Why Social Listening Should Be Part of Your E-Commerce Brand’s Social Strategy

May 23, 2022
by Jeff Pearlman

Social media is the only advertising space that provides e-commerce brands with the opportunity to engage in one-to-one conversations, in real time, with consumers during every stage of their purchasing journey. This, in part, is what makes social media one of the most powerful marketing tools for brands… and their customers. Social listening transforms that tool into a superpower.

Social listening refers to an e-commerce brand’s ability to identify engagement opportunities not just around its own brand specifically, but around the industry as a whole. It’s an action not often spoken about, but one that has 62% of marketers believing that it’s the best social media management (SMM) tactic. And, with the ability to amplify an e-commerce brand’s community management capabilities by allowing the brand to identify Zero Moments of Truth (ZMOT) where the brand would otherwise be blind to such opportunities, it’s easy to see why.

ZMOT refers to the moment when a potential customer begins the research phase of a purchase. This opens up the opportunity for the brand to insert its voice into conversations it otherwise wouldn’t even know existed. For example, creating a search for people who are currently talking about buying an e-bike AND that does not mention your e-commerce brand. This provides your brand with an opportunity to engage with that user, doing so in a manner relevant to the user’s position in their buyer journey – continuing to usher them along their path to purchase. It’s a powerful moment to create and one that your brand will want to create over and over again until the user becomes a customer and creates the Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT).

The Value of ZMOT and UMOT to Your E-Commerce Brand

A recent study found that when positively engaged via social media, 71% of users are likely to recommend that brand to others. This can be via word of mouth or in the form of a tweet, Instagram Feed Post, Story, Reel, YouTube/TikTok/Snap video, blog post, Reddit subreddits, etc. Google calls these recommendations Ultimate Moments of Truth (UMOT).

When a happy customer creates content based on a positive experience with the brand and shares it among their community or preferred network. It’s an incredible sign of brand loyalty. Psychologically, it’s been proven that when we get along with someone or something, we’re more likely to do business with them so that customer is likely coming back for more.

A strong community management strategy will help you address every single mention of your brand. A savvy social listening strategy will help you identify every other opportunity. This includes conquesting opportunities from mentions that feature competing brands.

The trickle-down benefit of UMOT is that it will, more often than not, create multiple Zero Moments Of Truth (ZMOT) in the community of like-minded friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances that the original customer shared their brand experience with. This creates something akin to the effects of a lookalike audience ad typically featured in paid social media strategies. And, when you consider that 88% of people have the highest level of trust in a brand when a friend or family member recommends it, you begin to understand the power of community management, social listening along with the importance of nurturing UMOT.

Social Listening Benefits Beyond ZMOT and UMOT

In a nutshell, social listening reveals opportunities for e-commerce brands to insert their voice into conversations they otherwise wouldn’t even know existed. Simply creating a search for online users who are currently talking about buying an e-bike (for example) allows brands to identify myriad opportunities to engage with those users. And, if they’re consistently engaging in a manner relevant to the user’s position in their buyer journey, they’ll continue to usher those users along their path to purchase. But, that’s not the only inherent benefit of social listening.

Listening to your audience across multiple platforms uncovers valuable insights about your e-commerce brand’s audience. This is where brands can find a way to leverage their social listening learnings to effectively educate their marketing decisions.

Here’s what your e-commerce business should keep an eye on:

  • ​​Brand health – gauging the public perception of your brand or products
  • Industry insights – analyzing discussions or hashtags within an industry
  • Competitive analysis – analyze competing brands or products
  • Campaign analysis: report on how a campaign is resonating
  • Event monitoring: monitor audience response to a conference or event

You can also gain insights that can help you better achieve your social media marketing goals. For example:

  • Find the most relevant and popular hashtags to leverage in your posts to increase reach
  • Stay updated on new trends to leverage as they first come to light, solidifying you as a thought leader and early adopter
  • Identify your key social audiences by network to ensure your messages resonate with the most valuable audiences to your brand
  • Identify the top influencers in your industry and try and coordinate partnerships for additional boost
  • Pinpoint your biggest audience opportunities geographically and increase reach with paid spend in those regions

Listen, Learn and Engage

Organic social media strategies are often the last to be addressed and executed upon. However, as digital privacy continues to evolve, it’s becoming more and more vital for e-commerce brands to focus on, well, their brands. Brand awareness, engagement, adoption and affinity can all be addressed with a thoughtful social media strategy – one that includes paid, organic, influencer and social listening action items. Keep in mind, social media users expect brands to respond to their needs and the cost of doing so is steep, especially with the current state of digital privacy. In fact, 30% of social media users have said that they’ll shop a competing brand if a brand doesn’t respond.

It’s not likely that your e-commerce business can afford to lose 30% of its customers (to a competing brand, no less) simply because it failed to address a need on social media. For your brand to succeed in today’s e-commerce environment, with ever-increasing competition and digital privacy, a social listening strategy is imperative. Listening has always been a valuable trait and now it can help your brand gain valuable insight and engage with users as you transform them into customers. Reach out to us if you need help with any of the above and we’d be glad to help you create a social listening strategy that converts for your e-commerce brand.

About the author: Jeff is an analytical and creative Digital Strategist with 9+ years of Social Media, Influencer and Content Marketing experience with various brands like Jaguar, Land Rover, Lenovo, Motorola, Ulta Beauty, Malin & Goetz, Teleflora, b New York and Raaka Chocolate – to name a few. He started his career as a copywriter, penning copy for an online sports company where he found his work featured on the back covers of national publications and featured on ESPN Radio. He currently resides in Seattle where he likes to spend as much time outside as possible with his wife and three kids, one of which is a dog.

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