Create an Unfair Advantage in B2B Social Media with Competitive Intelligence

As B2B companies reach new levels of maturity in their social media marketing, the savvy ones recognize the golden opportunity available to them by studying what their key competitors are doing through social competitive intelligence.

While most companies are focused on building out their own social channels, listening to their buyers, engaging with their buyers and influencers, a few B2B companies have realized the unique opportunity afforded them by studying what their competitors are doing.

The multitude of listening and measurement tools available can be, and should be, applied to monitoring the conversation, following growth and engagement, and watching what your closest competitors are doing. By comparing what they are doing to best practices (and to what you are doing), you can create an unfair advantage.

Learn from What’s Working

The first advantage you create is that, by paying attention to the competitive landscape and studying your competitors’ tactics, you can discover what’s working for them, and learn from that. That way, you can capitalize not only on what’s working for you, but also on what’s working for them. In other words, you leverage your competitors’ efforts. For example, you should pay attention to what kind of photos and videos they post, the cadence of their posting, the time of day of their posting, and what content themes they choose to post. Then, study their resulting engagement with the public.

Recently we were watching the social media efforts of one competitor who consistently posted a daily question on Facebook, to engage customers. When the competitor changed from posting text-only status updates to questions embedded within an image, we saw them experience an increase in engagement of 30 percent.

In other words, you can take your competitors’ experimentation efforts on their social channels and leverage what you learn from that to improve your own interactive marketing solutions. Not only can you learn as much as the competitor does, but you don’t have to experiment. You just do what works best.

Learn from What’s Not Working

On the flip side, you can also learn from what isn’t working. We watched a competitor launch a new branding campaign for a product line. This competitor was particularly proud of their new branding, and had a great deal to say about it on their social channels. The problem was that their audience was more interested in getting support issues resolved than they were in learning more about the new branding.

What didn’t work was that the competitor and their audience were speaking two different languages. They were not communicating. There was a disconnect in the competitor’s approach. Buyers were not hearing the competitor’s message about their new branding because they had other concerns. This was a missed opportunity for the brand, and a great reminder to focus on your audience’s concerns.

But even more important than a missed opportunity was the fact that customer complaints were not being addressed, and customers were frustrated at not being heard. And they made their frustrations known online.

So how do you put this into practice? Imagine you are studying a competitor’s interactive marketing efforts on social channels, and it turns out they are getting great engagement numbers. What you find curious about it, however, is that the engagement results from content that is very entertaining, but which is not relevant. Closer examination reveals that your competitor is so focused on increasing engagement that they don’t seem to care whether or not they are engaging with the right audience – and their audience profile doesn’t match the profile of their buyer.

Since you are focused on the same buyers, this is an opportunity for you to talk to the buyers about issues that are important to them, as opposed to focusing on just increasing your engagement levels, regardless of the audience. That competitor’s mistake enables you to communicate more effectively with the same target buyers – at a time when that competitor is talking to the wrong people. Capitalizing on that can give you a larger share of voice.

Create Social Media KPIs

Once you start focusing on your competition and the competitive landscape, your key performance indicators should not only compare your current performance to a prior timeframe, but should also compare it to your competitor’s.

In fact, you should use social media KPIs to measure the difference between you and your competitors, such as share of voice, share of engagement and even share of discussion. These are metrics you can create with a robust social competitive intelligence program.

With these new KPIs you will have information that will inform your social strategy, and will enable you to create an unfair advantage and beat your competition.

This post was co-authored by Robert McHardy. He is a Senior Social Strategist at Crimson Marketing. He is an expert in social strategy, marketing and analytics.

Photo: Flickr

Analyze Offline Data to Refine B2B Social Media Efforts

Many B2B companies do not realize that they already have a treasure trove of data waiting to be analyzed, to provide guidance for a variety of marketing activities, including their social media efforts.

It is very likely that your B2B company has a customer service division and chances are you may even record calls for quality assurance (I hope). Taking it a step further, you may even have a built-in speech analytics module that a business analyst may routinely look at to understand keywords, trends in tone, inflection, job title of the person calling, sentiment, and much more. I often think of these systems as the offline version of an online social media monitoring platform.

The great thing about the data that’s collected within these types of systems is that it’s easier to detect trends and eventually apply statistical meaning because of the sheer volume of this more traditional channel for customer insights. Also, with potentially less discussion occurring online from customers of B2B products, it’s that much more important to use the data you already have at your fingertips and work towards applying it to understanding your marketing mix.

