The rapid digitalisation of our everyday lives heavily influenced customer behaviour. Nowadays, every review, every complaint, and every conversation about a product, service, person, company, and industry happens online. For businesses who want to increase sales and build loyalty, tracking customer behaviour online is a necessity, not an option.
💡 Customer behaviour is the study of how individuals, groups, companies, or organisations select, use, and dispose of goods and services.
To understand your customer’s behaviour, you have to closely follow the customer journey. This includes collecting and analysing customer engagement data from multiple communication channels and touchpoints, including social media platforms. Organisational leaders and marketing specialists are jumping on the media monitoring bandwagon, trying to figure out the best ways to follow online mentions and gather more data on their customers.
However, data in itself does nothing unless you can transform it into actionable insights. Here are five important steps you should take to be able to understand your customer’s behaviour!
1. Learn who your customers are
You cannot sell to people you do not know. Every marketing and communication strategy starts with understanding who your customers are. That means gathering information about their demographics and psychographics, and knowing what they are talking about and what they are looking for in a product or service like yours.
you are probably familiar with social media and the power it has to help you reach your customers. Through social media, you can listen to what your customers are saying about your brand, products and services, and competitors. It is also a great way to uncover and verify trends in the industry that may impact your business. Through media monitoring and social listening, you can easily gain insights into who your customers are!
Before we move on, let us make a distinction between media monitoring and social listening.
💡Media monitoring happens on a micro level and it is more of a reactive process where you monitor and identify individual mentions about your brand, your products and services, and your competitors. The idea is to learn what people are saying and offer a timely response to incoming questions and comments, as well as solve any arising problems.
💡Social listening happens on a macro level and it is a proactive process that looks at the bigger picture. Social listening aims to gain insight into industry trends and identify repetitive patterns by analysing the data from individual customer conversations and interactions from a broader perspective.
The knowledge gained from social listening can be used to mitigate risk, gain consumer insight, build strategies to increase brand awareness, improve the customer experience, and drive organisational change.
You can leverage both processes to learn about your customers. With monitoring, you can follow their behaviour more closely and discover their posting frequency, favourite platforms, daily activity times, geographical positioning, preferred language usage, etc. With social listening, you can learn about your customer base as a whole, so you know how to approach them with a product or service that will meet their needs.
2. Discover what they care about
Besides knowing who your customers are, you have to know what they want. When someone mentions your brand on social media or in an article (either directly or indirectly), it is a great opportunity for engagement—but it also gives you insight into what they care about!
Social media monitoring and listening can help you determine which topics generate the most engagement, how people feel about your brand, and how they compare your products or services with those of your competitors.
The most effective way to find out what people care about is to build search strings.
💡 Search strings (also known as queries) combine keywords (text, numbers, and symbols) with Boolean operators and are used to perform custom searches to find the most relevant results while omitting spam. Search stings can be built to retrieve search results in any language and A Data Pro offers string building in over 40 languages!
Depending on the tool or platform you are using to monitor mentions and research conversations, a search string can contain different types of symbols and operators. You can build multiple search strings for different purposes: brand name mentions, product reviews, competitor mentions, negative feedback, industry conversations, etc.
Besides text and numerals, you can also incorporate hashtags into your search string. Hashtag tracking can show you which hashtags are the most popular among your target audience so that you can join in the conversation. Most tools also let you see how many times those hashtags were mentioned and who used them. You can also take a look at the words people are using when they mention your brand or talk about something related to your business. With this information, you can build strings of mentions of your brand on social media—and then use these strings as part of a larger marketing campaign.
3. Find the platforms that they frequent
Many marketing and communication specialists make the mistake of trying to cover as many online spaces as possible when planning campaigns. If you are looking to reach the right customers, it is important to know where they spend their time. Is it Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or Twitter? Are they active on local forums? Perhaps they frequently start discussions in the comment sections of particular websites.
The more specific you can be in identifying where your audience hangs out online, the better chance you have of getting them to pay attention to your products and services.
Through media monitoring and social listening, you can:
- Rank social media platforms and news sources according to the number of times your brand gets mentioned on them.
- Measure your Share of Voice (SOV) on each platform to see how frequently your brand is mentioned in the context of a given topic or industry when compared to your competitors.
- Discover whether there is a difference in sentiment towards your brand from platform to platform.
4. Find out what type of content interests them
Media monitoring tools offer real-time overarching analytics that give you information on your brand’s health (brand reputation, brand awareness, brand positioning, share of voice, etc.). These analytics also show you the type of content that engages users as well as how they react to it. You can also learn what content format generates the most engagement: videos, photos, text, GIFs, etc.
Monitoring tools provide data on:
- The number of followers or subscribers each creator has. This is very useful when you want to identify influencers you can work with.
- The number of interactions each post gets (likes, comments, shares, saves, pins);
- The post’s sentiment: positive, neutral, negative (not always reliable as machines cannot always recognise, for example, sarcasm)
- The time of day and days of the week when your customers are most active;
However, just looking at all this data and information on your dashboard can be overwhelming.
Media analysts work with data and information daily and they are experts in noticing repetitive patterns, drawing conclusions, and delivering actionable insights. They can advise you on what type of content performs the best with your target audiences as well as propose testing plans where two or more versions of a variable are tested to determine which version delivers the best results.
Understanding data, information and insights is key if you want to perform well. Find out more about the difference between the three and how to utilise each of them.
5. Optimise your touchpoints for a smoother user journey
A business’ touchpoints are the different ways customers engage with them—through social media, for example. Touchpoints include things like social media posts, customer service interactions, and product reviews. If a customer has a negative experience at any of these touchpoints, they may decide not to continue with their purchase. They are a crucial part of the user journey.
💡 The user journey is a framework that helps companies understand how customers interact with their products, and how they can improve the overall customer experience.
When customers drop out of the purchasing process—for instance, when they stop following you on Facebook or unfollow your Instagram account—that is called a negative touchpoint. When they convert into paying customers, that is called a positive touchpoint. That is why monitoring your customers’ journeys is so important.
Social media monitoring helps you identify which touchpoints are working well for you, and which ones are not. By understanding how your customers interact with your business, you can identify and improve negative touchpoints.
To understand your customer’s behaviour and maximise the customer journey, you need to know how people are interacting with your brand across all touchpoints. This means understanding who your customers are; learning what they care about; identifying the places they frequent; and paying attention to the type of content that interests them.
How can we help?
We at A Data Pro are experts in this field. Leave the media monitoring to us and focus on running your business. Our social listening capabilities let you know how to respond quickly and effectively, so you can be sure your brand is always perceived in a good light. We will provide you with actionable insights that will help you improve your marketing efforts, increase engagement, stay ahead of the competition, and achieve your goals.