Why listening to customers matters to every organisation

Fourteen years ago social media did not exist. You couldn’t post your pictures to Instagram, share your life on Facebook, upload videos to YouTube or tweet anything.

Today, 3 billion people communicate through social media. That is a huge shift in the way we all communicate with each other. The implications of which are really only just beginning to be realised. This fundamental change has occurred  in a very short period of time, consider the numbers:

Social media statistics

 

This growth in social media users  is beautifully depicted here by The Next Web. Just imagine what all of these people are saying and the opinions they are expressing.

The impact of our content consumption

The impact of our collective increased consumption of content via social media means that organisations are increasingly shifting advertising spend to social media.  $74bn was spent on social network advertising (Source: Statista) in 2018 which is a significant increase from the  $8.3 billion spent on social media advertising (Source: Jeff Bullas) in 2015.

But in this marketplace, there are some very interesting dynamics that every organisation needs to consider. Unlike any other form of advertising, social media enables people to respond to the organisation and to each other as they discuss their thoughts and the merits of the offer in public channels.

Word of mouth is more powerful than ever

Word of mouth has always been seen as the best form of advertising. But, today every individual's opinion can go much further. The consumer is now a publisher in their own right with significant influence. Organisations that ignore this do so at their peril.

It is interesting is that 96% of the people (Source: Brandwatch) that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ owned profiles and 78%  of people who complain to a brand via social media expect a response within an hour. (Source: Lithium)

The importance of listening

The majority of organisations focus on what they are posting and what they are selling through their advertising activities.  This is the tip of the social media iceberg.

If organisations are not listening to what is being said about them and joining the conversation at the appropriate time, they cannot amplify good messages nor act upon the negative ones. 

Social media is not just a customer service channel or sales channel. It is the channel that connects the customer to the organisation. The rules of marketing are shifting and just like a good friend,  organisations will increasingly be defined by how well they listen and respond to their customers. 

Happy customers share your message and unhappy customers do so much faster.  It’s vital you show every customer you care. Organisations need to think about increasing their ability to listen in line with their increased advertising spend so that can better serve the customers they are reaching.

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