Want To Connect With Your Customers? Then Step Up Your Game

As a former NFL player, and now the CEO of NUVI, it is easy for me to see the connections between football and business. When companies are not in tune with their teammates and don’t know or understand the playbook, the pass will get dropped, the ball will be fumbled, and the trust and reputation you may have built for your brand is lost, sometimes forever. Companies that want to be industry leaders and avoid unnecessary turnovers, which benefit their competitors, have to step up their game and take full advantage of the social landscape.

Still, most brands just don’t seem to “get it.” For instance, let’s take a look at the song that Dave Caroll spread through social media after United Airlines broke his guitar and then refused to replace it. What began as one upset customer, quickly snowballed into a viral phenomenon that cost the company millions in bad publicity.

Regardless of how stale the industry might seem, or how apathetic customers are, these customers, clients, advocates and critics are all logged into social media. Which means you need to be aware of what’s going on. Here are my three tips on how you can leverage social media to create a better connection between you and your customers.

Visualize the Conversation

Seeing is believing. In fact, 93 percent of the conversations we have are nonverbal. It is nearly impossible to understand your customers if you only look at a snapshot of the words they say. Understanding and seeing the entire conversation is a distinct advantage of those that tap in the social landscape.

On a recent trip to New York, I met with a large beverage brand who had been struggling to find a social media listening tool that gave them exactly what they wanted. They were creating a social media command center that would provide a data driven, visual perspective of their social campaigns. They wanted these visualizations to both break down the data into understandable insights and impress clients and potential clients. Most tools in the industry that they had seen had either catchy visualizations but no real data behind them, or even worse, they had data but no way to visualize it. Time and time again, this is the case.

For this brand, the constant visual stream of data was essential in order to gauge the success of current campaigns and plan for future ones. And, while marketing has primarily been a “telling” initiative, it quickly evolved into a listening activity. Thus, the brands that want to effectively market must also effectively listen, and this cannot be done without visualizing the conversation.

Dig Deep into the Data

At my second stop in New York the director of a large agency emphasized to me why the data needs to be complete. He described to me that when evaluating the success of social media campaigns, likes and shares are only part of the picture.
Want To Connect With Your Customers? Then Step Up Your Game
An effective social listening tool should provide more than just likes and shares. Deeper understanding of who were the top Influencers, what was the spread & reach of the message or campaign, who or what was mentioned the most, what were the trending hashtags, URLs, locations, and more, are all essential to understanding the conversation. By understanding and seeing the deep data you are now able to fully understand the conversation and see if your message is resonating with both influencers and customers.

This deep data also sheds the light onto the behavior of your audience. By understanding the conversation AND behaviors, this deep data acts like a crystal ball for all types of agencies. Adjustments could then be made much more quickly, saving time and improving results. Not only will they see what is working, but why.

Refocus your Focus

Before getting carried away with the thoughts of graphs, analytics, and reports, it’s important to understand the real focus of social media listening. Social listening is just that, listening. This is the key to providing the best service to your clients and brands. Social listening is genuine, empathic and not defensive posturing. You can’t serve your customers meaningfully if you don’t first understand why they are upset—even if the criticism seems unfair or makes you uncomfortable.

One good example of this is Alaska Air. They have completely embraced social customer service through social listening. In 2012, Alaska Air started off as a social experiment of social listening. With just a handful of people shifting between phone calls, Twitter, and Facebook, this quickly became the backbone of their entire customer facing strategy. Now they lead the industry with social media involvement and it has garnered so much free publicity and praise that the department has become a revenue generator as opposed to a cost center. Keeping the focus on listening to the customers will propel any company to greater heights.

Take Your Brand To The Next Level

Each of these tips will help brands go further in their customer development and reputation. The real key to successful social media campaigns, or any interpersonal relationship for that matter, quite simply is to listen. By combining finely-tuned listening tools with a visual, real-time data platform, any company can find the critical information that will be vital to your brand or agency.

A robust social listening tool like NUVI takes the guessing work out of social media and helps you to know what is being said about your brand and how to answer. Monitoring social media doesn’t have to feel like you are getting rushed or sacked at every turn. Instead, with NUVI, you can feel like each play is another touchdown. Here at NUVI, everyday is game day.