Social Listening: A Marketing Strategy for the Current Age

by Heidi Bullman

Many aspects of normal life are in a state of flux right and this has created a conundrum for marketers. While there’s a need to keep reaching out to customers and prospects to sustain business, this has to be done with a high degree of sensitivity. While finding the right tone is definitely tricky, it does also afford marketers with the opportunity to connect with customers in different – but equally effective ways – including social listening.

There are myriad advantages to social listening that are especially useful during a crisis. Primarily, it helps businesses to understand what their audience is talking about and what’s relevant to them at the given moment. During a crisis, social listening can identify trends in conversation, monitor reactions to company content, and can even help determine sentiment and tone. Having analyzed the above, marketers are able to determine whether or not their content is resonating with their audience and if, above all, their brand is helping to serve as a source of positivity in a time of chaos.

“Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, I stopped posting and sharing content of any kind for a short period. Soon thereafter, my new approach became to find customers and prospects that are doing good work in the community and displaying corporate citizenship. This has been well-received and it’s something I feel comfortable doing,” explained Michael Wilson, senior director of Marketing at Cognizant.

According to Carrianne Polo, Founder and CEO of New Park Creative, Wilson’s angle reflects the type of approach marketers must take in a crisis. “Right now, people are distracted and posting promotional content is inappropriate, tone deaf, and insensitive. But I certainly don’t think we need to put our content strategies on hold – it’s a matter of addressing the elephant in the room, explaining that this is what we’re experiencing, we’re apart of it too, and here’s content we feel is worth sharing with you now.”

By using social listening tools to help identify audience conversations as well as sentiment and tone toward an organization’s content, marketers have the ability, even during time as chaotic as the one being experienced now, to connect with their audiences in a way that sees them as people versus just potential customers. This creates the opportunity to build long-lasting and trusting relationships while implementing a more human-centric marketing strategy.

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