First day at work with Social Listening

Two months in to our Social Listening pilot, it is time for a short status on some findings. The first blog piece on this was back in July.

First of all – wow! Wow for all the various types of Black-Hat SEO and crappy marketing tactics that can be found online. It’s amazing what people actually take time to do just to drive traffic to various sites – traffic that of course has no real value what so ever. They use various content and text mentioning of the Grundfos-brand (and other brands) which of course pollutes the listening results. So a lot of clean-up is needed. Some recent examples:

  • Earlier this week I found a song-writers forum that was hijacked and several posts where added mentioning Grundfos, Sustainable Forestry, Arctic sea…. and “Buy Nike Shoes”! Several links then leads to a Danish company doing web-site development, which then automatically redirects you to a “Nike Denmark Shop”. And my-oh-my, that is the biggest scam page ever! Which agrees with: “Suspicious – This Site May Be Risky!” See the results here.
  • Then you have all the young, good looking girls with an exceptional interest in home improvement, plumbing and… Grundfos pumps. And there are A LOT of them! Only problem is, most have 50.000+ tweets, follows 2, with only 5 followers… Like Margaret Haar: 168.095 tweets, 0 following, 3 followers! Come oooon…. remove “it”.
  • And seriously ALTERNAGY?! You claim to be “The Best Go Green Online Shopping Website in South Africa”. But after 60.152 tweets you have 19 followers – most of them are not even real – perhaps time to re-think your marketing approach? How about some Sustainable Social?

Ahh, that was nice to get that of my chest. Thank you all for listening to my “steam”. Now back to the valuable stuff. Because I am also finding a lot of good stuff, and in addition to regular Brand monitoring, there are three areas which starts to look like use-cases for the future.

New business

We are of course exploring using listening to support business development of a specific solution or project with insights: influencers and thought leaders; customer voices; facts and insights; and so on. Even sales opportunities start to surface as I dig around in various corners of the world. For instance this one from South Africa that I stumbled upon since a local person tweeted about an article in the local newspaper.

The article outlines a serious waste water issue in South Africa, stating: “Two of the sewerage pump stations in Hazyview have been dysfunctional for months, and litres of waste has been polluting the surrounding streams and dams at popular resorts in the area.”

Since Waste Water is an area where Grundfos has expertise and solutions, this could be an opportunity to look further at.

But who do I send stuff like this to? And how do I follow-up? In theory we should have a system and process in place to do this – but we are not in theory-land yet. So my plan right now is to collect more of these stories, and present them to various areas in Grundfos to learn what a more firm process could be how to handle this.

Competitive Intelligence

Then you have the delicate area of Competitive Intelligence. “Delicate” since I’m sure our competitors are reading this right now. It is naïve to think they wouldn’t, I mean if we (Grundfos) can do this, so can they.

So welcome to the show Pentair, Xylem, KSB, Wilo and others! Sorry to disappoint you, but we haven’t really yet figured out the full value of monitoring your Brand conversations. Perhaps since there are so few of them (he he…) but more likely since there is a lot of leg work that first needs to be done, before we can draw out any valuable stuff. All the clean-up that had to be done just for the “Grundfos” brand must of course also be done for all our competitors brands. And that is a mouth-full… Not only do you have the parent brand. Then you have a lot of sub-brands (mainly from acquisitions). And some of the brand names are the same or similar to regular words. So how to extract what matters?

Xylem Cells. Image source: Wikipedia

Xylem Cells. Image source: Wikipedia

Take Xylem for instance. “Xylem Inc” is a major competitor. But it is also “one of the two types of transport tissue in vascular plants” (Wikipedia). This means there are a lot of “xylem” conversations that refers to trees and nutrients that should be discarded. But that’s the easy one. There are also several mentioning “plants” and “water” which is not as easy to discard, since they might actually be valuable. And the Xylem sub-brand “Leopold” is also hard. There are quite a lot of “Leopold’s” out there…

But I am positively looking forward to when we have cleaned up our key competitor data, so we can start looking at things like Share of Voice compared to the Grundfos brand, or perhaps locate insights we didn’t know before.


Before social media the saying was something like “a dissatisfied customers tells 10 of their friends” Then mass-media moved to everyone’s finger tips, and nowadays anyone online can share what they think about a brand to both their 10 friends; their friends; and another zillion other “friends” out there. So needless to say, there is a business case potential if you can discover customer complaint signs early on, engage, and solve it. I have a great example from earlier this summer:

  • It actually started when I was still on vacation, with a customer who complained to his friends in a discussion forum about a Grundfos pump that he claimed was faulty. He had also been on the phone with the local support center, and was not happy with the treatment he got there. The discussion thread exploded with comments from other members.
  • Five days later he starts a new discussion, again complaining that he had just wasted another day trying to get support. And he got a lot of comments again from fellow forum members, suggesting him to take it to the local news etc. The rhetoric was really warming up. But this time I was back from vacation, and my alert system picked up the discussion.
  • I registered in the forum, and responded directly back to the customer, clearly stating I was from Grundfos, and asking him to write to me using e-mail.
  • Long story short, I escalated it internally, and few days later the customer had a new pump. Good comments again in the forum. Case closed.

Now, I cannot say whether the customer was right or wrong, but that has little importance here. The importance of this lies in discovering these types of conversations, and making sure we do everything we can to satisfy our customers. Because everything we do in the open, is/can be seen by all others.

But this will require a new way of looking at customer service in Grundfos – a process that we have not defined as yet. There are tons of questions to answer: What should we listen for? Are there enough conversations? What languages? Who should respond? How fast should we respond? How should we track responses? And so on.

But as soon as I have more in this area I will of course let you know. In the meantime:

  1. If you have any thoughts or ideas, please let me know
  2. Watch out what you say… I might be listening! ;o)

Social Business Lead Consultant at Grundfos

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Posted in Business value, Culture, Platform and tools, Uncategorized
One comment on “First day at work with Social Listening
  1. […] First day at work with Social Listening. […]

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