5 Unconventional Sources of Customer Feedback for B2B Marketers

Busy business-people climbing stairs image.

Are you wondering whether you’re missing valuable customer feedback because you’re just not looking in the right places?

Our digital landscape today offers a wide array of well-used standard methods for B2B marketers to collect customer feedback, with just a few including:

  • Monitoring Social Media Activity
  • Customer Experience Surveys
  • Feedback Forms
  • Website Data Analysis
  • Customer Reviews & Other User Generated Content
  • Direct Interviews
  • Testimonials
  • Usability Test Data
  • Sales & Customer Service Team Data

There are many other traditional ways as well, and each method excels in its own specific way, holding the promise of providing insightful information about customers or prospective customers.

There is also an entirely different realm of customer feedback opportunities, however — an area filled with less-explored avenues that offer a great deal of audience insight to B2B marketers willing to venture off the beaten feedback path.

B2B marketers can optimize their 2021 marketing efforts by using any or all of the five powerful unconventional sources of finding customer feedback that we’ll explore.

Let’s jump right in with five unconventional sources of valuable customer feedback.

Getting to the heart of the questions most important to your customers and potential audience is a helpful path to learning more about your customers and gaining the information necessary to provide best-answer solutions.

We’ve looked at numerous tools for finding the questions customers are asking, such as those I explored in “10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers,” and now Google has expanded on its Google Search Console offering with the recent U.S. rollout of its Question Hub, a new service for finding unanswered search question data.

Google Question Hub, previously only available in three non-U.S. nations, focuses on the unanswered questions searchers are seeking to answer — data that can then be used to create content that fills these informational gaps — a potential goldmine for B2B marketers looking to differentiate their business with best answer content.

Google Question Hub uses topic categories to organize unanswered questions searchers have submitted, and allows those using the tool to add their own answers, in the form of articles or videos on sites verified in Google Search Console, or via YouTube video.

Question Hub lets users of the utility see how well the answers they’ve submitted have performed, and although the search giant notes that providing answers in Question Hub doesn’t affect search rankings for connected sites, forthcoming updates could eventually consider this sort of content among new search ranking signals should Google choose to do so.

As a new free tool, B2B marketers looking to both learn more about customers and the questions they’re asking, and to provide answers through Google Question Hub may find it worthwhile to explore this new Google functionality.

Sometimes asking for customer feedback in unexpected places — and during unexpected times — can catch a customer at just the right spot to provide extremely frank insight.

As I explored in “5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews,” Airbnb saw success by making video reviews a simple and optional part of customer feedback surveys. Offering brands the best of both traditional text-based input and — for those who choose — the advantages of video reviews, Airbnb’s system allowed users to easily leave video by turning on their phone or computer’s camera to leave a video response.

This video review format leads some customers — especially those who like the option to leave audio or video feedback — to share lengthier and more precise feedback, which in turn can give businesses greater insight into customers.

The richly emotional opportunities afforded through direct video feedback can help B2B firms lend a more empathetic ear, and can lead to the creation of content that addresses any concerns brought up in customer video feedback.

“If they say yes, then we’ve incorporated a video widget into the survey where they can just turn the camera on on their phone or computer and leave a response,” Airbnb customer insights manager Raj Sivasubramanian has said.

“The customers that chose that option really embraced it. And we actually had a lot of customers tell us in the video, ‘This is really cool. I love the fact that I can do this,’” Sivasubramanian added.

The technology to gather video or audio feedback — whether via survey forms or other feedback systems — has never been easier to implement, and in 2021 savvy B2B marketers looking to up their customer feedback strategy would be wise to consider such possibilities.

A key element to this approach is offering the ability to leave video or audio feedback at a point in the customer journey where it isn’t necessarily expected. This isn’t to say that feedback options shouldn’t also exist in the traditional places on company websites or social platforms, however the power of surprising a customer with the ability to share their thoughts verbally and visually — without having to type in feedback — may be underestimated among B2B organizations.

Where do you go in the online universe when you want to find honest thoughts from real people about topics that are new to you, whether they revolve around a local business or a global enterprise?

