Social Listening has been around for quite a while, but many brands are still late to the game in leveraging this highly valuable technology to inform go-to-market strategies.

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The most wonderful time of the year is upon us and while it is a time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for and give to others, it never fails that this is also the time of year more grievances than ever are aired on social media. One way brands can attempt to receive less social media grievances is to use social listening.

A great example of how a brand could’ve used social listening to inform a go-to-market strategy is with Aldi’s Wine Advent Calendar. In September 2017, social media was flooded with the news that Aldi was releasing a wine advent calendar, complete with 24 mini bottles of wine, totaling the equivalent of six 750ml bottles. What was not readily apparent, and was met with great disappointment, was that the wine advents would only be available in the UK.

You can see the trend of conversation (both positive and negative) from the announcement in September through the end of November. Overall, the conversation contained around 2.1k posts during this time period.

These social media conversations was primarily happening in the United States and United Kingdom.

 

Unknown countries occur when users have not indicated a country on their social profile, such as Twitter.

 

Social listening tools give you a better sense of where your brand stands with customer sentiment, especially regarding big announcements like holiday products and promotional sales.

Seeing the demand this announcement created in the United States, Aldi announced in August 2018 that the wine advent calendars would be coming to the United States. This created a spike in conversation volume and was largely positive. In addition to the announcement, Aldi informed customers that the calendars would be available on November 7.

What Aldi did not properly account for was the significance of the demand, with almost one thousand tweets around the announcement in a three-day period, not to mention the conversation happening on Facebook pages that cannot be tracked due to API limitations.

Fast forward to the days leading up to the release, the release itself, and the days after. Negative sentiment took a strong spike, along with having a more prominent piece of the pie, decreasing overall positive sentiment from 95.4 percent to 64.1 percent.

For context, a common goal for positive sentiment is around 85 percent, although this can vary and change depending on your brand, industry, and benchmarks.

The spike in conversation was largely driven by people reaching out directly to Aldi to complain about the lack of wine advent calendars that each store was given. Throughout my research for this post, I saw users claiming stores to have as few as three and as many as 21. Regardless of the quantity, every store appears to have:

  • Sold out immediately
  • Had lines form as early as 6 a.m. for a 9 a.m. opening
  • Handed out vouchers for the quantities they had

There were also multiple claims that stores didn’t adhere to the “limit one per person” requirement.

 

Another interesting tactic that Aldi used was sending the wine advent calendars to influencers it had recently worked with, with the ask that they post about it on their Instagram Stories. A local influencer in Kansas City was among those asked to share, and had a flood of direct messages about the calendars. In Kansas City, Aldi stores (on the Missouri side) received 10-12 advent calendars and, like the other complaints said, there were lines and the product essentially “sold out” before the store even opened its doors.

So, what could Aldi have done differently? The answer seems simple, which is to have its stock better meet the demand for the wine advent calendars. The other thing Aldi could have done was be more responsive and transparent with its customers both leading up to the release and in its aftermath on all social channels. Many long-time customers have sworn off the store due to how poorly the situation has been handled.

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While we can’t predict the future, it’s reasonable to expect there to be an increase in the supply next year. It just makes practical sense that if you create a product people love, you should try your hardest to meet the demand for that product or risk throwing away profits and creating opportunities for competitors to steal that market share by providing similar products with a better experience. Social listening tools give you a better sense of where your brand stands with customer sentiment, especially regarding big announcements like holiday products and promotional sales.

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