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July 24, 2017

What is social listening and why does it matter

Published: 24 July 2017 

Is your business trying to get a deeper understanding of your audience and industry?

Have you ever considered introducing social listening as part of your strategy?

What is social listening?

Source: Brandwatch

Social listening, otherwise referred to as media monitoring, is a method of researching social media platforms to observe what is being said about your brand. This goes further than just looking at the notifications. For example, you also need to monitor social media engagements. For example, if you’re looking at Twitter, most people will make mention of your brand without actually using your username in the tweet. If you’re just analysing direct mentions, you’re missing out on most of the conversation that is happening about your brand. Social listening goes deeper than just number of mentions. It analyses the overall mood of the mentions. This gives businesses an idea about what impression they are making on their competitors and target audience.

Despite social listening being extremely useful for brands, it is being shockingly underutilised. The Altimeter group found only 42 percent of businesses use social listening to learn from their customers.

Why should you care?

So why should businesses even bother with social listening? We found the benefits your business can get from undertaking social listening.

1. Obtaining information about your customers

Source: Clout Spoken

The more information you know about your customers, the more accurate your marketing can be, which will then benefit your return on investment (ROI). You can use social listening to find out exactly what your customers think of your brand. If you’re not delivering on expectations, customers are likely to be vocal on social media. By monitoring this, you can change your strategy in order to improve customer satisfaction.

2. Compare yourself to the competition

Social listening gives you the chance to not only see how people perceive your brand but what their impression is of the direct competition. This gives you the chance to change your strategy if you are able to identify gaps that you are not filling.

You can also get an idea of your competition’s strategy and see how it differs to yours. Are they delivering on an area that you are not, and perhaps an area you hadn’t even considered before? By observing this through social listening you can expand and alter your marketing strategy if necessary. It can also give you reassurance that your strategy is on the right path if you feel you don’t need to alter it.

3. Cover new areas

Monitoring your activity as well as the competitions will help your team identify potential areas of growth. You will be able to identify gaps in your industry which aren’t being addressed. Is there something you can tweak to address the needs of the customer or introduce a completely new product or service? By expanding, you will be able to increase the customer satisfaction.

4. Identify influencers

You want to have a good idea of who is involved in your industry as a whole. After all, you want to be able to make connections with those who are highly influential. Social listening will give you the chance to establish who those influences and authorities are. To be able to increase your level of authority, you want to reach out to these influential businesses. After all, a connection with an influencer essentially acts as a referral, which will increase your social proof and therefore increase your customer following too.

5. Find the right social platform

Facebook is the most popular social media platform, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put most of your time and energy into it. Social listening will give you an idea of what social media platform most of your customers utilise. If it’s not Facebook, it doesn’t make sense to spend all your time on it. Maybe most of your customers will use another platform such as Twitter, Instagram or even LinkedIn. Track your mentions and engagement to find out where the majority of your customers are posting. This will help you to know what platform you should be using to engage in conversation with your customers.

How you can do social listening

So now you know the benefits of social listening, you’ll need to know how you can set up your own social listening strategy.

The first thing you’ll need to learn is what keywords you should be using for social listening. As you continue your social listening strategy, you’ll get a deeper understanding of the exact keywords you should be looking for and using. However, when you start out, certain words and phrases you can look up include:

  • Your brand name
  • Your brand’s slogan
  • Services you offer
  • Your competition’s brand name
  • Slogans of your competition
  • Hashtags you or your competition use
  • Names of workers in your business

Starting off with these phrases will allow you to discover the keywords customers and competitors within your industry frequently use. Once you know these keywords, you will be able to expand your social listening strategy and use it to your advantage.

Got any social listening tips? Let us know in the comments.

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

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