Once you’ve secured access to this type of offline data, take the following steps:

1. Find Trends in Offline Data

Build a dataset that spans back at least 3-6 months and report on the most common keywords and trends in any positive or negative themes.

2. Use Keywords to Begin Social Listening

Take keywords and keyword phrases that the business analyst produces with the offline data source and use them in conjunction with your brand or specific product names using social listening tools.

3. Compare Historical Data

Use a social media monitoring platform that will allow you to retroactively pull social data that’s reflective of the same time period that you’re pulling your offline data. Date range-specific query is even more important in understanding trends in online and offline data when you launch a new product, service or promotion into market.

4. Optimize Marketing and Social Media Efforts

Use this information to inform your marketing organization in how to most effectively identify and communicate with their target audience via social media. The more authentic you can be in developing a communication bridge between your organization and your target customer, the more effective your message will be.

Have you analyzed the data from other functions within your B2B company to guide your social media efforts?

4 B2B Insights from Salesforce.com’s Acquisition of Radian6

Today Salesforce.com announced the acquisition of Radian6. Here’s a link to the press release if you want details. From a business perspective, this is a big deal because the leader in one space has acquired the leader in another space. But if you are a B2B marketer who is managing or planning social media for your company, here are some reasons why you should care. Even if you don’t use either product.

1. Create Awareness of Social Media Monitoring Among Salespeople
Even before computer-based tools, salespeople kept track of their prospects and the results of their interactions. Salesforce.com is an evolution from standalone versions to a web-hosted, company-wide platform that can integrate with other company systems. The addition of Radian6 to the suite of Salesforce.com tools (even though the companies will still run separately) creates awareness among salespeople that company or industry mentions found through social media monitoring can be considered trackable events in their CRM tools.

2. Raise the Profile of Marketing in the Organization
A classic struggle in many B2B organizations is the one between sales and marketing. Sales generally has more say in the running of the company, as they are more responsible for bringing in revenue. Anything that can raise the profile of marketing in the eyes of sales is a good thing for marketers. With the awareness of social media monitoring gained above, now marketing can be the ones to help sales understand how to implement social media monitoring into their sales functions.

3. More Engagement Possible at More Levels
With salespeople onboard in their understanding of social media monitoring, this expands the use of social media throughout a company. Many social media approaches start in marketing or customer service, and serve customers and prospects at the top of the lead funnel. While monitoring will also serve the company at the top of the funnel, tracking these mentions in a CRM will show salespeople that it is possible to engage at various stages of the buying process.

4. Monitoring and Engagement is Now Trackable
As social media events are tracked in CRM tools, whether it is a mention, a comment or a direct request, each will have a result. This is no longer the world where marketing generates leads for sales and steps out of the way. The social media leads are available for all to see, and both sales and marketing can look for patterns, so they can understand what types of engagement can lead to sales. Depending on a company’s goals, customer satisfaction through social media can also be tracked.

What are some other benefits that B2B marketers will see now that Salesforce.com has acquired Radian6?

7 Steps to Visualizing B2B Social Media Data

Once B2B companies start creating social profiles and interacting with customers and prospects online, they start accumulating data. It is easy to aggregate data into spreadsheets to present to your team or to your boss, but for many people data can be more easily understood and remembered if it is presented visually. And I don’t mean just creating pie charts and colored graphs using excel data, but transforming the data into a visual story. Depending on the size of your B2B company and your staff resources, this may be something to consider only for a yearly report, but it is worth thinking about.

1. Determine the Story You Want to Tell
Before you even start looking at your data, you need to plan the story. Presenting data over time is one way to make it compelling and doing it visually allows you to present much more data than if you just showed the raw data. The story could be made up of multiple storylines that go in different directions. This can also be like your theory, where you predict what the data shows.

2. What is the Context of the Story
The context of the story relates to your goals. If you were driving leads on a website using social media, what are ways to make that a compelling story besides just the number. What kinds of leads close and become sales. Are there different things that resonate (close sales) with existing customers versus new customers? How does all this data fit into your overall business strategy and metrics?

3. Decide What Data to Include
Once you know what story you are trying to tell, you can determine what data is the best way to show it. You may get to this stage and realize you don’t have the data you need, or you haven’t been collecting it for a long enough time period. It means that you may need to delay the creation of this visual report until you have the data. If you are not trying to drive leads, you need to look at engagement numbers. If all you can track are number of followers and fans, you should not continue with trying to visualize your data. There is no story to tell in those numbers.