More people than ever have started including the search term “Reddit” in their search queries, to see what word on the digital street is regarding almost any particular subject, which may be why the social news aggregator and discussion platform is courting the half billion average monthly active user mark, and why its generated more than 30 billion monthly views of user-generated content.

Whether it’s gathering customer feedback in the form of ask-me-anything (AMA) events or keeping tabs on how your audiences are venting about possible frustrations relating to your brand, Reddit offers a slew of insight for B2B marketers willing to explore, as I dug into recently in “8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021.”

With its sizable growth in past years Reddit can hardly be considered either an up-and-coming social platform or a niche-only network any longer, but others in the social landscape are still in that wild west stage of finding a specialty, and B2B marketers can benefit by taking a look at these communities, such as Clubhouse, Slack Communities, and others.

Polls offer a special two-for-one value for B2B marketers, providing quality customer and prospect feedback while also offering brands a powerful interactive social media content marketing element.

Brands that take the time to listen to what customers are saying through their answers to poll questions gain an inside glimpse into where marketing efforts may be put to the most effective use, and are also a helpful way to increase brand awareness.

While social media polls are by nature more limited in the number of responses that can be offered, brands can draw people in beyond simply selecting an existing poll choice by using the final poll choice to encourage responses in comments.

Brands can also gather social media poll data to get feedback on existing products and services, to learn customer pain points, to test interest in new product offerings, and to gauge reactions to new industry trends.

To learn more about social media polls check out my LinkedIn*-specific guide, “Social Media Polls For Marketers: 6 B2B Brands Winning With LinkedIn Polls,” helpful tactics for a variety of social platform polls in our content marketing manager Nick Nelson’s “The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices,” and take a look at what poll data can tell B2B marketers in my “Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data.”

Websites today can collect more data than ever, yet filtering out the noise to harness the truly relevant gems of helpful customer feedback information may also be at an all-time level of difficulty.

Whether in the form of real-time human support chat logs, chatbot interaction data, or website usage information, pulling out the good stuff has been an ongoing challenge faced by B2B firms.

Luckily, to combat the record volumes of data, an impressive array of powerful data extraction tools have been developed, some focused primarily on gathering customer feedback.

There are some online spots holding potentially valuable customer feedback that may often get overlooked, especially some of the chat functions in applications used alongside virtual events. Just a few in these categories, where you may find customer feedback, include:

  • Zoom Chat Logs
  • Slack Channels
  • Skype Chat Logs
  • Google Hangouts Chats
  • Microsoft Teams Chats
  • Custom Event Chat Application Logs

Smart B2B Marketers Stand Out With Better Customer Feedback

via GIPHY

In the increasingly complex business environment of 2021, B2B brands need more than ever to clearly differentiate themselves from the competition.

Thankfully, finding and using customer feedback in places your competitors may not be monitoring can prove to be a strong technique to help your business stand out. We hope the unorthodox forms of finding customer feedback we’ve looked at here, from Google Question Hub to Clubhouse and more will help with your B2B marketing efforts in 2021.

Getting closer to customers takes many forms besides feedback, and to learn more check out “How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers,” by our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite.

5 Unconventional Sources of Customer Feedback for B2B Marketers

Busy business-people climbing stairs image.

Busy business-people climbing stairs image.

Are you wondering whether you’re missing valuable customer feedback because you’re just not looking in the right places?

Our digital landscape today offers a wide array of well-used standard methods for B2B marketers to collect customer feedback, with just a few including:

  • Monitoring Social Media Activity
  • Customer Experience Surveys
  • Feedback Forms
  • Website Data Analysis
  • Customer Reviews & Other User Generated Content
  • Direct Interviews
  • Testimonials
  • Usability Test Data
  • Sales & Customer Service Team Data

There are many other traditional ways as well, and each method excels in its own specific way, holding the promise of providing insightful information about customers or prospective customers.

There is also an entirely different realm of customer feedback opportunities, however — an area filled with less-explored avenues that offer a great deal of audience insight to B2B marketers willing to venture off the beaten feedback path.

