According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 28.8 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for 99.7% of all businesses.
So, what do these statistics tell us?
The number of your rivals is rising at an astonishing pace, making today’s small business landscape extremely competitive.
So, to stay relevant, you need to invest more than blood, sweat, and tears. You need to understand your customers and do everything in your power to tailor your products and services to their needs.
Luckily, in the era of sophisticated IT solutions, understanding who your customers are and what their preferences are has never been simpler.
One of the most powerful ways to collect their feedback and understand what they think of your brand and products is to use social networks actively.
Here is how to do so.
Listen to your Customers’ Discussions
One of the simplest ways to understand what your target audience feels about you is to track your brand mentions. This way, you will be able to understand what resonates well with them and improve your customer services on time.
There are numerous social media monitoring tools like TweetDeck, Topsy, Social Mention, Buzzsumo, or Klout that will take your social listening to the next level. The way these tools work is pretty simple- they will notify you whenever someone mentions your name on social networks.
By tracking your brand mentions regularly, you can participate in your customers’ discussions, giving them real-time customer support and feedback. By helping them solve a particular problem (irrespective of whether they asked you for help), you will earn their trust and establish yourself as authoritative.
Another awesome way to take advantage of social listening is to analyze your competitors. This gives you an awesome opportunity to detect customers that are dissatisfied with your rivals’ products. Your goal is to check why they are unhappy and see whether you can give them something better. If you can, then provide these customers with insightful tips and offer your products as a replacement.
To give your business a boost, you could consider conducting a survey. For starters, you could create a Facebook poll on your business page. What’s great about it is that it is super easy to use and analyze.
Now, the only problem with this strategy is that people don’t understand how important this form of research is. Namely, most of them will answer questions out of boredom, not focusing on providing you with relevant and honest answers. Logically, relying on such information may be disastrous for your brand.
This is why the number of businesses investing in paid surveys is on a steady rise. The idea behind all this is pretty simple- you create a survey on one of numerous survey platforms, share it on your social profiles, and ask your target audience to fill it in. Like their mere name says, the point of all this is the incentive- your customers will get paid to take surveys.
Since completing these surveys on numerous platforms serves as a pretty simple way to earn some extra cash, your examinees will take it seriously. This is exactly what will inspire them to give you honest, unbiased, and straightforward answers.
Most importantly, once they complete it, your customers will want to share it online, making both your surveys and your brand more visible to other people.
Collect Product Feedback
When developing a new product or updating your existing one, you should ask your customers what they think of it. And, the most amazing part of this idea is the fact that, apart from your current customer base, you can also ask your prospects and niche influencers for their opinion of your product.
Here are some questions you may possibly ask them:
- Is the product user-friendly and easy to use?
- Is the product worth creating?
- Would you recommend it to your friends?
- What problems can you solve using our product?
- What are the features of the product you like/don’t like?
- What should be our next step in this development stage?
Keep in mind that people don’t like change and the chances are you will come across a lot of bad press first. Still, most of this unnecessary fuss will die down pretty fast, once they get used to the change. Just remember what happened when Facebook introduced its News Feed (RIP) for the first time.
The reason why collecting product feedback is valuable is that, sometimes, those people will point out to some serious user experience problems your team hasn’t noticed during the product testing process. This gives you an amazing opportunity to solve these problems on time, before the product reaches a wider audience.
In addition to social listening, this will help you take your product development to a whole new level.
Build Buyer Personas
Building personas is an immensely important aspect of your inbound marketing strategy. Now, instead of starting building your customer personas from scratch, you can use social networks to make this process simpler. Here are a few simple ideas you may want to implement:
- Create a business page on Facebook and use its Insights page. This tool helps you conduct a thorough analysis of your target audience. It offers you a plethora of information about those followers who visit your Facebook page or click on your ads, including their age, gender, location, and language. You can also see what customers are engaged with your content most. For example, you can track their likes, clicks, comments, and shares.
- Another sweet way to use social networks for building customer personas is Twitter Analytics for business. For example, if you hit the Followers button, you will be given a comprehensive analysis of your followers. Just like Facebook, Twitter provides you with the insights into their gender, age, language, and location.
- LinkedIn groups are extremely valuable when it comes to doing your content marketing research or networking. However, you can also use them to build your buyer personas. By monitoring groups relevant to your niche regularly, you can figure out what types of content social media marketers share most commonly. This way, you will know what resonates with your target audience and tailor your content strategy according to the results you get.
Over to You
When it comes to collecting customer feedback, social networks are the holy grail for businesses of all shapes and sizes. They help you learn more about your customers, discover how they feel about you and, see how effective different aspects of their business are.
By doing this form of research, you will be able to improve your products and customer services, meet their needs effectively and, above all, set realistic goals.
How do you collect customer feedback?
Emma is a digital marketer and blogger from Sydney. After getting a marketing degree she started working with Australian startups on business and marketing development. Emma writes for many relevant, industry related online publications and does a job of an Executive Editor at Bizzmark blog and a guest lecturer at Melbourne University. Interested in marketing, startups and latest business trends.