4. Understand Your Audience and Their Needs
Just like with marketing campaigns, you need to know your audience for your data visualizations. Even though you plan to walk through the graphics with your boss, or the board, people who are used to getting piles of spreadsheets might want to see the data. Have the data available, but the idea is to create a compelling story that shows your successes and nobody asks for the data backup.

5. Work with Designer to Wireframe and Design
If you have made it this far in the process, it is now time to turn this over to a designer. If you can clearly communicate your story and you have the right data, a good designer can work through this to create a great visualization of your data. There are tools available to produce infographics on your own, but they pale in comparison to what a designer can do. Their first step is to sketch or wireframe where everything goes. This is a basic layout, but not a design. After getting some feedback, they convert that into a design, which has the graphical elements in place.

6. Review
Once presented with a design of your data visualization, review it against your original requirements to see if it tells your story. As you develop these graphics, sometimes you see connections between data that you would not have seen otherwise. Make any changes to the visual that are needed before finalizing the project. One simple thing to suggest is to include company branding or colors in the graphic, whether it will be shared outside the company or not.

7. Deliver
Don’t just email the visual report to your team, but schedule a presentation, or two. If you need to present it to your boss or the board, do that first, but gather your team together and present it to them to show them the details of their work. It is great to share in successes, but it can also be a time to plan for ways to improve.

Have you thought about sharing B2B social media data in a visual manner, and are there any additions to the above process for your company or clients?

Win a FREE copy of The Now Revolution

Jay Baer and Amber Naslund wrote a book called The Now Revolution about the seven shifts that will make your company faster, smarter, and more social. Thanks to Jay and Amber for giving me a copy of the book to give away to one of our readers. Watch this short video to find out how you can enter to win your own copy of this book. Enter by March 4, 2011.

In The Now Revolution companies will learn how to:

  1. Strip away silos and overgrown business process, and create a culture of NOW
  2. Hire and empower a new type of employee who is adept at pattern recognition, human relations, and immediate analysis
  3. Organize internal teams for maximum external impact, and empower every employee as a marketer, even if they aren’t
  4. Listen at the point of need and answer the social telephone
  5. Travel the Humanization Highway, and respond effectively and persuasively to customer inquiries
  6. Plan for, find and manage real-time crises
  7. Redesign success metrics in a business world that’s increasingly instantaneous

And if you want to see previous interviews we conducted with Jay and Amber, click on their links.

Discover Your B2B Industry with Social Media Monitoring

Over the past few months in this monitoring series we have been looking at specific situations where B2B companies would benefit from using a social media monitoring solution, rather than relying on just Google alerts, Twitter search and other basic monitoring tools. One of the main reasons B2B companies need to consider using a more robust solution is the sheer number of keywords that you need to follow in many situations. For this last post in the series we will be looking at monitoring an industry, and as you can imagine, there are definitely lots of terms to follow in this example.

Discover Your Industry
You need to begin any monitoring program with a discovery phase and a project as large as following an industry is no exception. Start with general industry terms to find relevant sources, blogs and people talking about your industry. Using the dashboard features of many monitoring programs you will need to take the time to dig into each one of these possible sources to determine if they are keepers or not. There are always going to be new sources of industry information that crop up, as well as one-off posts or articles, but you really need to establish a base of credible information. Make sure you review trade publications, association web sites, blogs, news sites, forums in your sources and include the sites you already know.
Bonus Content Idea: If you publish a weekly blog post with industry news, posts or other industry relevant information, this is a great ongoing source.

Discover Your Competitors
One specific area to focus on in your industry is your competitors. Add their websites to your monitoring, as well as search for their company name, product names, executive names in all of your searches. You might even want to keep up with locations of their major plants, if they are large enough to have a dominant presence in a community. While these are the competitors that you know, there may be companies moving into the space with a single product or service, or even a whole product line that suddenly competes with your business. Use keywords that are both general and specific around your industry to make sure you don’t miss any of these threats to your business. An early warning of this type may make your social media monitoring efforts all worth it.
Bonus Content Idea: An industry leader can openly blog about competitors on their own site. This makes management very nervous. With the depth of information from your monitoring, you can write about objective comparisons with your own products or services. Fight the marketing spin and be honest.

