Social Listening 101: Why Your Business Needs It & How To Get Started
Conversations on social media can happen anytime, anywhere, and all at once.
It really do be like that sometimes...
A follower could be praising your brand on Twitter, while another one could be sharing (largely negative) feedback about your product on Facebook. Moments later, a nearby competitor just launched a new social campaign, all while a media outlet features yours (maybe without you even knowing).
How great would it be to have supersonic hearing so you could know everything that’s happening in and around your business in real-time?
Enter, Social Listening!
Social Listening can help you stay on top of what is being said about your business and pretty much anything related to it—no superpowers needed. In this article, we’ll explain what social media listening is, how it can benefit your business, and how to get started!
OK, so what is Social Listening?
We made a brief mention of this concept in last week's blog post, but that was only in passing. Today, we're going all in. Social Listening is defined as the continuous monitoring of social media and online channels for conversations about your business, product, or service.
It also often includes tracking industry keywords, trends, and topics, as well as news about your competitors.
The information you gather is then analyzed and used to discover opportunities for your business to take action: from something as simple as replying to a tweet to something as drastic as changing your social media strategy altogether.
What’s important about this process is that whatever action you take has to be strategic—it can only take place after you have carefully studied the data you collected.
The Benefits of Social Listening
There are many ways businesses can benefit from practicing Social Listening on the regular. Let’s take a look at some of them:
1. Manage Brand Health & Avoid Potential Crises
Your business is being talked about, whether you know it or not.
It could be your followers or a random passersby on social media. It could happen on any number of platforms, forums, or even blog post comment sections.
The discussions could be good or bad, but no matter which way they go, these conversations can influence your brand health, reputation, and—ultimately—your revenue.
A key benefit of Social Listening is that it gives you the ability to monitor all of these in real-time, allowing you to jump into conversations quickly to either leverage positive sentiments or take charge of negative situations before they can turn into a fiasco!
2. Get an Edge Over Your Competition
As mentioned earlier, Social Listening also involves tracking the conversations surrounding your competitor. In doing so, you’ll be able to gain a deeper insight into their marketing strategies and how their customers are reacting to them.
When you put together all the information gathered, it can help you identify the weak points and gaps you can take advantage of. Likewise, you’ll be able to pinpoint where they are doing better and use it to reinforce your business’s own strategy.
3. Gain Product Intelligence
Social Listening is one of the best ways to uncover consumer pain points. By collecting and analyzing feedback, reviews, and opinions, you get an idea of the solutions that existing and potential customers are actually seeking.
As a result, you can modify an existing product or service to better solve your customers’ problems. Similarly, you can create new offerings that are more aligned with what your target market is truly looking for.
4. Oversee Trends & Possible Collaborations
Social Listening allows businesses to get a high-level view of the sentiments and movements in their industry. As a result, they can easily spot any piquing trends, popular news, or possible collaborations.
Right off the bat, this data is very helpful for content creation. But it can also help research divisions, design departments, and PR & influencer teams improve or come up with new ideas.
5. Foster Meaningful Engagement
Most importantly, Social Listening gives businesses a better understanding of the kind of conversations your target market is having about your business. It shows you how you can best approach these discussions and how you can add even more value to them.
As a result, your interactions become more relevant and meaningful, which are important pillars in creating authentic relationships and nurturing loyal customers.
How To Get Started
Now that we’ve talked about what social listening can do for your business, we bet you’re raring to start using it. While it may seem daunting (not to mention expensive) to try to keep eyes and ears on nearly all social channels where your brand might be mentioned, in practice it’s actually quite simple.
There are four key steps to social listening:
1. Choose a Tool
There are many Social Listening tools and software available, making your job way easier. Tools like Hootsuite and Sprout Social are some of the most popular ones today.
In researching which tool your business should consider, take a look into the platforms they monitor and how many keywords, phrases, and topics you can track at once. The more capabilities, the better.
2. Identify Your Keywords
There are billions of conversations taking place at any given time online. But it’s not important to listen to all of them—just the ones that are relevant to your business.
This is why it’s important to choose the right keywords to get a good sense of your audience’s sentiments and the discussions happening around your business. To do Social Listening effectively, filter out the noise by using the appropriate keywords, topics, and phrases.
3. Pick Your Platforms
The internet is a whole universe in itself, which is why you’d want to identify the specific platforms that matter to your business and your target audience.
A good practice is to start by placing most of the emphasis on the platforms your business is already on, before expanding to other ones over time if needed.
4. Analyze & Take Action
Gathering data is just one part of Social Listening. Analyzing all the information you collected is vital in revealing actionable insights that can lead to your business’s growth.
Social Listening can help you uncover some of the most valuable information available to help build your business. We hope this article helped you better understand what it is and how you can start implementing it in your strategy.
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