Over the years, it has become obvious that social media marketing is an excellent strategy to grow your business. Through social media, you can attract a new clientele for your business, build your brand and engage your customers on different matters, which ultimately helps you improve your business.
However, several social media platforms exist, each with so many ongoing conversations, which may make it a bit tricky to keep track of your brand mentions and conversations related to your brand. That is why social listening comes in handy.
What is Social Listening?
Social listening tracks your social media platforms for conversations related to your brand and brand mentions, followed by analyzing these conversations and mentions for insights to help you discover opportunities to act. The end goal of social listening is to get information that will help you further improve your business. As such, it is a two-step process.
Step 1: Step one of social listening involves the monitoring of social media channels for
a. Mentions of your brand
b. Mentions of your competitors and affiliate companies in your industry
c. Mentions of your products and products related to your company
d. Keywords related to your business
Step 2: Step two of social listening involves analyzing the information gathered for ways to put it into action. The actions may be as minute as responding to a customer to something as huge as changing your entire brand positioning.
While social listening and social media monitoring may sound similar, the two differ. Social media monitoring strictly involves looking at and collecting data about metrics such as brand mentions, industry trends, competitor mentions, and relevant hashtags. The data on these metrics can be useful to a business for monitoring the business’s return on investment.
Taking action in response to the data collected begins the social listening process.
How does Social Listening works?
Understanding how social listening works is crucial to ensuring that you do the correct thing to benefit from it fully. To carry out social listening, you need social listening tools. The social listening tools help to collect the data available on your social media platforms. The data collected is not just confined to your brand information but also that of your competitors.
Depending on your business’s needs, you can gather information for a specific period or gather it in real-time. Additionally, you can choose to track mentions in particular languages or from specific countries.
The data collected during social listening is based on keywords or phrases such as your product name or brand name to gather as much relevant information as possible. You can also choose to exclude certain words or phrases that may interfere with your social listening goals.
Mentions are then analyzed to get a grip of their author’s sentiment and are then classified as positive, negative, or neutral. The classification is usually based on tone, among other factors. You can also include categories during the analysis process to get a gist of what your customers talk about most when mentioning your product or brand. Their opinions on the packaging, pricing, or availability could give you a rough idea of what they want.
Getting set up for Social Listening
Social listening is only as good as what you are listening for. That means that you have to choose the right keywords for your brand. The keywords and topics you monitor are likely to change over time. With social listening tools, you should learn the kind of words people tend to use when talking about your business and industry as a whole. The words people use should be integrated into your social listening since you will get a sense of the kinds of insights most likely to be useful to you.
The list below shows some important keywords and topics to monitor from the very start of your social listening process;
- Your brand name and your social media handles
- Your product name or services, common misspellings included
- The slogan you use for your brand
- Your branded hashtags
- The names of key people within your company
- Your competitor’s;
a. Brand name
b. Product names or services
c. Social media handles
d. The slogan for their brand
e. Branded hashtags
f. Names of key people
- Buzzwords in your industry
- Campaign names and keywords
- Unbranded hashtags which may be related to your industry
4 reasons to start using Social Listening
Social listening allows you to listen to the people, thus promoting a customer-centric mindset in your business. Rather than assuming your customers’ needs and wants, you can hear exactly what they have to say about your brand, and from there, you can pick on the things you need to change or improve for your business. Below are four reasons for using Social Listening.
1. Customers like responsive brands
People sharing on social media usually want to feel heard. The same applies to those who talk about the brands they have interacted with. Engaging your audience on social media will make your brand shine in the online world. Being responsive on social media will make a tremendous difference for your brand since you can positively influence consumer behavior to benefit your business.
You can use social listening to respond in a manner that adds value to your customer and business. Valuable responses will elicit brand loyalty and consequently increase customer retention rate. You can use Socialays to follow comments made on your pages, analyze them and react in real-time for you so that your audience does not feel ignored.
2. You can track your brand’s growth by social listening
Social listening can help you track your brand’s growth by checking how customer sentiments affect followers, sales, and other metrics important to your business. If the growth is negative, you can take serious measures to correct issues leading to the decrease in growth. Negative comments are likely to affect the growth of a business.
3. Social listening can help you discover new opportunities
The conversations surrounding your brand can help you identify what things need to be changed or improved in your business. Your customers can provide you with insights that may help you improve your products or even service delivery. You would not be able to note all these without social listening.
