Building a strong online presence and following are must-haves for any successful digital marketing strategy. People are constantly online sharing photos on Facebook, posting stories on Instagram, twitting their thoughts on Twitter, and showing off their professional accomplishments on LinkedIn. So, to build a great brand image and strengthen your customer relationship, you need to leverage social listening.
Social listening involves monitoring and analyzing the conversations and trends related both to your brand and your industry. It’s an essential component when conducting audience research, as it helps you understand where, how, and why these conversations happen. What is more, it gives you insights into what users think about your brand, and why they mention or tag you.
From improving your content strategy and designing better campaigns, to outlining a better influencer program, and fostering more impactful partnerships, social listening is a powerful tool that helps marketers make better decisions. It can equip your brand with the necessary knowledge to effectively satisfy your customer’s needs and thus improve your overall marketing strategy.
If you’re not using social listening yet, it’s time you turn the page and get on it. In this article, we’ve prepared some of the best social listening strategies, tips, and tools. So, read on to find out how to capture these useful insights and strengthen your brand.
What Makes Social Listening Important?
From understanding how your audience feels about your brand and what kinds of conversations surrounding it, to keep up with what’s going on in your industry, social listening can be a powerful tool.
Here are 4 ways in which it can help you gain a competitive advantage.
1. It Promotes a Customer-Centric Mindset
Social listening allows brands to create the type of content their audience actually wants and helps remove the guesswork. It is also a system that encourages new content ideas, improves customer experiences, and ensures that your strategy fits the current user needs and trends.
2. It Helps You Provide Thoughtfully Crafted Answers to Queries
Being responsive on social media really makes a difference. Users like it when brands answer their questions and join in on their conversations. According to SproutSocial, 48% of customers would purchase from a business that is responsive on social media. When these responses provide value, they can also spark brand loyalty and boost customer retention rates.
3. It Enables You Improve Your Brand Perception
Incidents happen and it’s not uncommon to see a few rude comments here and there. The important thing is to not allow the negative to overtake the positive. Instead, take this kind of activity as a sign that there’s something you need to look into.
4. It Lets You Broaden Your Reach
Not all of your followers will become loyal customers. They may simply enjoy your content and like you for what you stand for. However, you should still engage with them, because even if they’re not buying from you yet they might mention your brand on other platforms.
As you can see they’re quite a few benefits to social listening. So, if you’re curious about how to use this process strategically then read on to find out more.
The 5 Best Social Listening Strategies
There are various social listening strategies that you can try, and here are five of the most important ones.
1. Improve Brand Reputation
By monitoring your social media mentions, you’ll be able to track your brand’s health and respond to changes early on. If you want to take your strategy to the next level, you need to understand how your brand and your most important products are perceived by the public. This will help you gain a better insight into the feelings people associate with your products/services, as well as any specific traits and features that grab their attention.
The key things to pay attention to are:
- Frequently asked questions.
- Common user issues.
- Things your audience loves about you.
- The positive and negative ways in which your followers mention your brand.
2. Gain Industry Insights
Social listening can help you understand where your industry is headed. When you analyze hashtags and discussions you can pinpoint market and industry trends before they happen. This way you’ll be able to shift your content, product, or general messaging so they can become an important conversation topic as the trends develop. Adapting to the market can give you a nice boost and put you ahead of your competitors.
Make sure to:
- Keep an eye on everything that is going on and that can impact your business.
- Track any socio-political issues so long as they are relevant to your brand.
- Consider if there are gaps in your industry that you can solve with a new solution, or product.
3. Conduct a Competitive Analysis
Social media is a highly competitive channel for businesses. And just like your own brand, you can monitor your competitors’.
To get meaningful insights from your competition, you should start by making a rough estimate of what is the share of your social media presence compared to theirs. Then you can dive deeper into why customers may choose their products over yours, or why their content might be outperforming yours.
Finally, identify new offers that your competitors have and what is the general market sentiment towards them. For example, you can look at keywords, post shares, hashtags, and so on. Take a look into each phase of their customer journey to figure out why some content might be more popular than yours. You can then attempt to adapt those strategies to your own campaigns.
4. Perform a Campaign Analysis
Coming up with a new campaign idea takes a lot of time and without proper insight, you might find it difficult to build a better path and improve your efforts. With social listening, however, you can significantly increase the success of your campaign.
You can track impressions and engagements and see what’s your audience’s general attitude towards your brand. Additionally, you can understand which are your key demographics and themes, identify top influencers that discuss your campings, and track their performance.
