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In modern times when everybody has easy access to mobile phones and the internet, social media has become a part and parcel of consumer lives. While it is the go-to place for communicating with peers, one can also resort to social media platforms to express their love or hatred for a brand.

Brands should take cognisance of the issues faced by their consumers and avert negative comments through the comments of the supporters, not only through the brand’s social media handle but also leverage influencers to create a good image of the brand.

Speaking on the importance of social listening, Sameer Jain, VP and Head-D2C E-commerce, Max Life Insurance, said, “I can't emphasise the importance of listening to your customers or prospects enough and I think every brand can do more than what they are doing today in terms of trying to understand what's working for them and what’s not.”

He further went on to add that often in the pursuit of chasing business goals, brands tend to forget the qualitative aspects. “For example when you launch a new marketing campaign, it might give you a certain surge in business, but there would still be some undercurrent which you will not notice unless you really have your ears to the ground which is the key to open as many channels as possible and keep that information flow going,” he said.

As per Ishika Bhargava, Content Creator and Co-founder, Promoty, “Social media listening has been a problem for years and there are a lot of companies who are trying to understand it.”

“When I think of social media listening, I think of it a little differently in relation to influencer marketing. I’m a content creator myself, so, I credit all of my success to social media listening. When I began posting regularly, I not only explored trends but also found out what resonates with my audience and how to get more audience to follow me,” she said.

She added that the reason why social media listening is uncontrollable is because there are so many agencies involved and when a brand actually works with an influencer, they never talk to the influencer directly but through the agencies and when anyone jobs off, their tie to the influencer is broken.

Commenting on the future of influencer marketing, Bhargava stated, “The future of influencer marketing should be that the brands should connect to the influencer themselves and right now it's very complicated. Hence, I came up with Promoty to help create direct links between brands and influencers and help them track the metrics of their influencer marketing.”

Adding to this, Jain also pointed out that having a social listening analytics tool is the basic thing that any brand can do. He also emphasised that one of the pitfalls for the insurance industry was during the pandemic when a lot of companies engaged in fear conversations as people are dying which led to them having a very negative reputation.

Furthermore, Bhargava also threw light upon the fact that usually, it is the brand that approves the content that goes out through different influencers. “But if there is some kind of negative feedback from an influencer, be it any negative review or experience of a company that they do not professionally work with, the best way to tackle it is through the superfans and supporters who have been following the brand for a long time,” she said.

As per Jain, there are several brands who are trying to mitigate damage on social media platforms.

“Today, when you look at brands, it's not just your one single experience but it is more like an experience for everyone you know, and that is what social media accelerates. Even if someone posts a story about going to the restaurant and shares positive feedback, their followers are going to get influenced,” stated Bhargava.

Commenting on the two things that brands can do to protect themselves from negative comments or negative listening on social media, Jain said, “Being mindful of the campaigns that one is doing along with the content that is going out can help but there are always going to be negative sentiments, no matter how the brands respond to it.”

Adding to this Bhargava also stated that his brands have a strong superfamily of people who support the brand, they take it to themselves to fight the negative feedback.

“You can try your best, but you can either fight that army with all your positive supporters or try and take out all the fires, and I believe in raising an army,” she said.

She also pointed out that when it comes to social media, the way one can communicate with a GenZ is going to be very different than communicating with a millennial or a baby boomer.

“Content creators are experts in this field and they know exactly what can go viral on their page, what will get the product to sell on their page, etc. So, as long as you're keeping the brand’s motives and guidelines in mind, the way is to outsource creators and they will create fabulous content for the brand which will resonate well with the brand’s audience base,” she said.