B2B marketers can optimize their 2021 marketing efforts by using any or all of the five powerful unconventional sources of finding customer feedback that we’ll explore.

Let’s jump right in with five unconventional sources of valuable customer feedback.

1 — Google Question Hub & Other Tools

Getting to the heart of the questions most important to your customers and potential audience is a helpful path to learning more about your customers and gaining the information necessary to provide best-answer solutions.

We’ve looked at numerous tools for finding the questions customers are asking, such as those I explored in “10 Smart Question Research Tools for B2B Marketers,” and now Google has expanded on its Google Search Console offering with the recent U.S. rollout of its Question Hub, a new service for finding unanswered search question data.

Google Question Hub, previously only available in three non-U.S. nations, focuses on the unanswered questions searchers are seeking to answer — data that can then be used to create content that fills these informational gaps — a potential goldmine for B2B marketers looking to differentiate their business with best answer content.

Google Question Hub uses topic categories to organize unanswered questions searchers have submitted, and allows those using the tool to add their own answers, in the form of articles or videos on sites verified in Google Search Console, or via YouTube video.

Question Hub lets users of the utility see how well the answers they’ve submitted have performed, and although the search giant notes that providing answers in Question Hub doesn’t affect search rankings for connected sites, forthcoming updates could eventually consider this sort of content among new search ranking signals should Google choose to do so.

As a new free tool, B2B marketers looking to both learn more about customers and the questions they’re asking, and to provide answers through Google Question Hub may find it worthwhile to explore this new Google functionality.

2 — Asking In Unexpected Places

Sometimes asking for customer feedback in unexpected places — and during unexpected times — can catch a customer at just the right spot to provide extremely frank insight.

As I explored in “5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews,” Airbnb saw success by making video reviews a simple and optional part of customer feedback surveys. Offering brands the best of both traditional text-based input and — for those who choose — the advantages of video reviews, Airbnb’s system allowed users to easily leave video by turning on their phone or computer’s camera to leave a video response.

This video review format leads some customers — especially those who like the option to leave audio or video feedback — to share lengthier and more precise feedback, which in turn can give businesses greater insight into customers.

The richly emotional opportunities afforded through direct video feedback can help B2B firms lend a more empathetic ear, and can lead to the creation of content that addresses any concerns brought up in customer video feedback.

“If they say yes, then we’ve incorporated a video widget into the survey where they can just turn the camera on on their phone or computer and leave a response,” Airbnb customer insights manager Raj Sivasubramanian has said.

“The customers that chose that option really embraced it. And we actually had a lot of customers tell us in the video, ‘This is really cool. I love the fact that I can do this,’” Sivasubramanian added.

The technology to gather video or audio feedback — whether via survey forms or other feedback systems — has never been easier to implement, and in 2021 savvy B2B marketers looking to up their customer feedback strategy would be wise to consider such possibilities.

A key element to this approach is offering the ability to leave video or audio feedback at a point in the customer journey where it isn’t necessarily expected. This isn’t to say that feedback options shouldn’t also exist in the traditional places on company websites or social platforms, however the power of surprising a customer with the ability to share their thoughts verbally and visually — without having to type in feedback — may be underestimated among B2B organizations.

3 — Niche & Up-and-Coming Social Platforms

Where do you go in the online universe when you want to find honest thoughts from real people about topics that are new to you, whether they revolve around a local business or a global enterprise?

More people than ever have started including the search term “Reddit” in their search queries, to see what word on the digital street is regarding almost any particular subject, which may be why the social news aggregator and discussion platform is courting the half billion average monthly active user mark, and why its generated more than 30 billion monthly views of user-generated content.

Whether it’s gathering customer feedback in the form of ask-me-anything (AMA) events or keeping tabs on how your audiences are venting about possible frustrations relating to your brand, Reddit offers a slew of insight for B2B marketers willing to explore, as I dug into recently in “8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021.”

With its sizable growth in past years Reddit can hardly be considered either an up-and-coming social platform or a niche-only network any longer, but others in the social landscape are still in that wild west stage of finding a specialty, and B2B marketers can benefit by taking a look at these communities, such as Clubhouse, Slack Communities, and others.