4. Social listening can help you increase customer acquisition
Social media holds very many opportunities that will broaden your reach to prospective clients. Your audience does not only consist of your loyal customers. It also consists of people who enjoy your content. You can capitalize on your followers by listening to their conversations about your brand to rope them into your business as new customers.
Social Listening tips
Once you have decided to use social media listening to your business’s advantage, you need to know how to take full advantage of it. Below are some of the best social listening tips.
1. Listen everywhere
You need to find out all the avenues in which your audience is talking about you. To make this possible, you will have to cast a wider net to catch all these areas. How your audience talks about your brand on one platform may completely differ from how they do so on another. The frequency differs too. This knowledge will give you direction on which conversations to join organically or by paid advertisement.
2. Take lessons from your competitors
You can always learn something from businesses you compete with, especially from what people say about them. Additionally, you can pay attention to the things they are doing right and what people say. You can then use this information to pinpoint where they misstep and go wrong and use that as a gap to improve your business. It is much easier to learn from other people’s mistakes than make all the mistakes yourself to learn from them.
3. Collaborate with others
Social listening provides a variety of information that is useful for the growth of a business. However, this information may need to be tackled by different teams of the company. As such, sharing what you learn when social listening with other teams and seeking their input will help your company as a whole. Collaboration within the company ensures that all parts are running smoothly.
4. Be adaptive
The social media space changes all the time. When you start to collect social information during social listening, you will get a sense of regularity in the way people talk about your brand and the sentiments they hold. In that case, it would be easy to note when there are changes. A major change in engagement or sentiments about your brand could mean that people’s perception of your brand has also changed. Therefore, you need to understand the reason behind the change and adapt your strategy to the change.
5. Take action
Social listening is not complete unless changes are made based on the information acquired during the monitoring phase. Social listening is more than tracking metrics. It is gaining insights into what your clients and potential clients want from your brand and giving it to them. Therefore, rather than analyzing individual comments, you can analyze patterns and trends to get comprehensive insights that will most definitely have great effects in guiding you during future strategies.
Social Listening tools to us
Many available tools can be used for social listening in the market. Below are tools that will help you monitor all your social media platforms with ease.
Socialays is the best social listening tool that can be deployed by any brand. It automatically reads all your social media comments in real-time and categorizes them under neutral, positive, and negative sentiments. Socialays efficiently helps you have better control of your comments and takes instant reactions for you! It usually auto-checks, hides, or blocks users with profane language and sends instant notifications on mentions.
It’s AI technology helps you understand your comments faster, better and guides you in making more accurate decisions with just a single platform. You can never miss any social media comment or message with Socialays. It lets you see them before anyone else does. Would you not like having someone keeping an eye on your social media on your behalf? Try Socialays and revolutionize the way you run your social media accounts.
Hootsuite is another popular social listening tool that you can use to set up social media streams. Once you set up these, you can monitor conversations, mentions, keywords, and hashtags. Additionally, you will be able to respond to conversations or mentions as soon as they happen from one dashboard.
With Hootsuite, you can follow social media influencers, your brand advocates, and potential clients. You can reach out to them when you need their help spreading your brand awareness or collaborating on your campaigns.
Brandwatch powers Hootsuite Insights. In addition to what Hootsuite can do, Hootsuite Insights goes further to give you data from 1.3 trillion posts in real-time. You can save keywords to find meaningful trends and filter your searches for specifics such as demographics, dates, and geographies.
Hootsuite Insights allows you to attain deeper insights into your brand’s sentiments worldwide by visualizing sentiment around your brand in auto-generated word clouds and meters.
A view is a social listening tool tailor-made for Facebook and Instagram ads. You can monitor multiple Facebook Ad Accounts due to this specialized focus on three different accounts across unlimited pages. Additionally, you will see the analytics behind your ads on Facebook and Instagram to see the one getting more engagement.
ReviewTrackers is a social listening tool that allows you to monitor reviews. You can monitor reviews from over 50 review sites such as GoogleMaps and TripAdvisor within 15 minutes of posting. You can get a better experience with ReviewTrackers when integrated with HootSuite since you can analyze the reviews in-stream and filter them. Filtering will help you manage the reviews that matter to your brand the most. You can also share great reviews of your company on all your social media networks.
If you are trying to find a social listening tool to help you analyze blogs, forums, news sites, videos, review sites, and social media networks in a single dashboard, Talkwalker is the tool for you. Talkwalker draws your data from over 150 million sources. That way, you can monitor the conversations around your brand while at the same time analyzing the engagement, reach, comments, and sentiments behind them.