Discover Thought Leaders
One of the best ways to keep up with your industry is to keep up with the thought leaders. This is a totally different approach to keeping up with the news, products and events. This gives you an ongoing, higher level perspective of what is going on and where things might be headed in your industry. Or maybe where they should be headed. As with most of these suggestions regarding your industry, it is very likely you will know where to start on this. These would be the strategic thinkers at other companies, columnists at trade publications, event speakers, prominent bloggers. Once you have identified these individuals, make sure you monitor them by name. As you see who they interact with, those may be influential people worth monitoring.
Bonus Content Idea: By monitoring these thought leaders by name, you will learn where they are speaking, and you can easily arrange for a short video interview when they are speaking nearby.

I hope this post, and the series, has given you ideas and some necessary background for exploring social media monitoring solutions for your B2B company. If there are other situations that have benefited from social media monitoring, please leave comments below.

The B2B Social Media Monitoring 101 Series is sponsored by Jive Software | Jive on Facebook

Social Media Monitoring and Developing B2B Thought Leadership

There are lots of people who claim to be thought leaders in their B2B industry segments. Some of them even are thought leaders. Whether their outlet has been traditional trade media, a blog or even speaking engagements, it takes work to reach the status of a thought leader. It takes years of actually thinking about issues surrounding your industry, writing about those issues, talking to people about them, learning what others think of your ideas. One cannot claim thought leadership. It is bestowed upon someone by others.

So having laid out the parameters of thought leadership, how is it possible to get a head start and speed up the process using social media monitoring? There is no way to avoid the hard work of thinking, writing, speaking and listening, but social media monitoring can let you set up channels of influencers and understand what the issues in your industry are. While you can certainly set up RSS feeds of blogs, searches and alerts in a tool like Google Reader, it is much harder to discover trends across the results manually. A monitoring dashboard can reveal information within all those sources that may not have been visible when viewed separately.

Before we go any further, I will assume that you have been in the industry for at least three to five years and that you are in a position where you have a reasonable network within that industry. It is also assumed that you have the ability to use the information you find in new and thoughtful ways and can clearly communicate that to others.

Even though you should have a pretty good sense of what you should be thinking about, start by searching for the following people and organizations in your industry:

  • acknowledged thought leaders
  • leading bloggers
  • trade publications, including their writers and editors
  • trade associations
  • trade show management groups
  • analysts (if appropriate for your industry)
  • competitors
  • customers

Now that you have identified reliable sources in your industry, and are using a monitoring platform to make some sense of the data, you need to do something with this on your way to thought leadership. But first you have to identify some goals around this. The process needs to be tied to your business objectives, even though it could be a very long term prospect. It is unlikely that you can truly establish a company as thought leader, so you will have to focus on a person, and in this example it is you. However, with the proper dashboard setup, the information can be passed along to anyone in your organization who is thinking about the industry trends and ideas, and providing their thoughts on how things fit together, where the industry is going and what high-level issues should draw a company’s focus.

Your company promotes the existence of the thought leader as a way to build awareness of the company at trade events and other speaking engagements. It can also drive traffic to the thought leader’s content, by sharing their ideas with the industry. Thought leaders can also help close new business because they may be a recognized name in the industry, but be careful about holding up your first team of experts if they will not be working with a client or customer. Companies like to say they are working with industry experts, but they are more interested in actually working with them and getting the benefit of their high level thinking.

The most obvious use of the industry information is to create a blog where you, or your thought leader, publishes at least weekly. But you can also use this information to create white papers, email newsletters, trend stories, case studies and shareable presentations. A thought leader speaks from a platform of education and helping people, and the content needs to reflect the right tone for people to follow it and find it useful. Once you start creating this content, and have an understanding of what sources are the most helpful, go back to your monitoring dashboard and refine your influx of information. Adjust the sources you are following if some don’t really provide enough value, but also add more general industry topics, things associated with these sources, to discover additional sources to be included.

A social media monitoring platform will not make you a thought leader, but it will give you new insight into your industry from online sources. Having this insight is the first step, and every journey begins with one step.

The B2B Social Media Monitoring 101 Series is sponsored by Jive Software | Jive on Facebook

B2B Social Media Monitoring and Crisis Communication

A well thought-out crisis communication plan has always been a necessity for many B2B companies, although larger companies, or especially public companies, are the ones who generally create them. Many PR professionals recommend that all companies should have something in place. These plans are about being prepared with messaging and tactics for expected situations so you can respond quickly. Not only does the real-time web change the speed of what quickly means, but situations can arise in a variety of online forms as well.

