If you’re like us, you love to analyze data and customer behaviour to get a sense of how your business is doing. Because we’re constantly seeking improvement as business owners, we’re always interested in new and creative ways of connecting with a target audience, building out a network, and developing solutions for clients. Offering the best custom-tailored service means being aware of your audience’s needs, and what you’re doing to meet those. Social listening can help you find blind spots and weaknesses in your business delivery, to see where and how you can better serve customers.

Good business is the result of hard work, but great business is always a work-in-progress! Let’s roll up our sleeves and look at the ways you can gain feedback through social media. Below are 10 actionable ways to learn where, and how, you can get real, raw, unfiltered customer feedback. There’s never a bad time to seek new “aha!” moments for better customer service, increased revenue, and company growth.

Reviews

hopefully, you’re encouraging reviews from clients after working with them–whether it’s Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, or Facebook reviews are one of the top priorities for search result visibility. The more positive reviews you accumulate the better positioned you’ll be to get seen online. But reviews can also be full of valuable information about your products, services, website, customer service, and other aspects of your business that you may have overlooked. Reviews can highlight quick and easy fixes. For example, a tour company review from several customers saying that the one thing they weren’t prepared for on the trip was the weather, you can resolve this issue by adding a “weather” section under your “What to Expect” information on your website. Listening to comments online and tracking them in a spreadsheet can provide a wealth of information that can be addressed both in the copy of your website, the functionality, or the customer service of your staff.

Social Mentions

Similar to reviews, these are company keyword searches applied to social media channels to search for informal comments or mentions by individuals, other companies, groups, etc. that pertain to your goods and services. Unlike reviews, you need to do the legwork to find these “hidden reviews.” Search your company name in Facebook’s search bar or on Twitter for the top and latest filterings. Find out what people are saying behind-the-scenes and apply the same technique as you would for collecting data from reviews. This process is a bit more time consuming but can offer great insight as you’re likely to get information that users perhaps didn’t intend for you to see! There’s also plenty of software available to track and analyze social media activity around your company. From Hootsuite to Audiense, check out what is free vs paid and what tools will work best for your needs. You can also dive into public groups, hashtags, or chats around topics that relate to your services. For example, if you own a dog-photography business and want to know more about your clients’ needs, investigate forums online where dog-owners talk about or share their photos for insights into what they’re interested in capturing.

Interviews

Do you ever follow-up with clients, one-on-one? Giving a few of your past clients a call and checking in on the goods and services provided, or asking for five minutes of their time to pursue the blunt questions of: “how has this worked for you?” “Is there anything I could improve?” or “What could I do better next time?” could open your eyes to aspects of your service delivery you’d not thought about, and can deepen the level of trust and respect between you both. Caring about your existing customers as individual people can make them customers for life, and asking them for honest feedback can supply you with the tools for doing better the next time around with new clients. Develop a list of questions prior to the conversation as a way to keep the conversation focused and ask if they mind being recorded. Transcribing these conversations and inputting feedback into a document for review now and down the road will help you stay on track and keep your company aware and accountable to all customer perspectives.

Surveys

Developing a survey, or poll, to share online with your social media followers is an easy way to collect data and obtain feedback. SurveyMonkey is free and easy to use and share on social media. Keep it quick and easy, and if you can offer a reward for completion, your customers will be more likely to follow-through and give you the goods on where there’s room for improvement. They may even spark an idea of how to further develop what’s working; if your tour company does a great job of showcasing your unique local landscape according to feedback, focus your next marketing campaign, newsletter or blog on this topic for relatable content that your potential customers may be seeking.

HotJar or Onpage Analytics

Google Analytics can show you the most popular pages on your website, but what about your product/pricing/shipping details placement, or your calls-to-action? What are users clicking on, and why? What aren’t they clicking? Getting this level of detail on your website can come from a few resources. The easiest is Onpage Analytics via Google Analytics. While this only shows the percentage of clicks throughout the site it can still highlight issues like lost content below the fold, or buttons that aren’t attracting clicks. Hotjar takes it a step further with a highly detailed analysis of what and where users are interacting throughout the site. Maybe your users are clicking an area on the product preview that highlights an issue for obtaining full product details, or perhaps one product is far more popular than others based on clicks, which could be featured on the home page–there’s a ton of ways to analyze your website and tweak it to suit the needs of your users.

Google Keyword Trends

Another creative way to determine the interests of your audience or to explore new audiences and behaviours is to utilize the free online Google Trends tool. Search filters include: country, term, topic, date range, type of search (news, images, etc) with an easy-to-use and understand dashboard interface. Compare trends in keywords and look at the trends by region or related queries section for ideas to explore new content, service areas, or offerings in your industry.

Competitor Studies

Often times one of the best ways to gather intel is to look at what your competitors are doing. Check out their website, and analyze their website structure, pages, content, calls-to-action, and other areas that you may have overlooked on your own site. inspect their page elements for keywords you may have overlooked. You don’t need to copy them, but you can explore ways to present similar information in your own unique way. Their call-to-action might inspire your own blog topic, or a page of content focused on a sub-service, or region may be something you can offer for your own secondary audience members or geographical locations.

Focus Group Testing

Similar to the points above, actual human website testing with a select group of target audience members can be another way to analyze user behaviour on your website. At Alpha Strategy, we implement data testing and tracking that offer a wealth of opportunities to tweak your functionality and meet the needs of existing and new customers.

Talk to Your Sales & Service Teams

Create a safe space environment to get real with your sales team, and learn about their concerns, ideas, feedback from potential clients in an informal brainstorming session. Track all the information in a spreadsheet, from potential lead generators to negative responses and positive feedback. Analyze, and develop new sales strategies that can target and resolve issues while supporting what’s worked. Ask the team to follow up with a recap of the meeting in terms of their takeaways, and see how you can work together to develop a better sales funnel for future clients.

Feedback Forms

Similar to social media surveys, feedback forms can be applied directly to your website. Whether you ask for feedback at an abandoned cart or an order confirmation page, live chat support, or offer a dedicated feedback form on your website, there’s a multitude of small unobtrusive actions you can ask your visitors to take to help you gain important insight into the “why” behind their actions. Applying this data to your website’s information architecture, navigation, and functionality can make for a better-streamlined process and expected behaviour triggers for visitors to smoothly transition into paying and happy customers.

Let us know if you need help applying any of these digital marketing tools and techniques. We do this on the daily, and we’re always happy to help companies make the most of their digital marketing initiatives.

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