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Australian brands are missing out on extra revenue by not listening and engaging with their customers on social media

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Telstra was recently announced as Australia’s most-loved home-grown brand in the Australian Top 50 Brand Love List, released by NetBase.

While most wouldn’t think telecommunications to top a Love List, what Telstra’s doing right is really listening to their customers, engaging with them on their level, and therefore creating strong brand advocates who share the love for the Telstra brand.

Telstra’s customers are spreading the word about their positive customer experiences online. A word-of-mouth endorsement is the best – and most affordable – marketing output a business could want.

People trust people* (that’s why engaging influencers has been a popular tactic in Australian marketing campaigns). Happy customers spread the word, ultimately encouraging business revenue growth. And what better way to help brand advocates spread the word, than via social, a medium that over half of all Australians use at least once a day!**

The Australian Top 50 Brand Love List showed there are a lot of home-grown companies missing out on revenue dollars due to not listening and engaging with their customers on social media.

How brands should use social media

Where we expected to see much loved beer brands and fashion labels among the list – as with our global counterparts – we instead saw social media, telcos, airlines and entertainment take the top spots. Australians are a nation of people who prefer experiences to things, and brands need to tap into this through their social media communications – by engaging their audience with emotionally-driven content.

Six ways brands can increase engagement, and revenue, include:

1. Listen to customer feedback about new products

Track new product feedback on social – not just on your owned channels, but across earned media and review sites, compare consumer sentiment for your products against those of your competitors for a benchmark, and improve the product and purchase experience based on customer feedback across all available channels.

2. Use competitor differentiators to your advantage

Every company faces fierce competition, and it’s important to analyse how customers talk about their experiences with your product/service against those of your competitors. Understand if your customers’ views change over time by regularly broadening your competitor monitoring to include industry trends and disruptors.

3. Understand your audience beyond their love for your brand

Good engagement comes from keeping the conversation going once a customer has already bought-in to your brand. Look at what else they’re talking about aside from your brand and enrich your marketing segments with real-time social audience data. You should be looking for insights into behaviours, usage and attitudes of your customers, which will enable you to build relevant products as well as conversation with your audience.

4. Continually monitor campaign performance

The worst thing you can do as a brand is a put in a whole lot of money and research to create a marketing campaign, then tick it off as a done task and move on to the next once it’s live. Brands need to be continually checking the reception of their campaigns and pivoting where possible to increase audience sentiment. Track who is leading the conversation to optimise campaigns – it may not be who you think!

5. Connect with your valued audiences on the right channels

Identify the channels and people driving the conversations to create authentic connections. Understand your most valuable social channels and analyse the intent of consumers participating in those conversations. Building pocket strategies to engage how these key drivers will pay off in dividends through word-of-mouth marketing, both on and offline.

6. Improve customer satisfaction through social feedback

It surprises me to still hear of marketing strategies where negative comments on social are just not responded to. This is such an old-hat move. Brands need to respond to customer complaints on social to show that customers are your number one priority – more often than not, customers just want to know they’re being heard. Make sure your customer care team is in touch with your wider marketing team so issues can be resolved in real-time. Customer feedback, whether good or bad, can act as a brand’s focus group for future products. Don’t discount it.

Yes, many brands can view social media as risky. However, by engaging with their audiences in a meaningful way and creating a two-way channel of communication, brands can open up a world of possibilities and revenue channels with very little work. Really, the risk is in not engaging at all.

*88 per cent of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts (Forbes, Dec 2015)

** Sensis Social Media Report, 1 June 2016

Paige Leidig is the chief marketing officer of NetBase, the social analytics platform that global companies use to run brands, build businesses, and connect with consumers every second. It’s platform processes millions of social media posts daily for actionable business insights for marketing, research, customer service, sales, PR and product innovation. NetBase released the Australian Top 50 Brand Love List on 28 September 2016, and is based in Santa Clara, California.

Paige Leidig
Paige Leidig
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