image can be divided into two categories: those that outcome from within the company, and those that income from the outside. The first category encompasses all the actions taken by your company as part of a specific strategy. Namely, the messages you send – advertising, information, news, events – and the way you communicate on social networking, the conversations you hold and the manner in which your clients contact company representatives. We’ve been happy internet users for the last 25 years. In the last decade the number of active users has increased by several hundred percent. Many customers, mostly from the age group 14 – 35, are (very) active users of various social media platforms. It gives us great communication opportunities that should be taken advantage of. At times, a company can be sending inconsistent online messages to its customers, contrary to what customers receive in direct offline contact (a product, an event, a meeting with a representative, a visit at the office / store). It creates dissonance and alienates customers from the brand, making it look like it’s not aware of its identity.
NOTE: If one customer is satisfied with your product and writes about it online, 90% of people who read this will have a positive idea of your business. If the same person is unhappy, people won’t even bother to get to know you.
What Should We Do to Build an Image
If you want to succeed in building a long-term image of your company, you should follow a few basic steps. What exactly should your strategy be like? Start by defining the mission and values of the company. It greatly helps determine the next, very important thing: your goals. Set yourself a deadline for achieving them and plan how you’ll accomplish them, what steps you’ll undertake, and what tools and tactics you’ll implement. It is also necessary to specify where to start. You surely have an idea about your perfect brand image, but are you aware of the actual one? Finding it out should be your starting point, allowing you for any further action and the best way to do it is to research the media, your customers and employees. It’s the best and most valuable source of information on how you are seen. But where should we take the information from?
Social Listening – Why It Is So Important
Social Listening is also known as Social Media Monitoring, as in fact it’s all about monitoring, identifying and assessing what users, customers and other recipients say about a particular brand, product or person. Social Listening is an essential tool used to identify the prevailing sentiment around the company and hence, and the image that is created online by all the people mentioning your brand. Social media, websites and blogs offer nearly unlimited opportunities for its users to express their opinions and we do take advantage of it quite willingly. At the same time, these are the first points of information to anyone wanting to know anything about a company. In the last decade, online sources have been the major factors influencing what people say and write about you.
Currently, the market provides us with a lot of tools to track specific keywords. A very good example of such tool is Brand24, which is a huge time saver. No need to scour the internet for reviews about you, with Brand24 everything you need to know will simply be provided to you. In addition, the mentions are sent in a form of a report that you can filter for specific keywords as needed. You’ll also know your reach, the most popular author and most interactive mentions. With such valuable data you are able to assess what the recipients think of you today. You can also contact people that praise your brand and make them even more engaged. At the same time, you will get an immediate signal when someone complains about your product.
A quick response will allow you to nip any potential crisis in the bud and save your reputation. Social Listening is all about effective listening to the needs and emotions of your customers, with its main outcome being building a positive brand image. Companies learn not only how to speak but also how to listen carefully, as, even though informing is important, a reciprocal communication is simply crucial.
Use Social Listening for Your Business
Social Listening is a great tool for recognizing sentiments, supporting communication and image-creating activities. It’s also extremely helpful in finding your leads. In companies that recognize the potential of Social Listening, reaching your target audience is quicker and more efficient. Its main advantage is that you can provide your potential clients with the assistance they need just at the right time. That way, you are not just a salesperson, but more of an entrepreneur rushing to aid those who request it. It’s an innovative, highly effective approach introducing new companies into the market rapidly. When acquiring loyal customers and enhancing the sales process, Social Listening is becoming more and more indispensable.