There are a variety of different ways to collect customer feedback, and surveys are usually the first method that comes to mind.
But that's not the only way to figure out what your customers are saying about your product -- in fact, you could be missing out on valuable customer feedback coming in through a different channel: social media.
Social media is a meaningful channel through which to collect valuable customer feedback. With billions of people around the world already engaged in these social media communities, you should create profiles and provide customer support from your brand for those valuable customers who want an easier, faster way to get in touch with you than by hopping on a phone call.
What's more, it's important to know what customers are saying about your brand on social media -- because when millions of potential new customers can see tweets and Facebook posts blasting you for a bad phone call or a cumbersome subscription cancellation policy, word can spread fast -- and not in a good way.
So keep reading below to learn about the many ways you can use social media customer feedback to improve customer service and provide valuable insight to your entire organization -- and learn more about our new multi-channel Conversations tool that connects your social media accounts into an all-in-one shared inbox.
How to Use Social Media Customer Feedback
1. Social listening
Monitor mentions of your brand and your competitors. By engaging in social listening to see when your brand name is discussed on social media, you can give instant customer support and feedback to people having issues with your product or service, regardless of whether they contacted you for help.
And by monitoring competitive mentions, you can also capitalize on customers who are unhappy with other brands in your industry. Learn why they're dissatisfied, and see if you can provide a better solution for them. At the very least, you can learn how to differentiate yourself from competitors; in the best circumstances, you can nurture them as a lead and turn them into your new favorite customer.
2. Collecting Product Feedback
When rolling out a new product or making changes to features of your existing product, it's common to experience backlash among your current customer base. Just look at, well, every new feature Facebook rolls out. While much of the hoopla dies down pretty quickly after customers adjust to the change, sometimes there are legitimate user experience and design issues that your team didn't identify during development.
Leverage your network before launching products to solicit the feedback of people you trust. The great thing about social media is that your network probably consists of not only current customers, but also prospects, target customers, and industry influencers. Getting a wide range of feedback on new products and features -- whether they are easy to use, whether they are worth developing in the first place, or what should be next in your development queue -- helps keep your ear to the ground and get the all-important community buy-in for greater adoption rates at launch time.
3. Hosting a Focus Group
Effective focus groups have segmented audiences, and many social networks have advanced in such a way that there is sufficient functionality to perform your own R&D. For example, you could use Google+ circles to segment people by industry or location to better target your questions. Or consider hosting a Facebook Live Q&A session to delve deeper into a user-generated suggestion.
Because focus groups require feedback from an audience that fits specific criteria, they make their participants feel inherently special. They're fantastic ways to get people actively involved in the success of your brand -- while simultaneously soliciting quick feedback that helps you advances your business objectives.
4. Conducting Surveys and Polls
Ask people in your social network to share their opinions on a critical issue through a survey or poll. Or, it doesn't need to be a critical issue -- it can be a lighter question that helps give you context about your customers' preferences and opinions. For example, here's a poll we recently shared on Twitter to get an idea of how customers and fans were using a new social media feature:
Quick poll! How many Facebook Stories are currently shared at the top of your page?— HubSpot (@HubSpot) April 11, 2017
It's a unique and engaging way to ask for customer feedback that's different from an emailed or texted survey, and it's a good conversation to start with our audience. But what's more, the results are a good indicator for our product team that we might not need to create a tool with which to publish Facebook Stories anytime soon.
Reading audience and customer responses to polls and surveys on social media -- whether it's your survey or a competitor, the results will tell you about what your audience is doing, what they care about, and how you can meet their needs.
5. Asking Industry Experts
One of the reasons you're using social media is to expand and strengthen your network, so take advantage of your reach to get answers from the best of the best. Need to know how to set up a PPC campaign? Skip Google, and ask someone in your network to introduce you to the best PPC campaign manager in town.
Not only are you getting helpful advice, but you're also meeting someone new and influential and strengthening your relationship with your mutual contact.
6. Sourcing Blog Content
Suffering from writer's block? Visit your social network to source blog content! I did this recently when I asked connections in my network to share their best blogging strategies. Their responses helped me frame the post around real-life challenges (some people even provided their solutions to those challenges, making my job even easier) and the result was content that more directly addresses the actual problems people are facing.
This method can also be used to develop topic ideas when you're struggling to come up with a meaningful post. Go to your networks, and ask what kind of content your fans and followers would like to see on your blog, and you'll have a topic (or several) that you know will resonate with your audience.
7. Sourcing Social Content
Along the same lines as sourcing blog content, feedback from your customers and your broader social audience will help you identify what types of content perform best -- and worst -- on your social profiles.
Although feedback can be tougher on social media than it might otherwise be in an email or phone call, sometimes the bluntness can be valuable and give you instantaneous feedback on the gut reaction of your audience.
8. Developing Personas
Developing personas is a crucial part of a successful inbound marketing strategy, and it's important information for customer success managers to relay to the product team, too. Instead of starting from scratch, ask members of your social media communities questions that will help you narrow down your target audience, identify personas, and hone your customer success strategy. Ask about pain points, demographic information, what they find valuable in your products and services, and even what they like to do on the weekends to paint a better, more relatable picture for your sales, marketing, and product teams.
If you've already developed personas but would like to refine them as questions about your target audience's characteristics arise, ask for responses from fans and followers that meet specific criteria. For example, you might post to your Facebook wall "If you're a female office administrator out of college in the last five years, we're curious to know what you majored in as an undergraduate." As with the focus groups, your network will feel special if they fall into that very small niche and get excited about providing you information. After all, who doesn't like to talk about themselves?
To learn more, read about the steps to take when you receive customer feedback next.