NCET Tech Tips: Use Social Media to Get to Know Your Customers

NCET explores business and technology

By Lori Ann Kruse

Lori Ann cropFrom the point of view of a business, social media is a conglomeration of potential customers. Instead of being able to speak to one person at a time, social media gives you the ability to engage potentially thousands of future customers.

Facebook, twitter, Instagram and other major social media platforms are a way for people to express themselves, communicate their priorities and explore their hobbies. Knowing what people are interested in can help you adjust your business and marketing strategy.

Let’s say for example, you own a consignment shop for women’s clothing. Customers who are interested in women’s clothing tend to be at home-seamstresses who like upcycle and modify existing clothing into a unique outfit. Because you know that a significant number of your audience is always looking for new things to create with their sewing machine, you may consider cross-promoting with a nearby sewing class.

Listening through social media works for a variety of settings, not just for retail. Businesses who serve other businesses can leverage social media listening. Observe posts about their business, examine customer reviews about their business and find what is important to them and how you can offer to strengthen their business process.

Here are some low-cost (read: free), low-effort services to assist in listening through social media.

socialmention.com

Social Mention allows you to search blogs and social networks by topic, geographical location and date. Take advantage of the advanced search feature to narrow in on the topic important to your business. Results are listed similarly to Google search results, so you can peruse the summaries or click on each mention to read the full text. Social mention is great for identifying trends surrounding your topic of interest.

Social-searcher.com

Social Searcher is another social media search service. However, unlike Social Mention, searches can be narrowed down by platform. Searches can be performed on Facebook posts or tweets or both. It includes the less mainstream platforms such as Flickr, a platform focusing on photos. This is useful if most of your customer base is found on one network, such as Facebook or Instagram.

Buzzsumo.com

Buzz Sumo not only searches by topic, but also shows how many times a particular piece of content has been shared. The number of times a topic is shared is indicative of how well the subject resonates with the broader social media community, which gives insight with that would resonate with your customer base. This also helps you identify influencers surrounding your industry. Knowing that gives you an opportunity to learn more about your customer’s needs and pick up tips on how they engage with their audience.

The implications of listening through social media extend to how you interact with your customers, price points, offerings and promotion. It’s important to remember that keeping tabs on your potential customers on social media is an avenue to listen to what is important to your customer base, so that your business can continue to innovate and grow.

Lori Ann Kruse is Project/Production Manager at Allgo Social and NCET’s VP of Image Asset Management.

This column first appeared in the Reno Gazette-Journal – RGJ.com