Humanizing your brand’s experience can increase its influence

We live in an age of intense online interaction, but low interpersonal connection. Even in casual settings we now see that people don’t chit-chat as much as before. And it’s hard to understand why, because human beings are social animals who crave connection. According to research, people with strong social ties are generally happier and live longer.

The same applies to interactions on the web. True online connection is limited at best. While most e-commerce sites offer phone and chat support, these are usually handled by entry-level employees who are untrained in sales tactics, and may even lack empathy.

If your e-commerce website is simply meeting basic requirements, it isn’t doing enough. Fortunately, many third-party tools are now available in the market that meet the most basic requirements right out of the box.

Today, we will focus on ways you can humanize your e-commerce brand and how it can have a major impact on the way customers perceive your business. Here’s how some of the top businesses have created a brand persona that’s more than just a storefront that sells.

Get some human feedback

First things first, let’s get down to some research. The most effective customer research I found – in terms of both time and money invested – was speaking with customer service agents.

Talking to experienced customer agents will likely give you a clear understanding of customer challenges and expectations. These agents speak to thousands of customers, and their knowledge can be turned into pure conversion gold.

All you need to do is speak with 3-5 agents with six months or more of experience. A few hours is all you need to know 90% of what these agents require. This information should be enough to help you with the early ‘humanization phase’ of your website.

The insights you’ll gather from the experience, and the resultant website updates are sure to boost your baseline conversion rate.

Provide the human touch

Your primary goal should be to befriend your visitors and customers. It’s an idea that’s been around for years but remains minimal in practice. There’s magic in humanized marketing, and you can see it working when it compels a customer to visit a website.

How to differentiate between propaganda and humanized marketing?

Here’s an example of two emails I received from an e-commerce giant;

a) Propaganda – how email marketing doesn’t work

Now, I had expressed zero interest in furniture online, which made this a blanket propaganda email around President’s Day promotions. It is an example of poor email marketing. No connection was made, and I sent the email straight to my trash.

b) Tailored marketing – humanized approach:

Now, this is what you call marketing with a human touch. For an e-commerce website, this is as close to ‘a friend’ as it gets.

I received this email as I was searching for deals on new computers. I eventually ended up buying HP, but Amazon was able to make a connection with me. And that’s the important part. Here’s what I feel the website is saying to me, ‘Hey Manam, I know you were looking for Dell laptops. So here are some deals. Maybe you’d like something.’

c) Build lasting relationships

A few months ago, I ordered a few dresses from a local Pakistani brand called Lulusar. Three days after the delivery date I was still waiting. I opened up the website’s live chat and complained. I got an immediate response from a representative who gave me a quick and updated delivery date and solved my problem in less than 3 minutes. I wrote a positive review.

Less than five days after receiving the parcel, I received a handwritten ‘Thank you’ note from none other than the representative who had solved my issue. Lulusar could have processed their order and made money. I was already a customer. But their follow-ups and approach to customer satisfaction have me poised to become a long-term customer. Therefore, quality, service and a bit of caring are the top qualities I look for in a brand.


Make every customer experience count

Customers and visitors have very little patience when it comes to bad online experiences. Consider these statistics;

  • One poor experience is all it takes for 60% of customers to be less loyal to a brand.
  • 80% of website visitors will inform others about a poor website/ app experience.
  • In fact, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key quality differentiator by 2020.
  • On average, a typical business hears from merely 4% of its dissatisfied customer base, while 96% of customers don’t voice complaints and 91% will never return.

  • And finally, its good to remember that any business that deals with people is in the ‘people’ business.

It all comes down to one thing; every interaction you have with a customer matters. The key takeaway here is to outperform in the area of customer satisfaction.

‘Always deliver more than expected.’ – Larry Page.

Therefore, if you’re in the e-commerce business, become obsessed with customer experience.

Continuous Communication

What happens most often is that communication between the brand and the customer plummets as soon as a purchase is complete. When to engage a customer in a journey and how often is a science. Businesses that create lasting relationships with clients successfully are engaged in continuous communication and nurturing.

In fact, according to these statistics, it takes 5 times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. So the focus of your business should be to reach out to customers post-purchase and keep the conversation going. It is also true that 65% of a company’s business comes from its existing customer base. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while that of a new customer is just 5-20%.

The critical question here is; how do you want your customers to remember your brand? It is extremely important to really curate an experience that’s truly representative of your brand.

