Marketers have long turned to social media to hear and respond to what people are saying, gauge sentiment, and inform and support their team’s marketing strategy. But the coronavirus pandemic has put fresh emphasis on the practice known as social listening.
“At a time when nearly every aspect of life has been altered by business closures, stay-at-home orders, social distancing and job losses—and when consumers are demanding that companies do more than pay lip service to issues of race and equality—it’s more critical than ever for businesses to listen to their consumers,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence.
According to research conducted by Gartner during a March 2020 webinar, 51% of marketing leaders worldwide turned to social listening platforms to keep up with consumers’ changing desires during the pandemic.
From Which Sources Are Marketing Leaders Worldwide Getting Rapid Information About Consumers During the Coronavirus Pandemic?, March 2020 (% of respondents, March 2020)
Many marketers have already been doing social listening in some form. But the depth of their interest and their willingness to act based on the data they obtain has grown during the pandemic. Here’s what some marketers we interviewed for our recent “Social Listening” report said:
“COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter have really awakened brands, especially our larger brands. They realize that when it comes to loyalty and new customer acquisition, carrying on a meaningful conversation is equally important as performance marketing.”—Jason Roussos, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Adlucent
“We’ve used social listening in the past two months to report all the way to top management, to our CEO. We are showcasing that we can provide meaningful insights faster than traditional insight campaigns or surveys would do.”—Simon de Beauregard, Engagement Director for Absolut, Malibu, Kahlúa and Smithworks labels, Pernod Ricard
“Social listening is the canary in the coal mine. It is where you’re going to first pick up on themes that you really do need to pay attention to.”—Mark Viden, Senior Vice President of Brand, CommonSpirit Health