All that monitoring, tracking, measuring and analysis worked! But now that you have it, what do you do with all that information? This is the key moment where you determine how to act on the knowledge you’ve received.

Shift your social strategy

Is your strategy working? Are you truly getting traction on your primary social channels? You may discover that it’s time to re-evaluate the resources and effort you put into certain channels. For example, maybe you discover that your people are super-engaged in Quora – a user-powered question-and-answer website.

If that’s the case, then devoting more time and resources on Quora would be worth pursuing, even if it’s at the expense of another social channel.

Results from monitoring your competitors on social media could also yield some interesting insights as well. You may find that a new video strategy has people in your area or industry buzzing about a close competitor. Why let them go unchallenged?  Emulating the social media successes of your competitors can pay big dividends for your business.

Work on developing relationships with leads and influencers

If you can jump into conversations and authentically solve problems for people, do it! This tactic can be especially relevant when it comes to people’s frustrations with your competitor’s products or services.

When you do this, it’s essential that you come from a really genuine place and offer tips or advice geared around helping people. People don’t want to be spammed, and sensitive topics like plastic surgery should be off-limits.

However, in many industries you should feel free to have real conversations with people around the topics they care about (which also happen to be topics YOU care about as a business owner!).

Spotting and reaching out to influencers in your industry can have an amazing amplification effect for your brand as well. People look to influencers to help them make purchasing decisions all the time, and if you can develop strong relationships with key influencers, you can expect better results for much less work.

Develop new products and/or services

Listening to the needs of your target audience is a smart way to refine your solutions and develop new ones. If enough people are saying they hate a product or wish they could tweak it, it’s probably worth looking into what the issue is and try to determine what could make that product better.

On the flip side, if your customers LOVE one of your products, there may be an opportunity to develop similar or complementary products or services.

You can then turn around and apply all this awesome feedback as testimonials for new campaigns. Think ad campaigns, email campaigns, social campaigns and beyond!

Update your customer service policy/process

Social media has led to a major shift in how customer service is carried out by many companies. People want instant answers, and they’re less likely to put up with call centers. Many won’t even pick up the phone when they have a problem – they’ll just tweet about it!

According to a recent study, 54% of customers prefer customer service via social media and SMS. The upcoming generation of Millennials will only amplify this trend.

People are sticking to their favorite social media platforms to air out their complaints, and you need to know if this is happening in your industry (and be ready for it).

In Jay Baer’s book, Hug Your Haters, author and consultant Dave Kerpen notes that:

“If a customer calls you on the phone to complain, surely you wouldn’t hang up on them. And not responding in social media is akin to hanging up on them, only worse, because there are actually other people watching and listening.”

Letting complains hang out there unanswered is not acceptable to current and potential customers, and it shouldn’t be to you!

Ready to try some strategies to deploy that social media monitoring data? To help you get started, here are a few easy action items:

  • What are three goals that monitoring your social channels will help you achieve? (Example: Find out if people are liking the new kombucha flavor.)
  • Sign up for a free social media monitoring tool or take one of the paid tools on a free two-week spin. Poke around and see what value you can get out of the tools.
  • Enter a few of your brand’s keywords and see what data the tools come up with.
  • Look through the initial results. Make a list of three things you learned, how they impact your business, and any potential strategy changes.

Most businesses are aware that they should monitor social media for mentions related to their brand, products, services, competitors, and industry. You might actually be doing so already.

The next step is to put a plan in place to analyze, respond to, and integrate results into your business’s ongoing strategy. If you don’t, you might be missing some golden opportunities!

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