In his 2013 Medium article, Kevin Ashton wrote, “Social media is not a bullhorn for broadcast but a coffee shop for conversation.” He goes on to outline how he has used social listening to better inform the design of different products to create a beautiful user experience:
“User-generated reviews are the best possible way to understand how customers use products… Negative reviews are even more valuable than positive ones. Bad reviews draw attention to previously unknown bugs, unacceptable trade-offs, or missing features.”
For most organizations, “views,” “likes,” and “followers” are a metric of success. For instance, Chipotle’s short-film titled, “The Scarecrow,” reached 6.5 million views on YouTube in less than two weeks after its premiere and is currently at 14.1 million views. Nonetheless, Ashton demonstrates how UX professionals can use social listening to glean meaningful insights by analyzing sentiment, conversations, comments, and reviews.
Social listening is essentially the process of monitoring digital media channels to strategically influence the customer. With customer experience (CX) increasingly becoming more prominent and valued, social listening platforms are allowing teams of UX professionals and marketers to gather and analyze social listening data to improve the customer’s experience (See: Top UX Predictions for 2015).
There are a large number of tools available so here are just three freely available options:
1. Hootsuite’s social listening platform is an easy to use interface that allows you to manage up to three social profiles from a single dashboard; schedule messages to post ahead of time; and get real-time analytics reports.
2. Social Mention “is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information.” Social mention monitors over eighty social media properties directly like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Photobucket. Social Mention provides some basic analytics and daily social media alerts. Social Mention doesn’t even require registration.
3. Similar to Social Mention, Topsy is a social media search, analytics, and trends tool. They have been indexing Tweets since 2006. Topsy allows you to search the social web by links, tweets, photos, videos and influencers all in real-time.
When searching, it’s helpful to not only search for your own brand name, but also try any variations/abbreviations of the name, key words/key messages/key items, and a slogan/motto.
Referring back to Ashton, he ended his piece with: “The important word in “social media” is not “media,” but “social.” For UX professionals, listening is our bread and butter. This is just another way of listening, but with a more modern twist. However, it is important to note that there are obvious limitations to this method (e.g., limited sample size). Therefore, it can be thought of as another tool in the UX professional’s tool belt.