4 — Social Polls

Polls offer a special two-for-one value for B2B marketers, providing quality customer and prospect feedback while also offering brands a powerful interactive social media content marketing element.

Brands that take the time to listen to what customers are saying through their answers to poll questions gain an inside glimpse into where marketing efforts may be put to the most effective use, and are also a helpful way to increase brand awareness.

While social media polls are by nature more limited in the number of responses that can be offered, brands can draw people in beyond simply selecting an existing poll choice by using the final poll choice to encourage responses in comments.

Brands can also gather social media poll data to get feedback on existing products and services, to learn customer pain points, to test interest in new product offerings, and to gauge reactions to new industry trends.

To learn more about social media polls check out my LinkedIn*-specific guide, “Social Media Polls For Marketers: 6 B2B Brands Winning With LinkedIn Polls,” helpful tactics for a variety of social platform polls in our content marketing manager Nick Nelson’s “The Power of Social Media Polls: The Drill-Down on 3 Platforms + 5 General Best Practices,” and take a look at what poll data can tell B2B marketers in my “Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data.”

5 — New Forms of Audience Usage Information

Websites today can collect more data than ever, yet filtering out the noise to harness the truly relevant gems of helpful customer feedback information may also be at an all-time level of difficulty.

Whether in the form of real-time human support chat logs, chatbot interaction data, or website usage information, pulling out the good stuff has been an ongoing challenge faced by B2B firms.

Luckily, to combat the record volumes of data, an impressive array of powerful data extraction tools have been developed, some focused primarily on gathering customer feedback.

There are some online spots holding potentially valuable customer feedback that may often get overlooked, especially some of the chat functions in applications used alongside virtual events. Just a few in these categories, where you may find customer feedback, include:

  • Zoom Chat Logs
  • Slack Channels
  • Skype Chat Logs
  • Google Hangouts Chats
  • Microsoft Teams Chats
  • Custom Event Chat Application Logs

Smart B2B Marketers Stand Out With Better Customer Feedback

via GIPHY

In the increasingly complex business environment of 2021, B2B brands need more than ever to clearly differentiate themselves from the competition.

Thankfully, finding and using customer feedback in places your competitors may not be monitoring can prove to be a strong technique to help your business stand out. We hope the unorthodox forms of finding customer feedback we’ve looked at here, from Google Question Hub to Clubhouse and more will help with your B2B marketing efforts in 2021.

Getting closer to customers takes many forms besides feedback, and to learn more check out “How B2B Marketers Can Get Closer to Their Customers,” by our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite.

The post 5 Unconventional Sources of Customer Feedback for B2B Marketers appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Active Social Media Listening: Tips for a New Era of COVID-19

Active social media listening

Active social media listening

If you want to have a good business meeting, you want all the participants to actively listen. This requires participants go beyond hearing, and engage and analyze to form an actionable plan. It’s the same with social media listening. It requires marketers to move beyond monitoring to analyzing the full situation, which can often be a moving target.

Social media listening is an important first step when starting a new campaign or addressing a situation. When the current situation is heightened with a national emergency, marketers need to key in on their audience at a new level.

COVID-19 has changed the lives of folks around the world, including their social media habits. Facebook reports messaging increased more than 50% in March. According to Twitter, COVID-19 related Tweets are being shared every 45 milliseconds and #coronavirus is now the second most used hashtag of 2020.

In this fast changing environment marketers need to stay updated. The context of what is in the news and how it is playing on social media can directly impact your messaging from day to day. Let’s explore what social listening is, what you need to know to do it effectively, and how it can help you in this time of crisis.

What Is Social Media Listening?

Most organizations do some level of social media monitoring, where they keep track of who is mentioning the brand. But listening moves a step further, reviewing specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries. Then, that information is analyzed and reviewed for actionable insights. So, it’s a two-part program:  monitoring and analysis. The analysis allows you to understand your audience better and prepare or adjust your strategy.