Synthesio is a social listening tool that tracks conversations on very specific topics in segmented audiences. What Synthesio does is that it allows you to tag mentions by language, demographics, location, sentiment, and influence. Their reports come with a social reputation score which can be very handy.
As an app, it is very good for collaboration since you will assign mentions to other team members to have them analyze or resolve them at your discretion. In a situation where you want to democratize social media in your company, this feature is great.
Your audience is an important factor in your social media listening. Audiense is a social listening tool that allows you to identify any audience regardless of size. The Audiense app can create reports which will tell you what an audience is discussing, what they like and how they think or behave. With the help of its audience manager, you can find and understand specific audiences, which will, in turn, help you choose an audience that is a perfect match for your brand.
You can use Mentionlytics to track mentions, sentiments, and keywords across several languages. The Mentionlytics social listening tool can easily help you find influencers across social media networks and online sources. Their monitoring algorithm combs through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, among other social networks, along with news sites and blogs for mentions.
For tone and impact of conversations, you can social listen using Brandwatch which usually monitors the tone and impact of different conversations in various data sources including blogs, News, Videos, Reviews, forums, and social media networks. Additionally, it allows you to set up email alerts that let you know when conversations are happening. That way, you are unlikely to ever miss out on a single conversation related to your brand.
As a social listening tool, HubSpot offers a social media product that helps you prioritize your social media interactions and connect with the right people. Additionally, you can;
a) Build marketing campaigns
b) Automatically share content to different social media platforms and
c) Discover the best times to post
HubSpot also allows you to monitor social interactions with your database, in addition to creating custom keyword monitoring streams and triggering email alerts that let you know when your prospective clients mention you. You can also compare the performance between your different social media platforms and keep track of all the visits and leads you to get.
Sprout Social is a social listening tool that helps you access in-depth data analytics. The data analytics you access from Sprout Social can help you make informed strategic decisions, streamline and improve your engagement efforts, publish your content and uncover trends and insights.
Additionally, Sprout Social has Twitter Listener dashboards and reports that analyze your Twitter presence. The platform uses real-time brand monitoring to track brand-specific words and direct messages. It offers advanced social listening that can help you notice influencers and emerging trends.
Reddit is one social media platform that sees over 120 million views a month. It has web forums that have in-depth discussions and reviews. As such, conversations on Reddit are good sources of social intelligence. Reddit Keyword Monitor is an app that can help you monitor unlimited keywords across the platform.
Why is Social Listening important for brands?
It is important for brands to adopt social listening as a strategy. Here is why.
1. To build brand reputation
What people think about your business can make or break it. Social listening allows you to know what people are saying and actively take part in the conversation. That way, you can correct negative impressions before they blow up by quickly responding to disgruntled customers and solving their issues as they arise. This not only curbs the blow-up of bad publicity but also shows your business as good at customer service. Social listening allows you to be a part of your social media presence proactively, and for that, customers will likely recommend you to others due to a satisfactory interaction online.
2. Improve engagements
Social listening allows you to be attentive to what people say about your business and brand, and as such, you will build and curate a community around your brand. By replying to mentions and using the insights offered, you can engage more in your brand’s conversations. Analyzing these conversations can further guide you to creating a workable strategy and also help you correct mistakes on the strategies applied.
3. Provide customer insights
You can use social listening to analyze data from your social media accounts to help you learn more about your current and prospective clients. Things like what they think about your brand, what they like about it, and what they don’t can provide you with an insight into their common interests, which can help you understand your market context. A proper market context will help you cost-effectively test brand assumptions and thus help you justify future campaigns since you know exactly what makes your audience tick.
4. It opens up a chance for good influence partnerships
You can use social listening to find social influencers and influential journalists in your business sphere. Social listening tools can help you easily identify influencers in your industry worth approaching by searching their bios and posts. Having such a target approach is an easy way to build relationships and help you widen your market reach.
5. Data can be used to drive campaigns
The data obtained during social media listening is very helpful in informing the direction of your social media campaigns. You can use the data to drive your marketing campaigns. You can look at how previous campaigns performed and use that information to change or improve it.
Social listening is among the best ways to grow your business. Knowing what people are saying and what they want can provide you with the information to improve your business. The many social listening tools in the market have made it easy to follow what people are saying about your brand, your business, and the industry you are in. Do not assume. Use social listening to know exactly what your audience desire.