Starting a Crisis Plan
If you don’t have a crisis communication plan in place, social media monitoring can help you establish an online baseline for sentiment, understand potential threats and set up a real-time dashboard for appropriate responses. While any monitoring plan always begins with the company name and top brand or product names, for crisis planning these help you understand what the initial online landscape looks like. Are there mentions of your company on the social web, and are they positive or negative? This is the general background to determine when the comment level changes, which could indicate a situation that needs to be addressed.

Monitoring for negative comments related to your industry or product types can help you find sites and people that are especially critical of basic industry practices and competitors. It is not a big stretch to think that these sites or people could also create a crisis situation for your company. These are sources that you can monitor to make sure you are aware of bigger issues or to make sure you are immediately aware of comments targeting your company.

One of the key parts of a crisis plan is to know who needs to respond and what the responses to particular situations are. By setting up a monitoring dashboard and sharing specific actions with the right people, they can be notified more quickly and take the appropriate action. Even small businesses should take the time to prepare for potentially damaging situations.

Managing an Existing Crisis Plan
If you do have a plan in place, monitoring can help you augment your plan and broaden your online sources to be aware of situations. While you may have a notebook with sample letters and actions to take for every imaginable crisis, you need to know when to take action, or alert your pr firm to take action. If your social media monitoring solution is managed by a firm that does not handle your pr and crisis communication, make sure everyone is in the loop regarding the crisis plan.

When setting up your crisis monitoring, make sure you are seeing local sources including newspaper and television sites where factories are located, including those of partners and vendors. While you may not control your production facilities, online monitoring may be the best way to alert you to potential issues that affect your company. While you hope that a plant manager contacts the corporate office before something makes the local news, there are local situations that affect local plants that happen outside the confines of your location. Situations can also arise with employees that take place offsite, and could make the local news before anyone at your location is even aware of it.

And where this all seems to come together is that all information is posted online before it is distributed through traditional media, and online attacks, even on your own presences on the social web, are both real and damaging, so it makes sense that a key component of your crisis communication plan is the in-depth, online monitoring provided by a social media monitoring solution.

What are some ways that social media monitoring can help your crisis communication plan?

The B2B Social Media Monitoring 101 Series is sponsored by Jive Software | Jive on Facebook

Use Social Media Monitoring to Improve B2B Advertising Effectiveness

Social media monitoring can help connect offline and online marketing initiatives by providing additional tracking data for B2B advertising. Most B2B advertising has a call to action. This is what you want your prospects to do after viewing the ad: go to a website, call a phone number, fill out a reader reply card (do these still exist?), or call their sales rep. These actions generate leads, but there are other actions a prospect can take online that can also add that prospect to the funnel. Let’s look at how this can work with different kinds of ads.

Print Ad
This is the most traditional kind of advertising there is. These ads are most likely to occur in a trade magazine for your industry, or another vertical industry you are targeting with your products or services. These days that print ad is likely supported with a pr placement or product announcement, a web banner on the publication’s site and maybe even a listing in an online directory. These additional placements generate more impressions than the print ad alone, but other than direct leads, it is difficult to know if these value-adds are effective.

Social media monitoring can help you discover if your ad and other bonus placements were actually more effective than your leads would have you believe. Monitor for key phrases in the ad, including the headline and key product differentiators. This may be easier if you have an especially creative campaign. If the phrases in your headline return results that are from your competitor’s products or other industries, your ads may not stand out among other ads, or your products may not be differentiated. These results can help you determine keywords for advertising monitoring, and it may help you refine the messaging for your ad for future insertions.

While it is possible people may be talking about the ad itself, it is more likely they are talking about their situations that you can help them solve. This gives you another use for monitoring the content of your print ads. It lets you find customers and prospects who may be in the market for your products or services. You can reach out to them and let them know about your solution. This does not need to be a sales pitch, but a really soft sell message that lets them know you were listening and might be able to help them.

Another thing you should be monitoring for specifically are all the calls to action on your print ad, whether it is a unique phone number or a campaign landing page URL. If your ad has a special offer, whether it is a free service or a big discount, you never know if one of your existing customers shares that information online with their network. This behavior combines a recommendation with providing value to their connections. If you discover these types of comments, you should definitely publicly thank your customer.

