Social listening has become an important element of social data analysis techniques. We know that consumers spend a lot of time on social media, but what are they saying about your brand? Surveys and the like may allow you to get consumer feedback, but they only reach a narrow audience. As such, many businesses have turned to using social listening to answer the question – but what are they monitoring?
A 2017 study by Clutch revealed how medium and large businesses have been applying social listening:
- Customer requests, questions, and concerns: 86% (of businesses surveyed)
- Competition: 77%
- Brands and products: 75%
- Industry terms and trends: 61%
- Industry/brand influencers: 60%
- Company’s name: 55%
- Company’s executives: 44%
Ignoring the percentages, this list summarizes what you should be doing with social listening: not one or two of the items, but all seven. Let’s look into the benefits of each of them.
Customer Requests, Questions, and Concerns
Social media is one of the few multi-purpose communication channels for brands. Customer service reps often have their own set of tools for managing social media inquiries, but that doesn’t mean social marketers shouldn’t listen to their customers’ comments on social media. By using a social listening tool to recognize the types of concerns and complaints coming from social media, you won’t end up putting your foot in your mouth when engaging in conversation with consumers.
This is too easy. Good marketers are both knowledgeable and wary of their competition. To prepare yourself for success in the competitive landscape, you’ll need to know your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Social listening tools make it possible to learn what people don’t like about their brand and products. After you’ve learned their shortcomings from their customers, you can determine how you can double-down on your competitive advantages. With this, you are better positioned to take market share away from your competition.
Brands and Products
Let’s focus on the product for a moment. Most people only think about brands when they think about listening, but you have to go deeper and analyze conversations about products as well. To do this, you can either employ product category listening (listening to conversations about a specific type of product) or product theming (listening to conversations about specific brands). The former will record your product discussion even if your brand name is not mentioned, while the latter will limit the conversation to your products when your brand name is also mentioned. Both methods have merit, and can be employed in parallel.
Industry Terms and Trends
One method to extend the reach of your advertising is to find a trending hashtag to market under. A good social listening tool will not only tell you what happened, but also help you understand what is emerging, allowing you to find emerging hashtags that align with your brand values and are actively being used by your consumers.
Industry and brand influencers
Influencer analysis is something everyone is talking about, but only a few companies are doing. How do you define what makes a good influencer? Consider the results you want from a potential influencer partnership. Do you want more reach, or more engagement? Are you looking to build positive sentiment about your brand? Finding a good influencer is the key to this, and social listening is the way to do so.
Honestly, I’m surprised that only 55% of people surveyed said they were using a listening tool to hear what people had to say about their own brand. If you’re not listening to what is said about your brand, are you really even listening at all? Consumers buy from brands they like, and boycott brands which are deemed insensitive. Listen to what people have to say about your brand and products, and your customers will notice.
In many ways, society has leveled the playing field for credibility and influence. You’ll want to listen to what competitor executives are saying on social media, as well as how some major executive influencers conduct themselves on social media. Social media is part of the entire buyer’s journey, which means you’ll also need to measure how people interact with your brand’s social content, how they access your website from social media, and more. and finally, the role of social media in the decision to become a customer.