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7 Ways B2B Brands Can Benefit from Social Listening

While it’s clear how social listening benefits large consumer brands, how does it translate to B2B companies that sell their services to other businesses?
Video thumbnail for Principal Social Analyst at BBC

There are many third-party review websites, like TrustPilot, G2, Capterra, TripAdvisor, Glassdoor, and even Reddit, that collect user feedback independently of the businesses featured.

Without monitoring those conversations, B2B brands miss key consumer intelligence that provides opportunities to build awareness, engagement, and trust throughout the (often) long buyer’s journey. 

Below, we’ve outlined the biggest use cases for social listening in the B2B space to show how companies can mine online networks for insights and to achieve their higher-level business objectives.

Based on Forrester’s 2023 B2B Brand And Communications Survey, 90% of B2B buyers rely on peer recommendations, and 85% trust user reviews from vendors in their industry.

1. Gaining market intelligence and deep consumer insights

Unless you’re in an industry that generates a lot of online chatter, like retail or entertainment, you can expect the volume of online conversation about your brand to be much lower. But fewer conversations don’t necessarily mean fewer valuable data points. In fact, it can be quite the opposite.

Online discussions with fewer mentions often tend to be more focused, with relevant posts being quicker to analyze. When gathering online mentions, do make sure you’ve checked all available data sources a social listening tool can track.

2. Generating prospects and driving sales

Most analytics tools recommend that companies begin by monitoring branded conversations. However, many B2B companies lack a strong online brand presence, and they rarely initiate discussions related to their brand with their online audience.

In our recent report, The State of Social, we revealed a noteworthy statistic that may raise concerns for brands. Did you know that across all industries, brand-owned accounts contribute just 1.51% to the overall brand-related conversation?

As an alternative, brands can monitor all relevant online discussions, including those about competitors, and keep an eye on the audience that matters most to them. They can contact these people and companies and attempt to nurture them into sales.

Tracking and proactively responding to online conversations from potential prospects is more meaningful than trying to surpass your competitors in ad spending as part of your customer acquisition plan

3. Handling your next issue (before it turns into a crisis)

With social listening, you can easily find when someone complains on social media.

Don’t shy away from criticism. By responding immediately and resolving the issue, your customers become even more loyal. If you’re unsure about how to address a customer complaint, you can split up mentions into categories and distribute them to different team members or relevant experts in the field.

When a crisis is looming for your company, there’s a good chance you will hear about it on the web first. That is, if you are listening for it.

During a five-hour outage, Slack users faced platform accessibility issues. Through social listening, Slack swiftly addressed consumer concerns, fostering positive sentiment amid trending discussions.

With social listening, Slack was able to understand why they were trending on social and address consumer concerns quickly and authentically, generating positive sentiment in conversations along the way. 

4. Identifying brand advocates and influencers in your space

One of the biggest benefits of monitoring social media is fostering strong connections with brand champions and those who are most influential in the industry. B2B companies can find company or industry critics, listen to what they are saying, and respond suitably. 

Creative agency Supernatural utilized social listening to gain valuable insights on consumer airplane behavior, aiding KAYAK's successful campaign to decode modern travel norms. 

Similarly, global nonprofit Potential Energy Coalition (PEC) tracked online climate change discussions, identifying influential audiences, particularly moms. This led to the launch of their Science Moms campaign, aiming to inspire change through influencer engagement.

5. Keeping tabs on the competition

Although branded conversations for B2B companies are generally lower than for B2C brands, you might be surprised to see the amount of chatter surrounding your competitors, including discussions about what they’re not doing.

Conducting online competitive analysis benefits B2B brands by gauging their share of voice, tracking performance changes, monitoring channel growth and media coverage, and gaining insights into customer perception and competitive advantages.

Media and creative agency Helen & Gertrude frequently utilize social listening to enhance client understanding of their competitive landscape. By monitoring competitors, the agency identifies overlooked announcements or launches, evaluates campaign performance, and provides clients with comprehensive insights into competitor campaigns, including numerical data and online response metrics.

6. Discovering and leveraging product feedback

Social media enables companies to swiftly gather non incentivized feedback crucial for staying agile, particularly beneficial for budget-constrained businesses. Understanding customer preferences allows for better satisfaction and meeting their needs effectively.

In our State of Social report, we showed that consumers often compare different streaming services online and complain about problems with buffering and freezing. Proactively monitoring brand and industry conversations enables B2B brands to uncover valuable feedback for product/service enhancement and improved customer satisfaction.

By leveraging social listening, Fetch Rewards gathered feedback on product features, enabling real-time improvements based on user insights. Monitoring online reactions to a new feature, such as connecting with friends in the app, allowed Fetch Rewards to analyze consumer perceptions instantly, leading to a more refined and user-friendly app experience.

7. Checking your brand health and establishing benchmarks

Social listening can help B2B brands establish benchmarks for themselves. Whether it’s comparing brands’ current and past performances or measuring against established industry metrics, benchmarks can help brands in their decision-making and strategic adjustments.

Here are just a few metrics brands should consider and benchmark against:

  • Share of voice
  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Emotion analysis
  • Brand associations
  • Price perception
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

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Ready to start leveraging social listening with Brandwatch? 🚀

Navigating the B2B business landscape can be complex, but social listening unveils untapped potential for brands seeking to understand their audience, competitors, position in the market, and the industry at large. 

Fill out the form to request your demo, and we'll be in touch very soon to book a time.

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