The Basics of Social Listening

Monitoring and listening both happen with the assistance of social listening tools or software that aggregate multiple pieces of information into one, easy to use dashboard. When setting up your social listening dashboard, think about these key areas of focus:

  • Brand reputation
    • Brand names
    • Key stakeholders
  • Competitors
  • Relevant topics
    • Industry key terms

Fine Tune Your Social Listening Data

Monitoring competitors and industry key terms may be hard for some brands to understand when it comes to relevance. This is where advanced searches and the analysis tools will help you gain context and see changes in the market. The easiest way to set-up an advanced search is to use Boolean operators in your listening tool.

“For example, find all mentions of the overarching pandemic (e.g. “covid19 OR “covid 19” OR coronavirus OR “corona virus” OR pandemic) and then use qualifying search terms, so that the results must also include words that are specifically relevant to your business,” says Lance Concannon at Meltwater Social.

There is a lot of data to be had. Consider if you are collecting up all the content and data you really want, or is there some content throwing off your insights. “The first thing to do is manually check what you’ve collected. You don’t need to look at every single datapoint, but if something’s gone wrong you’ll be able to spot it,” points out Joshua Boyd at Brandwatch.

How to Approach Social Listening in Times of Crisis

Businesses need marketers to continue to keep the business moving forward, but we do not want to come off as tone-deaf. This is where understanding your social audience is key. Monitoring rapidly developing changes in the environment and messages, will help you share appropriate messages and content.

Social listening tools move beyond the top level of monitoring and help hone your strategy with deeper insights into the sentiment, regional differences, and understanding of the conversation.

“By keeping a finger on the pulse of the conversation and applying those insights to your approach, your brand can be a considerate, organic and valuable contributor to the conversation.” says Kristin Johnson at SproutSocial.

Add a New Dashboard

During this crisis time, there might be topics, questions and concerns outside of your normal searches.

“Think about the important stakeholder groups – employees, customers, partners – and what their specific concerns might be about how COVID-19 might impact your business. Employees will obviously be worried about their jobs, and what they should do during this time. Customers will want to know if you’re still able to provide the products and services they need, and might also have questions about customer support/service during the pandemic. Partners will have concerns around their ongoing relationship with your business,” says Lance Concannon.

[bctt tweet=”“Think about the important stakeholder groups – employees, customers, partners – and what their specific concerns might be about how COVID-19 might impact your business.” @concannon” username=”toprank”]

You may find your current dashboards are not providing you the insight you need to follow the conversation around all the COVID-19 related posts. It might be time to contact your listening program customer service and set up specific dashboards related to the epidemic.

In a recent email from Sprinklr’s Ragy Thomas, he shared that there are a number of ways the company is working to help customers through challenges related to COVID-19.

Sprinklr is helping customers who are already using Sprinklr’s Research product to create a COVID-19 listening dashboard that highlights where a brand is being mentioned across social media channels, blogs and news sites in association with COVID-19. Most importantly, the dashboard alerts brands of a potential crisis using Sprinklr Smart Alerts. Plus, Sprinklr is helping clients create presentations with live visualizations of COVID-19 listening data that can be shared with internal teams.

“Consider listening for changes in customer sentiment and behavior. Because the crisis may amplify distrust of brands”, says Laura Starita writing for Gartner. She suggests setting a voice of the customer (VoC) and listening for shifts and new references to the virus.

Evaluate and Implement

Once your monitoring is set up, you can move to the evaluation phase. Hootsuite suggests asking these key questions.

  • How are other, similar organizations responding to the emergency? And how are their customers responding to their response?
  • Do you need to craft content around your relief efforts, or new operational policies?
  • Does your customer service team need to ramp up fast?

As you review your content, consider further filtering by demographics. The current crisis is global, and you may be addressing an audience in a particular region. Keep in mind each region may be dealing with a different stage of the crisis.

Don’t Just Hear Your Audience, Listen to Them

Don’t stop there. Listening is an ongoing team effort. The learnings you find now, will help you deal with the next marketing challenge.

For more help marketing during a pandemic, see Lee Odden’s post on understanding how to use SEO to surface key topics.

The post Active Social Media Listening: Tips for a New Era of COVID-19 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog