In a recent chat with a potential client, I asked them what social listening strategy they used.
I realised that even though they were somewhat active on social, they didn’t have a strategy. All that the client was doing on social was a hit or miss affair.
Social media is here to stay. So adopting the right social listening strategy is key to growing your brand in our digital age.
The importance of social listening prompted me to write this article to explain what you need to do. So without further delay, let’s get started.
What is Social Listening?
According to this definition
Social media listening is the process of identifying and assessing what is being said about a company, individual, product or brand on the Internet.
Social listening will help you identify trends which you can use to grow your business.
Social media listening and social media monitoring are terms used interchangeably, but there’s a subtle difference. Social media monitoring is about identifying all the likes, comments, shares, etc. related to your brand, etc.
Social listening takes social monitoring to greater heights. With social listening, you’re able to discover trends and use these trends to build strategies and tactics.
Why You Need Social Listening
Proper social listening will help you identify and address the following:
Customers either online or offline can make claims about their experience with your brand. An appropriate social listening strategy will help to highlight these complaints. Then you can adequately address these complaints.
Customers give compliments about your brand not always in your presence or as a testimonial. Sometimes these compliments made behind your back so to speak. But with a robust social listening strategy in place, you’ll be able to fish out such compliments.
Then, thank the person (where appropriate) for sharing a positive experience with your brand. Taking the time to thank the person might even help you win more clients over to your brand.
Social listening will also help you discover backlinks to your site or content. These type of backlinks are invaluable in helping you find out content your customers like. You can then produce more of that type of material.
Re-tweets and Mentions
It’s a good practice to take note of re-tweets and mentions. Knowing the source of these re-tweets and mentions on social will help you identify your advocates. Reach out to thank them and build stable business relationships with them.
Doing so will also make it possible for you to seek their help in the future. For example, when promoting any new content, you’ve made that will appeal to followers of your advocates.
Social listening will also help you discover conversations where people have questions and concerns about you. Hearing these conversations gives you an opportunity to address these questions promptly. Some of our followers like to pose questions directly to us on their preferred platform.
Their questions sometimes form the basis of new content we create. For instance one of our followers on Twitter posted a question. The answers to the question formed the basis of a blog post. You can learn more about this here.
When You Need Social Listening
Having a robust social listing strategy in place 24/7 is ideal. A healthy social listening strategy is, so you don’t miss any mention of your brand. It can lead to a new customer or an opportunity to address a complaint. An excellent social listening strategy does not mean that you’re on your computer 24/7.
There are significant social listening tools available these days that you can invest. I don’t like to mention specific products here on my blog. Instead, I leave such recommendations to my one-on-one consultation sessions with my clients.
Over the years, I’ve seen some great tools come and go. And like I usually tell my clients it’s not the tool in particular that matters. It’s the skill of the person wielding the tool that makes all the difference.
Feel free to contact me if you want to know some tools I use and recommend.
Use @yourbrandname (replace ‘yourbrandname’ with your actual brand name) in search fields. On social platforms like Twitter, etc. this can show you results of users who mentioned your brand. But this method alone will not give you the whole picture!
Only a small percentage of users on social media talking about your brand will use this method.
Another way you can listen for mentions of your brand on social is to use hashtags, i.e. #yourbrandname (replace ‘yourbrandname’ with your actual brand name). This method and the at-mention method above are the two most simple and most popular methods.
Brands use these methods for social listening.
Most social media platforms allow users to use the above two methods for social listening. However, these two methods alone don’t give you the complete picture. To get the big picture of your brand mentions on social media, you’ll need to aggregate.
Use the above methods together with standalone mentions of your brand, i.e., mentions of your brand without the use of the @ and # symbols.
Standalone + Location
Using the standalone method above and mentioning your location also helps to yield better results.
This way you’re sure to weed out any brand mentions that are similar to yours. But not within the same location. Removing identical brand names makes your social listening more accurate and specific to your brand alone.
Using all four methods mentioned above will help you get a complete picture of your brand. Combining all these four methods is what proper social listening is all about.
Doing social listening is not easy. A lot of social media managers rely on tools to automate the process.
Tools yield a more accurate result and reports. Using excellent social listening tools is ideal for best results.
Adopting a comprehensive social listening strategy and tactics will help you discover any potential negative impressions. Either from existing or potential customers of your brand.
A robust social listening strategy gives you a chance to address any issues before they blossom into something more embarrassing for you.
Encourage your customers to leave reviews of their experience with your brand on social platforms. Reviews will help to create awareness of your brand. Reviews will also spur your staff to give customers the best experience they can with your brand.