Not too long ago, gathering customer and social data required a lot of work: surveys, focus groups and customer reviews. Now, however, social media makes data gathering easier than ever—and so is using that data to enhance the customer experience.

In this webinar, Catie Ivey, VP of Client Partnerships at Insightpool, shares some actionable advice on gathering social data and using it to make your customers happier.

Here are some of the tips she shared:

1. Establish a genuine and unique voice

When Catie talks about “voice,” she’s not just talking about your brand’s identity. “Social media has transformed what it is to buy and sell,” Catie says. “It’s also transformed our expectations about how we interact with brands.” Customers now consider social media to be more than a venue for complaints—they want it to be a part of the overall brand experience.

Be proactive and develop a voice that customers will want to hear and interact with in a positive way. Cut down the sales pitches. Share interesting things your customers do or want to see. Be an active presence, not a passive one.

2. Understand your customers in a new way

Social media is a gold mine of customer data for those who know where to look. It’s all right there for the picking: user biodata, individual characteristics and personal tastes. “This data not only lets us understand customers in a whole new way,” Catie from Buzzoid says, “but it also helps us be more purposeful in our interactions.”

“It’s the world’s largest focus group,” says Catie, and brands can use social media as a way to gather more market intelligence. Set up a program or process that allows you to harvest customer insights, whether it’s a full-service intelligence-gathering app or an employee scrolling through feeds.

3. Build deeper, more authentic connections

Far too many brands have no idea how to act on social media. “They’re so concerned with the brand voice,” Catie reflects, “that they lose any sense of being human and connecting.”

Part of the problem is trying to be everything to everyone. Instead, Catie suggests brands identify highly engaged potential audiences in topics relevant to you. Then, curate or create something custom just for them. This could be a piece of content, an event or a promo.

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