The number of conversations being had on social media at any given time is huge. They billow and wave with trending news and can cover all topics from parents sharing old photos on Facebook to endless debates about political issues on Quora.
Social listening (also known as social media monitoring) is a way of tapping into these conversations and gaining valuable insights and data out of them. This blog post will take you through all of the different aspects of social listening and how you can use it to your advantage.
Social listening is the process of gathering data from different social media platforms on a certain topic. The data is then analysed to determine trends and useful insights. This can then influence a range of processes including business operations, marketing strategies and product refinements.
It’s not an entirely new concept, it’s just that technology has changed the way it’s carried out. Businesses have been trying to gauge the general public’s opinion with surveys for decades.
But, social media now means that there’s no need to prompt people anymore. They are talking about everything online, so now it’s just a case of finding the conversations.
When it comes to social listening, a typical word to track would be a brand name, but the possibilities go far beyond just that. You are also able to track mentions of your competitors and specific hashtags. And, despite its name, social listening can go far beyond the social media platforms.
There are many social listening tools that can monitor websites, forums and blogs (we’ll outline our favourite tools a bit further down the article).
When it comes to running a successful business, making informed conclusions is vital because it promotes a strong customer-centric mindset. Rather than making assumptions about what your customers want, you should listen to exactly what they are saying across social media and the web.
And, the great thing is, people are not afraid to voice their opinion, whether it be about a trending meme or a breaking piece of news. So, it comes as no surprise that they do exactly the same about the brands they are passionate about.
Here’s some of the major benefits of social listening.
Customers like to be heard when it comes to voicing their opinions on social media. This is why being responsive makes such a big difference. After all, almost 50% of all customers make a purchase with a business that is responsive to its customers and prospects on social media.
They want you to respond to what they have to say, but there’s a bit more to it than just that. It’s about using social listening to craft branded responses that create real value in the eyes of your customers. These types of responses will prompt brand loyalty and help increase retention rates.
Social media holds an incredible opportunity for broadening your reach to prospective customers. After all, your social media followers are not just your customers, but they are people who enjoy the content you publish.
By using social media listening, you will be able to discover the types of content that those who follow you enjoy by viewing their posts and hashtags. Then, you’ll be able to create content accordingly that matches their tastes and draws them in further to becoming paying customers.
Sometimes brands face serious issues and PR disasters. And, if this happens to you, it can cause waves of negativity across your social media accounts. It’s very easy to ignore some rude posts every now and then, but you’ll run into trouble if the negative posts outweigh the positive ones.
This is when social listening really comes in handy to track conversations. It will enable you to research and determine whether the rise in negative comments has led to a decrease in followers, overall engagement or whatever metric you choose to investigate. Only then will you know what measures to be taken in response.
When it comes to social listening, your customers and followers essentially do the work for you. If they start complaining about your brand or start praising 1 of your products, this is something to take note of. Rather than simply observing their comments, you can use social listening to act on them.
You are probably already aware of the key influencers within your niche. However, depending on the industry you operate in, there could be hundreds of influencers that you know nothing about yet. Furthermore, new influencers pop up all the time, so it’s important to keep a lookout.
Social listening helps to identify new influencers as soon as they emerge. This is important as it allows you to reach out and create relationships with them before your direct competitors do.
Choosing the right social listening tools can help boost engagement, brand awareness, improve your influencer marketing efforts and allow you to keep track of your competitors. The right ones will give you access to what people are saying about your business or industry across the social media platforms and the wider web. Here’s some of our favourite social listening tools.
Hootsuite is a great tool that allows you to view all of your brand mentions, comments and messages across various social media platforms from a single dashboard. You can also track leads and influencers and export the information as an excel spreadsheet that you can share with others. The company offers 3 different plans so you can find a solution that best fits your requirements.
Keyhole is a social listening tool that focuses on Twitter and Instagram. It allows you to track users, brand mentions and hashtags across both of these platforms. Additionally, it offers a brilliant heat map tool that shows how your brand mentions differ across the world. What’s great about this is that it allows you to understand your target audience more, where they are from and means you can interact with them more effectively.
HubSpot is an incredible tool that allows you to build fully integrated marketing campaigns and provides more than just a simple social listening tool. It offers a piece of inbound marketing software that helps social listening become part of a wider digital marketing strategy.
Mention is a social listening and web monitoring tool that focuses on “real-time” search data. But, historical data is also available for those who request it under their custom plan option. Apart from social listening, Mention can help you discover Instagram and Twitter influencers that are relevant to your brand.
BuzzSumo allows you to see how many impressions and shares your social media posts generate on a certain domain. Additionally, this tool helps you gain insights about each of the Facebook posts you publish. It is even sophisticated enough to suggest what the best times to post are and how long your posts should be in terms of characters.
Brandwatch is one of the most powerful social listening tools in terms of the insights and analytics it provides. On top of the social listening aspect, Brandwatch offers API access, image recognition and demographic data that can be exported into customisable PPTs.
Sprout Social is a social media tool that offers solutions that will ultimately improve your social media interactions with customers and prospects. With the help of Sprout Social, you’ll gain access to in-depth data that will help uncover trends and insights. Additionally, the tool uses “real-time” brand monitoring so you can track specific brand keywords and in-bound messages.
Talkwalker is a great tool that offers a set of social listening features that analyses social media networks, blogs, news sites, forums and even videos all from 1, easy to use dashboard. This tool is able to draw data from 150 million sources, so you are able to monitor a large number of conversations whilst observing the sentiment behind them.
Scaling your social media by using social listening can be challenging due to the sheer amount of conversations happening all over the internet. But, as industry experts, we can help manage all of your accounts, effectively engage with your target audience through the use of social listening and find opportunities to help grow your business.
If you would like to find out how we can help you, then please get in touch with our expert social media marketing team. Call us on 01702 619 139 or visit our contact page today!