What you want to do is provide an experience that evokes an emotional response. Outperform your competition, deliver your product faster, and provide a uniquely enthralling experience. That’s how you’ll begin to humanize your brand’s experience.

Content marketing for small business owners: Here’s how to make it work

The past decade or so has witnessed the meteoric rise of content marketing. Google has exerted a lot of pressure and emphasized the importance of creating high-quality content. It has released the Panda Algorithm Update and a couple of others to ensure websites are complying with content creation guidelines. Naturally, creating quality content has become a way to attract qualified leads, and an increasing number of marketers are drawn towards it.

However, if you’re new to content marketing, it may seem a little intimidating at first; particularly when your competitors have been practicing it for years. So what’s the first step?

Does content marketing really work for small businesses?

It’s a question that many small business owners ask. We frequently hear about multi-million dollar companies pushing out a lot of great content, and their work is often cited as examples of how to do content marketing right.

But bigger brands have deeper pockets and the resources to create a lot of great content. The question is, can you, as a small business owner, add ROI by using content marketing?

Yes, absolutely. And you don’t even need a lot of money to do it.

You may not know this, but 70% of customers like to learn about a company through an article, instead of an advertisement. Customers are actively searching for such content. The good news is that content marketing has become so profitable that 73% of brands outsource someone to manage their content strategy.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, over 89% of businesses use content marketing to grow their business and outreach.


The value of content marketing is being felt across the board, and both small and large organizations are utilizing it. In fact, it is particularly essential for small businesses with stringent budgets that can’t afford to spend hefty amounts on advertisements or other marketing tactics.

But if you’re a beginner, you must be thinking…

What is content marketing?

In simple terms, the purpose of content marketing is to spread the word about your business and establish you as an expert in your industry. It incorporates several avenues of marketing to create a unified voice for your brand, including email, social and SEO. All of these elements work together to create a cohesive plan.

A well-planned content marketing strategy acts as a lead magnet, results in better sales and a bigger return on investment than most other marketing techniques. In other words, content marketing is a long-term strategy that uses various types of content to help you build stronger relationships with your customers.

In this listicle, Convince and Convert shared 105 different ways you can present content to your customers.

Another reason why content marketing is an effective marketing tool is that traditional online advertising isn’t cutting it anymore. According to a research, 200 million people used ad blockers on their browsers in 2015. Today, more than 615 million devices are using ad blockers. But while users don’t want to look at advertisements, they need content.

In fact, most people are searching for one thing or another – which leads them to various businesses that are providing helpful information. But to better understand content marketing, you also need to know…

What isn’t content marketing?

Many people think content marketing is also SEO and link building. It couldn’t be further from the truth. True, great content will help with both of these areas. But when you create content with a focus on SEO or link building, you are setting yourself up for failure. Creating excellent content that serves your audience is the real key to this game.

Your focus should be to create original and shareable content. It’s important that your business treat SEO and link building as separate from content marketing. The real purpose of your content should be to entertain, educate and inform readers.

If your content is a 1000-word sales copy of your latest Mothers’ Day Sale, then you’re alienating your customers. In other words, content marketing has to be used to build a lasting relationship with your audience.

Why is content marketing so effective?

Content marketing builds a narrative and tells a story your target audience can relate with. It helps you build a  reputation as an expert. It is, therefore, an effective way to grow your brand. A strong reputation encourages potential customers to put their trust in you. And this is how brands influence buying decisions.

Publishing high-quality content that addresses the specific needs of your target audience is the best way forward. This way, you become a trusted authority in your industry, and they can turn to your site for answers.

Here are some eye-popping statistics on content marketing;

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional advertising. – Demand Metric.
  • It generates 3X more leads than other marketing methods.
  • Businesses that use content marketing have 6X higher conversion rate. – Aberdeen.
  • According to Dragon Search Marketing, 61% of consumers are influenced by custom content.
  • 69% of marketers think that content is far superior to direct mail and PR. – Custom Content Council.

Every business wants more leads and customers. The question is not where to find them. They’re everywhere. The real question is; how to create content that inspires them to take action? Here’s how to get started;

1) Create a content strategy

Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Benchmark, Budgets and Trends Report claims that lack of strategy is one of the biggest reasons content marketing initiatives fail. What’s more, merely 37% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

Without a strategy in place, you’re shooting in the dark and hoping an arrow would hit its mark. When outlining a content strategy, you first need to identify your goals. Then, you have to check if your current content is producing the results you require.

Here’s how you can start;

a) Define your content marketing objectives

It is not enough to create content. It is equally, or probably more important to understand what business purpose are you trying to achieve. Before working on your content, outline and define your goals clearly. Clarity is of the utmost importance when it comes to creating top of the line content that converts.

But how do you define content marketing objectives that align with your overall business goals?

b) Know your target audience

Understanding your target audience is key to a killer content strategy as a small business. Here’s how you can learn more about your target audience before moving on to the next step.

  • Focus on your best customer first

You’ll see minimal or zero results if your content marketing is not focused in the right direction. This is why it makes sense to choose one customer segment and focus on it. That means creating a content strategy that is tailored to this customer segment before moving on to the next.

  • Understand what your customers truly care about

One of the biggest advantages of using content marketing is that it enables you to understand a customer’s unique journey towards a purchase decision. When you create content, you have to learn about their situation or what they stand for.

Take a step further and try to understand what your customers care most about. This includes their pain points, challenges, frustrations, and motivations. You can do so by creating buyer personas and analyzing their buyer journeys.

  • Focus on small conversion goals

All your content marketing efforts come down to zero if you don’t know what actions you want your customers to take after reading your content. Here’s what a conversion funnel typically looks like;


The real purpose of your content marketing is to convert as many of your prospects into customers as possible. This is why your content strategy must have small conversion goals.

2) Streamline your content marketing

Streamlining your content marketing process is an essential first step when it comes to increasing your outreach and regularly creating content that inspires and educates your audience. A properly thought-out plan can increase your content’s effectiveness and your team’s efficiency in producing high-quality content.

a) Grow a knowledge bank

Growing a knowledge bank is the real key to the success of your company’s content marketing strategy. It’s where you store and organize all data and research you’ve gathered from your team and your ongoing research efforts.

You can benefit from this technique whether you’re running an organization with multiple employees or producing your own content. Every day, a person is inundated with 174 newspapers’ worth of information. Is there a better way to leverage this info than by building a knowledge bank?

Creating a knowledge bank will feel like a challenge initially, but with a knowledge management template like this one, the process can become so much easier. You can also use an app like Evernote to save quotes, entire articles, and other information so ideation and writing can become easier.

b) Keep track of client queries

This is a big one. Depending on the size of your company, your sales team may be answering hundreds of client queries per day. If you analyze, you’ll come across some repetitive questions and discern pain points that you can address via content. Solving these customer problems will not only help you educate, inform and entertain your customers but also increase your customers’ trust, helping you nurture leads and position your company as a viable solution.

c) Revitalize old content

Revitalizing old content keeps it fresh and relevant to your audience. It could mean turning a series of blog posts into an ebook or taking key points from a webinar to create an easy-to-consume infographic.

Dig into your old content and extract items you can improve for your audience. It could mean one of two things; you can either revamp the content or repurpose it for a different segment of the audience.

d) Additional tips
  • Have clearly defined roles for each member of your team. If you’re a one-person team, dedicate a few hours each week to content production and distribution across various platforms.
  • Plan an editorial calendar, so your content creation efforts are on track and in alignment with your goals.
  • More content is not necessarily better. In addition to writing new content, make sure to repurpose old content to make the most of your time.

3) Analyze your progress

The next step is to measure how your target audience is reacting to your content. This way, you’ll be able to create more of what they enjoy and less of what they don’t. But it’s not always so easy. Many marketers still rely on assumptions to drive their content strategy.

It is also important to state here that some level of trial and error is essential when implementing any marketing tactic. Unfortunately, resorting to biased, faulty data can blind you to what readers really want, while also draining your time and resources.

The following 5 metrics will help you analyze how well your content marketing strategy is performing;

Social: The number of social shares is one indicator of how well your content is performing and how much it’s helping your target audience.

Traffic: An effective content marketing strategy attracts traffic. To see how well each post is performing, you need to analyze the number of visitors it is attracting per day, week and month. This way you’ll understand how quickly your audience is growing and what needs to be improved.

Conversion: You should always be working towards improving your content’s performance to increase conversion rates and engagement levels. The number of visitors that took a tangible action on your site; such as signing up for your newsletter or webinar, gaining access to gated content or purchasing from your site indicate conversion.

Leads: By tracking leads as they move through the conversion funnel, you are in a better position to provide more tailored content to your visitors. A standard practice is to start with lightweight, educational articles for those at the top of the funnel and then create more detailed blogs and webinars for more qualified leads to move them deeper into the conversion funnel.

You can use several tools to analyze your content’s performance. For example; Buffer can be used as a paid tool to carefully analyze how each of your social media posts is performing. With its free version, you can manage up to 3 social media accounts.

Your social media pages offer free insights too. Twitter Analytics is free, and on Facebook’s Business Page you can also get detailed information about post reach.


MailChimp is yet another marketing automation software that offers everything from A/B Testing tools, to detailed reports, email templates, and more to optimize your lead capture.

Analyzing your content marketing efforts allow you to identify how well you are performing in terms of growing your brand. Other key metrics include collecting valuable customer information from your website such as visitors’ onsite behavior, navigational and exit paths, referrer sources, etc.

Did any of the tips mentioned above help? Let us know in the comments below!

How to write copy that converts

Copywriters are some of the highest paid writers in the world. But like anything lucrative, the skill requires a lot of practice and hard work.

In fact, web copywriting may be one of the most deceptively difficult things to do. After all, anybody could string words together, flesh out a landing page and add a call-to-action. But not every copy leaves an impact on the reader or converts.

Before we move on to discuss all the elements that make a copy effective, let me tell you this; the single most powerful copywriting tip I’ve utilized in my work is simplicity.

Leonardo da Vinci said, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’ This advice from the 16th century still rings true today. In copywriting, simplicity is everything. In other words, simple sells.

Here are a couple of other attributes that your copy should have to increase conversions;

Evoke an emotional response

A compelling copy triggers an emotional response in your audience. This is the kind of copy you want to create. It is also that copy which garners attention, engagement, and sales. Your copy should make her laugh. Make her fearful of losing out. Make her wince. Make her want something.

People are emotional creatures. Buying decisions are rarely made rationally. Triggering an emotion is the only way to incite action. How many people do you know who take logical buying decisions, instead of following their heart?

Pain and pleasure are the two main drivers of action. Much like the carrot and stick phenomenon, pain and pleasure are equally applicable to humans. The best copywriters know that emotions sell. And they use this knowledge to draw out emotions when crafting a TV script, a landing page, an article or anything else.

Take a look at Ann Handley’s email subscription CTA;

It’s easy to get a little too self-promotional when it comes to building your own personal brand. Despite having accomplished a great many things, Ann via her microcopy, shows that she doesn’t take herself too seriously.

Kill your darlings

‘Kill your darlings’ is a term coined by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. It forms one of the most basic tenets of good copywriting; keeping it simple.

Even if you’re writing technical articles, avoid industry jargon and fluff. Using fancy language does nothing but confuse or alienate readers. Refrain from showing your poetic side. Keep it simple and straightforward.

Limit your use of adjectives and rid your copy of adverbs. They make your message clogged and dull. To keep your copy sharp, follow these quick tips from George Orwell;

  • Use a word instead of a phrase
  • A phrase instead of a sentence
  • A sentence instead of a paragraph
  • A para instead of a page

‘If you can’t explain it to a 6-year old, you don’t understand it yourself.’ – Albert Einstein. A copy that’s simple is also so much more effective.

But I think the concept of simplicity was best explained by Jony Ive, Steve Job’s soulmate in simplicity.

“Why do we assume that simple is good?

Because…simplicity isn’t just a visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. It involves digging through the depth of the complexity.

To be truly simple, you have to go really deep”. – Jony Ive [excerpts from Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson]

Study your competitor’s copy

You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Sometimes for creativity, all you have to do is study your competitor’s copy. You can borrow their ideas but in a way that you make them their own.

You’ll have a hard time writing copy that sells if you’re a perfectionist and constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. Let your competitor’s copy inform and inspire your work.

Just take a look at this refreshing copy by urbandaddy. They’ve mastered the art of getting me to open emails from them. This particular one was titled ‘fun.’

There are a couple of things that caught my eye in this email.

First of all, there’s no long introduction. The writer got straight to the point – a very wise decision lest the reader gets annoyed about reading so much about something as common as a rubber band gun.

Secondly, notice the purposeful sentence structure. The writer forgoes conventional grammar and uses a plethora of run-on sentences and traditional product promotion copy.

Keep reading, and you’ll notice a conversational tone that mocks the silliness of the product but also loops the reader in for something interesting and fun.

So if you didn’t know how to start your copy, reading this would give you some interesting ideas. For example, you could use the same tone to talk about your product. Or share an inspiring, interesting or alarming story that relates to your experience and then highlight the solution your product or service offers.

You can also use storytelling as part of your product/ service copy as stories have a huge impact on the brain.


The best thing about urbandaddy is that they maintain their tone in every copy they publish. Here’s a screenshot of their editorial;

Read widely

Read often and widely. It is the ultimate building block for writing that is worth reading. Understandably, in this noisy world, people are giving up on reading.

But you’ll notice that if you want to write a blog, reading other articles, blogs, listening to podcasts and watching training videos will actually get you fired up to write superbly.

On the other hand, not reading will kill the impulse to write.

Reading is so good in fact that it improves your health in several different ways;


In his essay, Dan Kurland explains,

“Reading is primary. One can write only as good as one reads.”

In the same way, if you’re struggling to write persuasive copy, get your hands on a good book and read intensely. I would also suggest that you take notes as you go along so you’ll have an easier time remembering information and working on your persuasive copy ideas when the time comes.

Reading books helped me become a blogger and writer. To get you started in the right direction, here are 17 books every copywriter must read.

Notice the language you’re using

Use language that is simple and direct. Be conversational. Write in a way that your audience understands you and knows that you understand them. We see this idea expressed again and again by some of the best in business.

In fact, most of the communication errors we make on paper happen because we use complicated language. And unlike most writing, when we talk, we flow. So combat complexity with ‘conversation’.

If you’re new to writing copy, take an editor’s help. Ask her to read your copy aloud in front of you. Notice anything that doesn’t sound like what a real person would say to another.

Another trick is to give yourself some time between writing a copy and reviewing it so you have fresh eyes and ears that would pick out the gaps.

Focus on one goal

Everybody wants their copy to close. But unless you have a singular goal, it won’t. In marketing terms, it means sticking to the CTA (Call-to-Action).

For this purpose, the copy needs to be very simple and specific. Also, you have to put something in the copy that inspires users to take action such as a discount coupon.

Most marketers, when they think about CTA, they think design. While the color and design of the button are of the utmost importance, it’s the copy of your calls to action that gets them clicking.

Dan Kennedy sums it very well;

“There are, of course, many ways I cast nets to find clients. Books, teleseminars, webinars, newsletters … all are done ultimately with the intention of gently inviting people to inquire about my services.

Yet each has a different strategic purpose.

That’s a key point. You have to know your purpose for each piece, each item, each event. You have to know what your purpose is for being there. For being anywhere.”

Answer relevant questions to make your copy persuasive

One of the best ways to write copy that’s persuasive and effective is to strive to answer your audience’s most pressing questions. For this, you need to know your customers’ pain points. Or what’s keeping them awake at night?

Let’s suppose if you’re writing content for – you should visit their FAQ section first.

With the help of these frequently asked questions, you can start preparing a persuasive essay or blog post. You can also use Quora to find what potential customers are searching for.

For example, if you’re looking for questions related to content marketing, you can go to Quora and search for this term.

If you still need more questions, you can dig deeper by asking your email subscribers, social media followers, and customers what they’re struggling with. Their answers will give you some deep insights and help you write a persuasive copy that sells.

These tips should help you get started in the right direction. Were they helpful? Let us know in the comments below.

5 ways social listening can help you grow a following

According to these statistics by Statista, approximately 2.62 billion people now use social media daily. A lot of content is produced every day, including blogs, YouTube videos, photos and everything else.

This infographic by Smart Insights highlights the kind of activity that happens online in merely 60 seconds;

Some of these posts may be about your business – and a hell lot of them about your industry. But without social media listening, you may never see them.

Instead of just monitoring and replying to incoming questions and comments, social listening helps brands extract useful insights from online conversations. These key insights are then applied to enhance your marketing strategy, product development, and provide unparalleled services.

According to Brandwatch, 96% of the people that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ owned profiles. This is why companies must go beyond their own channels to listen to these conversations.

Why social listening?

Social listening will enable you to improve several different aspects of your business. These include content marketing, product creation and enhancement, business development, human resources and customer support.

Tracking comments and mentions is an effective engagement strategy. But the key is to analyze the context and larger trends surrounding those conversations. This way, you’ll be able to serve your customers better.

