Are you harnessing the full potential of your social media presence?
If you wonder what social media listening is, then we have some news for you – you’re scratching at the surface of what social media can do for your business.
What is social media listening?
There’s a short answer and a long answer to this question.
In its essence, social media listening is the practice of leveraging social media data and analysis to generate insights. You’re granted the full view of your brand as it’s performing online through the eyes of your target audience. It is literally the embodiment of the old saying ‘don’t lose sight of the forest of the trees’ and it’s tempting to lose yourself in responding to social media interactions.
As such, you’re able to monitor crucial processes playing out in real time and influence both lead generation and brand perception.
Why does social media listening matter?
Marketing thrives on data. Answer the question why – Why do customers use a product? Why are they (not) satisfied? Why does a message (not) land right with the audience? Why is engagement on social media at a certain level? – and you’ve the means to power up your marketing campaigns like never before.
Social media listening is about paying attention and acting accordingly, when you have the data to back up necessary changes to your marketing strategy. If you’re going to allot a generous chunk of your budget to the marketing department, why not make sure it’s put to good use.
How to set up your social media listening?
You might think social media listening entails replying to mentions and DMs, and while that’s a part of it, the bulk of it falls onto data collection.
In order to set up any tool, you have to know your audience. No marketing undertaking can begin without understanding the person you’re selling to – in this case analyzing. Buyer personas are the bread and butter of any marketer worth their salt.
Most often, your customer base isn’t a homogenous group with identical values. You’re selling to more than one customer type and your analytics should reflect this.
How to use social media tools efficiently?
There are a few fast-and-hard rules to take into account:
– Don’t think conversations about your brand happen only on the platforms you’re on.
– Do include industry-specific keywords into your mix to gain better understanding of trends in your niche that may influence your marketing.
– Don’t forget about your competitors in your keyword research.
– Do consider more than one tool. There are different tools for different purposes and you may need more than one. Sprout Social can do wonders across multiple platforms, but you might need a specialised tool like Reddit Keyword Monitor.
5 Ways you can use social listening for your marketing
You have gone through all the technical steps, extracted the data and now it’s time to put what you have learned into action.
There are five main areas in your marketing strategy, which can benefit immediately from direct intervention. They vary from short-term fixes to long-term approaches.
Improve your brand reputation
Managing brand reputation is a long-term process. The main challenge most businesses encounter is not knowing their current brand reputation, much less maintain it or improve it.
Here’s a familiar scenario: A company perceives itself as having a positive brand reputation. They’re quite happy with their standing. So they start a social media campaign expecting people to share positive sentiments. The campaign backfires. (McDonald’s, we’re looking at you!)
Social media listening tells you how people really feel about you, so you can steer the narrative.
Be aware of your competitor environment
Remember when we mentioned you should include your competitors in your keyword research? It’s for this reason.
Competitors are the biggest teacher in any industry as you’re not just in direct communication with your customers, but participate in a larger conversation with other brands in the same market. Take cues from your competitors whether they falter or succeed with flying colors.
Social media listening also identifies potential niches that your competitors are not yet utilizing so you can take charge. In business as in most things in life, it’s first come, first served!
Get to know and understand your customers better
You begin this journey with a buyer persona, and you end with something much more valuable – a true understanding of your customers as real people rather than an abstraction. Through active data analysis and intent listening you’re able to figure out how your customers talk about you and what they need from your product.
This goes beyond complaints directed at your mentions or on review sites, but also includes queries on forums and comment sections, competitors’ successes and praise from brand ambassadors.
Measure the efficiency of your campaigns
The traditional way of pronouncing whether a campaign is successful or not is the number of sales leads and conversions generated at the end. Social media listening adds another layer, monitoring campaign engagement in real time through key performance indicators such as likes, favorites and shares, tweets and mentions.
These base metrics chart the overall reach of your campaign and in addition to this, you can further isolate common sentiments and themes in customer responses. We circle back to the all-important question of WHY your campaign does (or doesn’t) work and how to improve those KPIs next time around.
Fine tune your marketing strategy
Marketing strategies should not be set in stone. You either adapt, or you become irrelevant. It’s an informationally oversaturated world out there and if you’re not leading, you’re getting lost.
Social media listening bestows a bird’s eye view of the market, so use it to your advantage. You should be able to adapt and be ready to reconceptualize your message and communication style in accordance to your customers’ tastes and needs.
In the end, marketing is an invitation to talk and what’s more communicative than social media.