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The Impact Of Social Listening

It is estimated that over 250,000 new consumer tech products launch every year, and 95 percent of them result in failure. The heat is on for companies to grab a piece of the media spotlight and make it on must-have tech lists.

One thing is clear: Brands can’t simply rely on endorsements or predictable releases of a slightly improved model of their most recent product. With International CES just around the corner and over 20,000 launches at the show in 2014, it’s fair to expect even more innovations will grace the floor this year.

How can brands launching a new product stand out in the sea of shiny and new tech gadgets?

Enter social media. Some call it a sounding board for the masses, especially in the electronics space. According to a global study administered by Neilson, 81 percent of people surveyed said that when it comes to buying electronics, using the Internet to help make their decision is most important. A recent report published by social listening platform, Brandwatch, found that according to conversations on social media, 78 percent of people exhibit no brand loyalty at all. As consumers become less loyal than ever brands need to listen up when it comes to social media.

Here are a few social listening tips for brands launching products in the consumer electronics space:

Be Alert

Brands need to listen carefully and continuously analyze trends, key stories, and social conversations relevant to their industry to learn what the public really wants from products. Brands that take social media conversations seriously (essentially free, unsolicited consumer feedback ripe for the taking), and adjust and tweak by addressing consumer public opinion, will succeed.


Hypothetical situation: Your fans are mostly posting on Pinterest to talk about how much they covet your product and how awesome it is. There’s a catch though — you don’t have a Pinterest page.

This lack of presence screams that your brand is missing the social boat, and it should be addressed immediately. Through social listening, you can pinpoint the online platforms and forums where your brand needs a presence and may already be a highly-discussed subject. Create an account and engage with these advocates; don’t just monitor what they’re saying. Not only will you be communicating directly and openly with an engaged, invested audience, but you can easily identify influencers, track campaign success, and uncover new avenues of engagement

Get In The Un-Comfort Zone

A helpful tip when it comes to social listening is to break out of your comfort zone when it comes to search terms. Thinking outside of the box is critical when creating terms that relate to your brand. Be sure that you’re in the loop about where your competitors are being talked about and how. Listening to “white space conversations,” the chatter around a specific product or industry that doesn’t directly mention your brand or competitors, is another creative way to step outside the box and take a look at insights you otherwise wouldn’t be privy to without the power of social listening. If you’re a digital camera manufacturer, don’t just track your brand name and the company and product names of your competitors. Listen in on public conversations about topics including “digital cameras” “SLR” and even specific media outlets such as Photo District News. Tuning into this wavelength of relevant conversations that don’t specifically mention your brand or your competitors is a great way to identify PR media targets, influencers, new demographics for targeted marketing, and more.                                                                                                        

Launching a new product isn’t what it was 40 years ago, or even five years ago. The advent of digital media and social sharing has overtaken the “tried-yet-no-longer-true” focus group. Today, social listening is the most sophisticated tool that intelligent brands can utilize when bringing a product to market, helping innovators identify and prepare for possible challenges before they become a reality.

When it comes to consumer electronics, people want what they want. Social listening is key to help sift through the noise, reach consumers and learn how best to satisfy their ever-changing needs and wants.

Will McInnes is chief marketing officer of Brandwatch.