But the question brands often ask is; what social conversations should I listen to?

Let’s start with Twitter. A day’s worth of tweets would fill up a 10 million page book. Every day, over 25 billion social interactions take place on this social media platform alone. We are looking at a goldmine of consumer, industry and cultural insights.

The problem is that most companies can’t go through that kind of volume each day. Plus, looking at individual tweets may even make you lose sight of the bigger picture.

This is where social listening comes into the picture. So instead of focusing on each tweet, you look at a collection of social media messages to discern relevant trends and themes that can help you improve your product or service.

Social media listening vs. social media monitoring: What’s the difference?

Monitoring is the first step of the social listening process. But there are vast differences between social monitoring and listening. This expert’s explanation sums it up pretty well;

“Monitoring sees trees; listening sees the forest.”
Dan Neely, CEO of Networked Insights.

Monitoring includes gathering all your mentions such as likes, the volume of buzz, sentiments, shares, etc. But listening goes a step further to help you discern patterns so you can inculcate them in your strategy to drive results.

Here are the 5 ways social listening can help you connect with your audience and grow a loyal following;

1) Create content your audience would love

In most cases, content marketing is a one-sided conversation. A brand publishes a blog, readers leave a few comments, and that’s it. What’s more, it’s exhausting to come up with new blog post ideas every day.

Trial and error is the strategy that most businesses follow. They share a couple of different blog posts, photos, and videos to see what works. But there’s a more effective way to create impactful content. Use social listening to see what industry consumers are talking about and what they’d like to read.

Don’t be surprised if customers are complaining about your brand on forums. Unfortunately, most customers who have a problem with you won’t say it to your face.

Approximately 30% of tweets that mention a brand don’t include an official handle.

So the question is where do you even start with social listening?

Understandably, between social media, blogs, and Reddit – it all becomes too much to track. That’s why you need a top-notch social listening strategy [and tool] to help you get started.

This way, you can keep an eye on the general sentiment and be notified as soon as someone says anything positive or negative about your brand online. These tools will also help you stay on top of influencer conversations so you can hop in at the right time.

Here are the 4 tools to help you get started;



Mention is one of the best social listening tools out there in the market. It helps you with not one, but three distinct areas of social listening including social monitoring, analytics, and competitor espionage.

You can use a free trial before signing up for the paid version.

This remarkable tool can help you track social media conversations across various channels. Responding to customer queries and concerns on social media can pay off big time. Hootsuite allows you to track social media mentions in real time by putting all your social media feeds in one place.

As soon as you see an opportunity to interact with influencers or customers, you can use this tool to respond directly or assign a teammate to do so.


Tracking your brand and product mentions are only one part of the equation. Tracking and analyzing industry keywords is another. Let’s say you want to gain authority on a certain keyword.

Keyhole allows you to find when influencers are talking about a certain keyword. This way you can be in on the conversation when it’s relevant and interesting. Using this tool right can help you become a thought leader in on a subject.


Your customers are everywhere. And they’re not just talking about you on social media sites. ReviewTrackers covers over 85 review websites such as TripAdvisor, Foursquare, Heathgrades, Facebook reviews and others. The tool can help you spot emerging issues.

2) Solve problems and attract new customers

The health of your business depends on the number of customers it can acquire. Every business needs to know how to generate leads and convert them into returning customers. As a company grows, it becomes increasingly essential to tune into social listening. Every stage of growth can create a new set of problems that may obstruct a great customer experience.

The challenge is to differentiate between a one-off problem and recurring issues that can take a toll on brand health. Here’s an example;

In 2016, a Tesla owner sent a tweet complaining how the superchargers were always full because people left their cars charging for hours. Tesla founder Elon Musk was quick to respond;

Now take note of Musk’s response – especially the first line.

It shows that it clearly wasn’t the first time Tesla had noticed this problem. A quick Twitter search is enough to find that many Tesla customers were facing the same problem.

By listening to a combination of keywords, Tesla was able to see trends, conversations, the number of people tweeting about the issue, and where the conversations were happening in the world.

Just 6 days after Musk’s response, Tesla published this blog post.

If Tesla wasn’t tuned into social listening, they might have easily brushed it off as a one-off incident.

Here’s another example of a seemingly innocent tweet directed at ASOS that garnered immediate traction.  It gained 32 retweets and 771 likes in under 24 hours.

