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An Effective Guide to Social Listening for Better Insights
- 06 Oct 2020 7 min read
People talk and discuss a lot of things online. But as a business, one crucial skill you should learn is how to listen.
What are your customers saying about your brand, services, and product? Is it pure positive feedback? What aspect of the product receives backlash? You’ll have to answer similar questions to those either by yourself or with the help of your social media manager. But whatever you read and hear online, consider it as invaluable data that’s going to help finetune your brand.
As a social media marketing agency, we use social listening to help you block out the unnecessary noise on social media channels and listen to what truly matters for your brand.
What is social listening?
Social listening is the act of “listening” to what people—be they customers, bashers, or random users—say about your brand. It’s not just about tracking the number of times your brand gets mentioned in conversations or posts. It’s how consumers feel about your brand.
Our social listening service also gathers insights on your brand by casting a net on relevant content and streams using keywords (yours and your competitors’) from social media sites. It not only informs you about consumer engagement, but it also alerts you on possible collaborations, future campaigns, and products.
Is social listening the same as social monitoring?
No, social listening is not the same as social monitoring.
Though it sounds similar, they are different in terms of how the social media specialist responds to the information gathered. Social monitoring identifies brand mentions or posts for the purpose of responding or interacting. While social listening collects these mentions in order to have a deeper understanding of their sentiment towards your brand and product, and hopefully, address them with improved service or in the case of social media, better content.
In short, social monitoring tells you “what” the customers want to say, while listening tells you the “why” of it. Monitoring is usually the entry point in engaging with your customers.
What is the importance of social media listening?
Social media listening promotes a customer-centric approach in your company which, as a marketer, should be one of your top priorities. There is no better way to know your audience’s pulse but by actually listening to what they say. Rather than making assumptions about what they need, listening to what they have to say will make a great impact on how you do your campaigns.
People share a lot on social media. And if you don’t do social listening, you might miss out on a big insight about your brand that people are discussing on social media. By knowing what your audience wants and needs, you will be able to craft competitive social media content tailor-fit to your target audience.
How to conduct social media listening
Social media listening isn’t complicated if you know what you’re looking for and where to find it. Understand how easy it is to listen to your stakeholders, and from there, seek assistance in improving your action plans to boost your brand. Below is a streamlined, step-by-step guide on how to formulate your social media listening strategy:
- Set your marketing goals.
- Know your audience.
- Learn about your audience’s communities.
- Choose a social listening tool.
- Collate and study your data.
- Devise your social media strategy.
- Devise an influencer program.
Ready to hear your audience loud and clear? Keep on reading to find out how.
1. Set your marketing goals.
Before doing the actual social media listening, you first need to determine what you want to accomplish for your business, in terms of social media. Set goals that align with your vision for your brand, internal resources, and budget.
Talk about what you want to accomplish through social media and what your brand’s general selling point or purpose is. Look back to how social media has helped you in the past in reaching your overall business goals.
More importantly, with the data you gather, what do you plan to focus on? Is it purely for social monitoring, or is it to pave the way for better engagement in a current campaign? Or perhaps you plan to use the data to do solid research for a future project. After you’ve decided on your short- or long-term business goals, you can now identify what you need to listen for.
Start by listing down keywords or phrases you want to track, including those of your competitors. Then pick up sounds or traces of your social media presence by casting a net on different social media platforms.
2. Know your audience.
As a part of social media listening, you have to know who your audience is. Identify your target audience and why you’re targeting them. Know what jobs you can help them with and what problems you can solve for them. What are the crucial events in their lives?
Once you get to know them, start to monitor what they’re saying as part of tracking keywords and conversations. From these conversations, you can start to piece together sentiments, a.k.a. sentiment tagging, or how the audience feels about your brand (whether positive or negative). You can use different social media marketing tools to help you collect these data from various platforms.
Using these tools, you can put together the number of times your brand came up in conversations and determine the underlying sentiment. You can also pinpoint the level of influence of people who talk about it.
3. Learn about your audience’s communities
In addition to getting to know your audience, familiarize yourself with the platform they use and how their presence on these sites help create social media communities.
According to 2019’s social media research, about 3.484 billion Internet users can be found on social media sites and platforms. These billions of users form their unique communities with different characteristics and norms.
It is important to take note that each audience and each platform is unique, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all social media plan for everyone and everything.
For example, conversations are very different on Facebook than on Twitter. Some various rules and features differ in every platform that makes the marketing experience ever-changing. Learn how to navigate these sites and how your product, competitors, and industry are being discussed on these platforms. If you master this, you can quickly formulate strategies to reach specific communities, whether through organic engagement or through pay-per-click ads.
4. Choose a social listening tool.
Finding a suitable social listening tool for your business is an important resource you should be using. This will help you easily search and identify what people say about your brand.
It also provides the amount of engagement found in each result and oftentimes has an alert feature that will notify you when someone mentions your brand or your competitor’s in their social media account.
There are a lot of social listening tools available online which you can use. Each tool has its own unique features that differentiate them from one another. Some of the social listening tools available you can choose from are Buzzsumo, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite Insights.
5. Collate and study data.
Since social media listening is a long and thorough process of data-gathering, you now have a gold mine of data that can help you in both your present and future endeavors. Store that data securely and study them thoroughly.
The information you collect now can assist you in finetuning your brand to be responsive to consumer demands. One of the effects of responding to customers’ reviews or complaints is that it makes them feel included in the brand and process. It builds consumer loyalty and trust: the glue that holds your brand’s image together. Being responsive to consumers can also inspire other buyers to support your product, pulling in more extensive engagement and awareness.
The data you collect can also help you see the bigger picture in terms of how your industry is doing, how you rank among your competitors, and how you can learn from and outpace your competition, without copying their strategies.
5. Devise your social media strategy
After listening hard and carefully, it’s time to put those insights into action.
Determine what you need to do for your brand or business to achieve social media success. Do you create more engagement posts? Do you need a quick response management program? Take your customer’s comments and take them into consideration when creating your social media strategy.
Nobody knows your brand as your customers do.
6. Devise an influencer program
You can also devise an influencer marketing program. Collaborating with social media stars to help jumpstart your brand. This is a very effective social media marketing strategy. Influencers can be a step in the right direction if you’re trying to move out of the traditional channels of engaging with your consumers.
Influencers are identified based on their reach (followers, fans, traffic). They are usually bloggers and celebrities, people who already have a vast following and social media traction. You can use tools to identify the right influencers for your specific business goals and vision for your brand.
Social listening is an important step for effective social media marketing. Customers want to be heard and what they have to say is important for your business. Conduct social listening and be amazed at what people might be talking about your brand. Here are a few takeaways you should always remember:
- Social media listening brings you closer to your audience, which spells a bigger influence on how they think and feel about your brand.
- Where your audience talks about you is crucial. Get to know the places your target audience flocks to. Learn the rules and norms of these platforms, and maximize them to your brand’s advantage.
- Collaborating with influencers can help boost your brand awareness and connect with your audience through the people they are fond of and will likely take suggestions from.
- Data from social media listening can help you now and in the future. This sets a good foundation for plans and a solid footing for adjustments in present engagements. They’re also a weapon you can use to outpace the competition and expand influence.