5. Monitor Events and Their Performance
If you’re hosting an event, conference, or webinar, it’s important to leverage the mentions that this event will get. Keep track of mentions by titles or keywords and topic terms, speakers, and themes.
Set up listening queries to accompany your event. You can get the full picture of its performance as well as authentic user feedback. This will help you maximize the success of your marketing efforts and capture more leads.
Top 5 Social Listening Tips
Now that we’ve discussed five of the best social listening strategies, we’d like to share five essential tips that go along with them.
1. Never Stop Listening
Conversations about your brand happen on different platforms and in different ways. So, it’s important to know where your audience talks about you and how. For example, brand mentions on Instagram are different compared to those on LinkedIn.
It can also happen that people really engage with your business on Facebook, but not so much on Twitter, or the other way around. Knowing what your prospects are saying about you, where they are saying it, and how they are saying it, will often allow you to have a better idea of how to join that conversation organically.
2. Take Tips From Others in the Industry
To be on top of industry trends, you need to be able to predict what these might be, and one way to do that is by analyzing the conversations of other players in your industry. You can look at both direct and indirect competition – players the same size as you or industry leaders.
This can give you powerful insight into what your next step could be. What is more, you can learn good lessons from them so you can avoid making the same mistakes as they did.
3. Ensure Team Collaboration
Social listening is a strategic tool that can serve all the teams in your company, not just marketing and sales. It can help with gathering a wide range of information that can be useful for product development, customer service, content marketing, and so on.
When you include all your teams into your social listening process you can ensure more effective communication between your brand and your audience. When all teams are on board, you’ll be able to provide faster responses to customer comments and reviews.
4. Show Flexibility and Resilience
A very big benefit of social listening is that brands can obtain real-time information on how their customers and prospects feel about them as well as how those sentiments change with time. Being aware of how users feel about your company at all times will help you monitor and manage any shifts in their engagement.
By keeping a close eye on the online conversations about your brand, you will be able to adapt your strategy appropriately and show your audience that you are always present.
5. Be (Pro)Active
To participate in social listening effectively, you need to remember to take action after you’ve looked at metrics and trends. This is what separates social monitoring from social listening. When you conduct social monitoring you’re only keeping track of brand mentions, user comments, reviews, feedback, and so on. However, when you engage in social listening you are gaining insights directly from your prospects and customers.
Hence, keep track of and analyze trends and patterns and don’t just focus on individual comments. It’s important to have an overall picture of ongoing user conversations as this will give you a better overview of what you can improve in the future.
Social Listening Tools
There are different social listening tools that you can use to help you monitor your online channels. Moreover, most social media platforms offer social listening as part of their services when you have a business account. However, if you want more advanced analytics you should consider using a dedicated tool.
Sprout Social authors management software for social media which allows you to access in-depth analytics and insights through social listening. Additionally, you can take advantage of real-time brand monitoring of brand-specific keywords and track direct messages.
Mention is an analytical tool that can support social monitoring as well as competitor analysis. It can analyze pages across multiple languages and offers the option to track your content’s performance across platforms. It also lets you benchmark your brand against a few competitors to ensure that your copy is always unique and relevant for your audience.
HubSpot can help monitor social interactions as well as help businesses connect with the right people. The tool also allows you to link data from social media with contacts in your database in order to create custom keyword monitoring, email alerts, mention notifications, etc. Hubspot can also help manage marketing campaigns. It automatically shares posts and finds out when is the best time to post.
Buffer is a social media planning tool that can help you create a well-rounded Omnichannel experience both for your team and your users. It has a centralized dashboard that lets you follow different conversations easily and join them whenever you want. It helps you monitor your teams’ performance, plan and track social media campaigns, and measure audience engagement and behavior.
Hootsuite has a social listening and monitoring platform that helps with social media marketing management. This software allows you to see all the comments, messages, and brand mentions across different channels and helps track popular topics being across your industry and competitors.
Social listening can give you powerful insight into how your brand is perceived online. Users are unafraid of sharing their opinions online, and the more positive their experiences with your brand are, the better your reputation will be.
This practice is more than just keeping track of mentions, hashtags, and post shares. By attaching meaning to these metrics, you can understand your audience better and therefore update and improve your future marketing efforts.
We hope you enjoyed learning more about social listening and the importance of leveraging it effectively. And remember: people want to be heard and listened to, not just talked to.
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