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Why do you need social media listening to understand customers?

Clients speak with me all the time about all the things that they do to understand customers. They use focus groups, surveys, Net Promoter Score, brand trackers, and probably the Long Island Medium. But no matter what you do, you still need to use social media listening. Why?

Because it answers questions that you don’t ask.

Here’s an example I heard recently. A customer was complaining on Twitter that she always buys the same brand of fancy shampoo and conditioner, but when she is in the shower without her glasses, she can’t tell the shampoo from the conditioner, because the writing on the label is too small.

Now, when would you ever ask anyone that question?

You can’t find something like this out unless you follow your customer into the shower. (What you do on your own time is up to you, but I think following someone into the shower as a survey method is unprofessional.)

Some people still believe that social data is not accurate enough to use for market research, but it actually can be if you work with the right company. [Full disclosure: I am a senior strategist for Converseon, so you can guess who I think the right company is.] With a high enough level of accuracy, you can not only pick out single tweets like this one for insights, but you can use sentiment analysis to find high-volume complaints that let you really get an earful from your customer–all without consulting the Long Island Medium.

What are you waiting for?

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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