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Why Social Listening Matters To Retailers (And Their Customers)

Social media is everywhere!

Retailers that don’t have some kind of social listening strategy are missing out on positive and negative messages from customers, along with opportunities to join the conversation on social media. Monitoring and responding to what your customers say online helps with engaging customers, guiding business decisions and protecting your store’s reputation. 

For example, let’s say that a customer posts the following Facebook comment about your retail location: “I really love [your store], but parking is awful, so I don’t go there anymore.” Other people soon chime in, agreeing with the original comment, and sharing this message across their own networks. If your company isn’t using social listening to engage with this conversation, you risk losing potential customers.

Social listening also brings in information that could help shape your business strategy. If you’re not paying attention to what people say on social media about your lack of parking, for example, you might not realize how much of a negative impact it has on your foot traffic and retail sales. If a large number of your customers are all saying the same thing, deciding to expand your parking might be a smart business move. 

For a good social listening strategy, you need to have a system as well as the technology and human resources to monitor, respond and track both the positive and the negative messages. You’re going to get both on social media, and you need to pay attention to both. In fact, how you respond to negative press and comments is a great opportunity to shape your identity as a business. A graceful response to a negative Yelp review, for example, allows you to show that you care about customer satisfaction. Since you’re in a public forum, how people perceive your response could change the mindset of lots of people at the same time. 

Defining metrics for tracking retail social media conversations is often tricky, because the data is unstructured. But when your business is using social media marketing that activity should be tracked just like any other marketing so that you know what’s working and what’s not. While you might be fine with doing the basics manually, there are third-party tools available if you want to take social listening to the next level. 

In the end, monitoring social media and responding to what your customers say online has three important benefits: It helps you engage customers, make effective business decisions and reduce the risk of damage from negative messages. 

It’s easy for businesses to get tunnel vision, focusing on developing great products while letting customer service slide, but if negative messages on social media are keeping people away, it won’t matter how great your products are. Now that customers are having conversations about their experiences through social media, great customer service — along with a social listening strategy — is crucial for success in today’s retail environment. 

Are you ready to join the conversation? Contact ArcherPoint today to learn more about improving your social listening and retail social media strategy. 

Author: Tina Terrezza, Business Development Manager at ArcherPoint