So when Desi couldn’t buy a coat on one website, her audience redirected her to another. It took ASOS just 12 minutes to respond to this customer’s message, but her audience responded faster and solved the problem before ASOS could.

While social listening and monitoring are two sides of the same coin, they work best together. In a survey by Pegasystems, customers reported that companies failing to listen to their needs was one of their top 3 customer service complaints.

Social listening doesn’t just let you eavesdrop on important conversations. It can also help you drive innovation. Asking your customers what they want may be an obvious choice, but it can still result in skewed responses, misinformation, and a potentially failed product.

Henry Ford famously said, “If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.” 

That’s because it’s often easier for people to want a better version of something that’s already in front of them than to imagine something that doesn’t exist.

With social listening, you don’t have to ask people what they want. Just listen in on the conversations and give them what they need.

3) Keep track of your competition

Social listening will also allow you to keep track of your competition and see what they’re up to. Social media listening is investigative. You’ll gain useful insights about how customers perceive your competitors and where they have an edge.

Find out why people are drawn towards your competition. It’ll help you tweak your own strategy and products.

You need to know the top words, adjectives, and phrases customers are using for your competitors. This tool called Simply Measured can help you do that.

Some elements that you should look out for include;

  • Which competitor products show up the most? Should your company be tapping into this target segment?
  • What descriptive words are used? Are they positive or negative?
  • Is your competition demonstrating thought leadership? Take a closer look to see what they’re doing right and how you can avoid the mistakes they made.

4) Use the power of influencers

Influencer marketing is an effective way for a brand to communicate with its audience. But looking for the right influencers in your industry is the key first step. Many people talk about a brand online, but not all of them can sway audience opinion.

So essentially, influencers are individuals who can influence others with what they say, share and recommend.

Did you know that people are 5X more likely to make a purchase when recommended by a social influencer?

A Google study also shows that fans are much more engaged by influencers than celebrities.

Here are the three tools to help you dig the right influencers;


Buzzsumo is one of the top tools to help you find influencers. With its influencers and outreach feature, you can find the best writers, bloggers, YouTubers, and publications in your field that are using the same keywords you are targeting.

Remember that influencers are not just people with thousands of followers. Instead, it is more efficient to look at the number of shares per article, the number of retweets, site domain authority, and page authority.


LinkedIn is built to help you grow your network. This naturally makes it a great tool to help you find influencers. Just type the keywords and phrases you’re looking for in the search box, and the social media platform will dig up some useful connects.


Twitter is another awesome tool to find influencers in your industry. Its advanced search options give you a lot of room to reach specific audiences or find people who are followed by niche crowds in your industry.

Here’s the Definitive Guide to Influencer Targeting by Kissmetrics.

To further refine your research, look out for these 3 elements in your candidates;

Relevance: If an influencer posts about your brand, will their followers find it credible or will it be out of context?

Reach: What kind of following does the influencer have? Influencers usually have a large following. Some influencers [known as micro influencers] have a smaller following and yet they are equally [if not more] effective.

Impact: How does an audience perceive an influencer? Are they thought to be authoritative and knowledgeable? Can they persuade their audience to take a decision?

5) Drive strategic product decisions

Creating products that customers love and marketing strategies that stick require in-depth research. Throw in social listening to get a good idea of how customers feel about your current and past products.

With social listening, you can answer questions such as;

What features customers liked and didn’t like?

Which products outsold others and why?

What new products do your customers need?

The book titled ‘Troublemaker’ by Leah Remini was hugely successful. The marketing team at Random House used social listening to help understand why. The insights would help them drive more readers and use the knowledge to have more successful launches.

Social listening revealed that beyond the controversial topic of Scientology, the book shared very personal stories about Leah. Her authenticity and honesty enticed readers.

Armed with this knowledge, the marketing team set up question and answer sessions and chats via Goodreads between Leah and her readers. This marketing strategy was a huge success because data showed that readers wanted to know more about her.

With social listening, Leah and her team were able to guide their marketing strategy and create a masterpiece that resonated with her audience.



Social media listening can benefit your business at so many different levels. Your sales team can gain valuable insights into what your customers really like about your product. Your marketing team can get brilliant ideas for content and other marketing materials. Your R&D team can understand what your customers like or dislike about your products and that of your competitors.

Using social listening can improve your business quality, customer satisfaction levels, products, and services. No matter what your business, people are what matter most in business. Understanding customer expectations and going beyond those is what ensures your business’s success.