Direct Mail
Consider all of the above social media monitoring ideas listed above for a print ad when conducting a direct mail campaign. Listen for the headline, key messaging, special offers and specific calls to action. You can segment your list by any number of factors, including geography, industry, current customers, prospects and depending on the size of the segments, you can monitor for online discussion and revise subsequent mailings to improve their effectiveness.

Online Banner Ad
Depending on who you ask, on what day, and based on what study, determines whether you should run banner ads for your B2B company. The best things about them are that they can be very targeted and they have built-in metrics. You know how many impressions they got and you know how many clicks they got. Adding this to your side of the funnel, including the number of visits to the landing page and how many visitors completed your desired action, provides pretty good, trackable data. The biggest problem is that without lots of impressions, you don’t get lots of leads. By using social media monitoring before you start your online campaign, you can find sites that are more relevant to your ads, and you can refine your messaging to tailor it more to the language of prospects, rather than company jargon. By analyzing the comments online helps guide you not just in your keywords, but in using the correct terms.

Trade Show Booth
Trade shows offer a great use for social media because you combine people with a place for a limited time, but if you think about your trade show booth, or even your attendance at a trade show, as advertising, social media monitoring can help those dollars go further. While many tradeshows feature hashtags on Twitter, those show abbreviations preceded by # to aggregate the conversation about the shows, there is much more going on without the official hashtag. A full-blown monitoring campaign for two weeks before and two weeks after the show looking for general terms in the industry, your specific solutions and its messaging, as well as that related to competitors, will find blog posts, status updates, photos, videos and more that can connect you to prospects who you may not have met at the show.

What are some ways that you could use social media monitoring to improve your B2B advertising?

The B2B Social Media Monitoring 101 Series is sponsored by Jive Software | Jive on Facebook

Social Media Monitoring and B2B Product Development

Social media has implications for all aspects of B2B companies, but one that many people don’t think much about is product development. The social web is a great source for information about products and services, but you will only be successful in using this information if you can properly gather it, organize it and share it with the right people in your company. Social media monitoring tools can help you with this series of tasks. I will primarily use the term products in this post, but if you are a service company and you are looking to expand your offerings, consider using some of the same ideas.

Getting Started
Every social media monitoring project begins with an understanding of what you are looking for and what you hope to do with it. In a product development scenario, meet with the product development team or product manager to make sure you know what types of products they are already working on. Use this initial meeting to decide whether it makes sense to discover new features for existing products or to find suggestions for entirely new products. And yes, I understand that this cannot happen in a vacuum and companies can’t develop new products out of thin air, but the process might be used to validate the need for new products you are already working on.

Ideas for Monitoring
Assuming that you are already listening for mentions of your company, we will not consider that part of this approach. Start with the specific products you are considering. These include brand names, product descriptions, product numbers of your products and those of your main competitors. Also include some general industry terms to make sure any relevant conversations are picked up. While some comments you discover might be very specific like, “If the ABC company widget had a third screw halfway between the other two, it would fit my device without modification,” but you are more likely to find less specific comments that might not even relate to your products. As you start getting results, review them with your product managers to refine the search terms and to better understand how to track and use the comments.

Depending on the type of products you make, be sure you are monitoring technical forums to find both questions and answers. Many times, existing customers help others solve problems and those solutions can be incorporated into future product upgrades or even documentation.

Product Testing
Social media monitoring does need to just be a passive listening activity to support product development. You can identify specific users, within customer companies and those using competitors’ products, and reach out to them. If you have a product that needs beta testers, but you don’t want to publicly announce where you are in the development cycle, you can find testers, or people to give feedback, through monitoring.

Competitors’ Products
To make sure you get the widest possible range of data around your product category, it makes sense to include general industry terms and specific terms from your competitors. A side benefit of this approach is that you may learn about their products from their customers, which could inform the development of your products. This information could also be helpful for the sales team as a way to help sell against the competition. Comments about a feature that doesn’t meet a customer’s needs could convince your product team to add a feature that more fully functions to the requirements.

Ongoing Process
This use of social media monitoring in this case is definitely an ongoing process where you continue to review the results with the product manager for relevance and applicability. It is not a “set and forget” program. As products change and industry trends change you will be looking for different terms, different reactions, different customers. You might even consider this approach as you explore expanding your product offerings into other vertical industries.

Have you thought about using social media monitoring for product development and what would your challenges be?

The B2B Social Media Monitoring 101 Series is sponsored by Jive Software | Jive on Facebook