How Brands Leverage Other Brand’s Unhappy Customers on Social

How Brands Leverage Other Brand’s Unhappy Customers on Social

This is a guest post from Vishal Sankhla, Co-founder and CTO of Viralheat.

A decade ago, you had few options to vent your anger or shower praise toward a brand.

Typically your choices were a “contact us” page on a website (which often garnered a formulated email response) or a 1-800 number that reached a call center, a fate many consumers would rather avoid.

Today, things are different – with a few clicks and keystrokes, consumers can reach out directly to a brand, with the eyes of other consumers for an audience. So far brands have largely viewed social from a defensive stance, looking to mitigate the risk that the “wild public” can potentially inflict on their pristine sites. But brand managers are learning to play the game in this new arena by increasingly using social media analytics to cash in on their competitors missteps.

A few ways to leverage the unhappy customers of other brands include:

Monitor your competitors

Conversations happening on Facebook Pages, Pinterest, and Twitter are public. Brands deal with all kinds of conversations online related to their brand, ranging from complaints to product ideas. But the crafty brand manager will go one step further and monitor their competitors’ conversations as well. That’s where social media monitoring tools come in.

The best monitoring tools also have analytics integrated, so users can quickly find relevant information among the multitude of social media conversations that are taking place and take action.

Their influencers could be yours

Whether it’s a brand, persona, or a product, a brand manager cannot control the entirety of the conversations about them online. On any given day, a group of “top tier” influencers is setting the tone and creating the content that others consume. Savvy brands not only monitor and keep their best influencers close, but they also watch their competitors’ influencers.

Reaching out and creating relationships with the people who are influencing your competitors’ customers can yield amazing results. Analytics tools are great at aggregating conversations, but the best ones will also analyze those conversations and tell you which blogs, Facebook pages, and users are driving the conversations about a product or brand.

Your product could be better

No product is perfect and improvements are always part of the process. It’s often hard to surface which improvements users want most in a relevant, prioritized way from social media. Most advanced analytics tools, such as Viralheat, will have sentiment analysis, allowing brand managers to find the negative comments about their product/brand and analyze them. The same can be found with your competitors’ products and brands.  Chances are you will uncover mentions that highlight product or brand issues that can be incorporated into your product or service updates and improvements.

Their leads are also your leads

Consumers constantly publicly broadcast their needs on social media – “I wish I had a better coffee maker,” “My car is a piece of junk,” “I don’t know how to manage my bank account.” All of these comments are an opportunity to reach out and make your product or service known.

But don’t just track your product and services – be sure to track those of your competitors as well. Are consumers unhappy with a competing product? Introduce them to yours and maybe even offer a discount. Sophisticated analytics tools are designed to easily tag these public pieces of data as a lead. By aggregating conversations and using technologies, such as lead identification with Human Intent, you can pick up leads from your competitors.

Refine the process

The world’s best brands continuously use analytics to refine their process to make them more potent. There are a variety of tools that will analyze your social media accounts, those of your competitors, and the broader social media landscape. Take weekly snapshots of your activity, analyze and refine it, then hit the ground running the following week. Provide your team with real-time data that they can use to measure their activities highlighting how they are (or aren’t) moving the needle with current campaigns.

Photo credit: jasohill

  • Thanks for the insights! Your suggestion of providing weekly insights is one thing our agency strives to do well. We include data regarding SM reach across all brand platforms but also add screen shots of both positive and negative customer comments. The clients always appreciate having a birds-eye-view on how their brand is being perceived and use that info to implement change and reach out to those who need assistance.

  • Hi Vishal, love your point of view. At Engagor ( we share the same ideas: monitoring your brand and gathering analytics is not the end of the journey. Do something with the things you learn: reach out to new sales leads, help your customers, improve your product or service. We often advice clients to start with their own brand and industry and at a later time, when they get the hang of things, start monitoring their competition as well. Lots of things to learn there 🙂

  • Rachel Stanwood

    A decade ago, you had few options to vent your anger or shower praise toward a brand.

  • Marladeps

    Could it be more appealing ? Thanks, I enjoyed the way you see things.