In today’s increasingly digital business environment, we have millions of customers talking about the brands they interact with, their products, and the customer service issues on social media. Also, as people have become more accustomed to digital marketing, as opposed to traditional forms of advertising, they are even more trusting of the reviews and comments other people share on social media, blogs, forums, and the internet, as a whole. This is why social listening is so essential.
But what exactly is social listening? One of the best ways to answer this question is to compare it to social media monitoring. While some use social listening and social monitoring interchangeably, there are several key differences between the two. People use social media monitoring to keep track of all brand mentions and relevant conversations. In the majority of cases, they do this to engage with their audiences whenever necessary. Social listening, on the other hand, is more complex. It’s typically used to track specific topics, brands, keywords, niches, and audiences across various social media platforms to gather data.
To put it somewhat differently, social monitoring identifies and responds to individual social media brand mentions. In contrast, social listening collects data from these social mentions and various brand-specific customer conversations. That data is later used to generate actionable insights to help in more informed decision-making.
Another comparison that you need to take into consideration is between social media listening and web monitoring. Also known as brand monitoring, this process is somewhat similar but, instead of focusing on social media, it tracks brand mentions on different channels such as blogs, news, articles, forums, videos, review sites, and more. However, social listening only tracks brand mentions on social networks by using hashtag monitoring or when a brand is tagged.
Armed with the type of information social listening can provide, you will be better positioned to understand your niche, target audience, determine which type of content works best, and build a better overall social media strategy.
Using Social Listening to Understand Your Target Audience
Social listening can help companies learn important information about their target audience. This can include things such as their online activities, as well as their preferred social networks. It also helps companies understand what their audiences think about certain topics and their overall sentiment about the brand. In addition, social media listening helps businesses understand their audiences’ wants, needs, interests, pain points, and various questions they may have based on the content they read and share. This also includes questions they ask openly, and their overall sentiment towards different keywords and topics.
Create a Better Content Strategy
By learning as much as possible about your audience, you will also be in a good position to understand how your social content management should be implemented. In other words, you will know what type of content resonates better with your audience through a combination of both social media listening and experimenting. Basically, you’ll be creating different types of content and see which one performs best. Social listening also helps you to find what topics and hashtags your audience uses the most. This means that you will know what exactly you need to be talking about and what hashtags to use in order to reach as many qualified leads as possible.
Facilitate Your Influencer Marketing
While influencer marketing is a great tool to have at your disposal, identifying the right social influencers in your industry still proves to be a significant challenge. Micro-influencers (those with around 10K followers) are an excellent way of building your brand’s reputation with the right audience, generating better engagement rates, trust, and sales.
An automated social media listening tool can help you identify any potential social influencers without the need to spend countless hours of manual searches on multiple social channels to do so.
Track Your Brand Mentions
A major benefit of social listening is the ability to track brand mentions across social channels, making sure that you discover all comments directly or indirectly related to your brand. This is critical if you want to stay on top of everything that people remark about your brand on social media. When you do this, you will be able to respond to these mentions as soon as possible, acknowledging positive mentions while also doing damage control on negative mentions.
As more and more customers prefer to address their complaints on social media than to send emails or make phone calls, it’s in every brand’s best interest to keep an eye out for these social mentions and respond to them as soon as possible. It’s also important to keep in mind that people judge their brands by how they respond to these complaints.When businesses respond quickly and professionally, they will keep their customers and help get new ones. It also stops any unfavorable discussion from getting out of hand and spreading, resulting in all sorts of negative effects.
Discover User-Generated Content
User-generated content can be a very effective and affordable digital marketing strategy. Happy customers will tend to post photos, videos, and other types of content that showcase your products in action. Social media listening will allow your personal relations and marketing teams to find this content to use as part of your own social content strategy.
Since consumers tend to trust other people’s recommendations, particularly if they come from friends, family, or influencers, finding and repurposing user-generated content will allow you to promote your brand and compete with other companies without having to rely solely on more expensive forms of advertising.
Conduct Competition Research
Competition research is yet another great tool that businesses can use to their advantage. There are several ways to conduct this type of research, but social listening can often tell you more about their personal relations and marketing strategies than simply looking over their website. With social listening, you can gain a wealth of information on your competitors, such as their product positioning, marketing strategies, product development, key customers, and more.
You can determine their strengths and weaknesses, and see what works for them and what doesn’t. While social media listening is predominantly used to track and measure your own messaging, it never hurts to use it to see how other’s actions influence their customers’ sentiment.
Improve Your Products
Another benefit of social listening is that you can determine your products’ strengths and shortcomings. Any insights that you uncover when you track social media conversations related to your products, can guide you on what future enhancements to build into your new ones. Companies can also recruit customers through social media to participate in various product trials. In addition, they can monitor their social media activities and measure their product’s success based on their customers’ reactions.
Even companies as large as Blockbuster or BlackBerry failed to keep pace with the rapidly changing market and are now history. Social media listening can help identify any of these emerging market trends and customers’ preferred product features. Using social media analysis for market research can help supplement traditional market research in the form of surveys, interviews, and focus groups that reflect the sentiment of small groups of people at a given point in time.
The drawback of traditional research is that the data it gathers is often skewed, selective, and time-constrained. On the other hand, social media analytics can produce the same amounts of actionable data in mere days, as opposed to months, as is the case with conventional research methods. Also, since no one prompts the opinions expressed on social media, they are far more likely to reveal the real situation.
If your business has a social media presence, you should integrate social listening into your overall social media strategy.
Knowing what people are saying about your brand, products, industry, or competition, you will be in a far better position to dictate the direction in which to focus your marketing strategy, as well as what improvement to make to your organization.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that social media listening requires some degree of automation and robust technology to accurately and effectively collect and measure data. Nevertheless, many social listening users consider that proper measurement still poses a significant challenge. Therefore, the right technology, such as is the case with eclincher’s Reputation Management add-on tool, will grant you access to all brand mentions across social news, blogs, videos, forums, reviews, and more.
With it, you will discover exactly how people feel about your brand, thanks to its sentiment analysis capabilities. You will uncover trends and conversations based on hashtags, keywords, phrases, and brand tags all across the web and social media. Don’t hesitate to start your 14-day trial right now for free!