Over the years, traditional marketing has developed into digital marketing and consumer-generated media is also replacing mass media at a steady pace.
Today’s consumers are more trusting of experiences that customers share about your product and services on social media than your traditional marketing or advertising messages, whether print or electronic.
What is Social Listening?
According to this definition, social listening is monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, product, and more. It allows brands to track, analyse, and respond to conversations about them on social media. It’s a crucial component of audience research.
Why Is Social Listening Important?
Active listening on social media for consumer-generated media is critical for any B2C business that claims to be social media savvy. Here are a few reasons social listening is essential for your business.
- Active social listening is the foundation of your social media strategy. Learning what people are saying about your brand and industry will determine the content you create or curate on social media.
- Through active social listening, you’ll now be able to measure, test, and analyse the performance of your social media activities and integrated marketing campaigns.
- In our digital age, it’s the consumers through social media that shape a brand’s reputation and not the brands themselves. So your active listening on social media will help you find and address damaging conversations about your brand.
- You can also use the feedback and criticisms about the brand you receive through it to help improve your product and service delivery. By showing your consumers that their opinions matter, you’ll build goodwill for your brand and the potential of winning new customers.
- Do you know what consumers are saying about your industry? Do you know what makes consumers happy or unhappy about your trade? Answers to these and much more are from active social listening, and these answers will help you develop your business strategy to make you an industry leader.
- Through active social listening, you’ll also be able to benchmark your performance on social media with those of your competitors and discover areas you need to improve.
- It can help you find critical influencers. These are persons on social media whose opinions of your brand can help sway consumers towards or away from your brand. Develop relationships with these people to gain valuable insight into your products, brand, or industry.
Let’s also look at some interesting stats:
- According to research by Sprout Social, 83% of respondents like when brands respond to questions, and 68% like when brands join conversations. (source)
- Being responsive on social media clearly makes a difference; after all, 48% of customers make a purchase with a brand that responds to its customers and prospects on social media. (source)
- Fewer than 30% of social media mentions of brands include their handle, so by not using a social listening tool, you’re ignoring 70% of the conversations about your business. (source)
- Given that 60% of consumers expect brands to respond within an hour and 68% of customers leave a company because of its unhelpful (or non-existent) customer service, not reacting to those conversations can cost your business actual money. (source)
- According to a recent survey by Clutch, 86% of medium and large businesses surveyed use social listening tools to monitor customers’ concerns, questions and requests. (source)
- Twitter found that 60% of consumers expect a response from brands within an hour, and 68% of customers will leave a company because of its poor customer service. (source)
- A colossal 80% of social customer care inquiries start on Twitter, therefore it pays to be on top of all of your mentions. (source)
- Social listening allows you to be proactive in your media presence, rather than have a limited reactive strategy, and will help to grow your brand as “85% of customers are likely to recommend your company to others after having a satisfactory interaction online. (source)
Do you see why it is essential for your business?
What Is the Difference Between Social Monitoring and Social Listening
According to this article, collecting, identifying, and responding to mentions of your brand is social monitoring. For instance, members of a large company’s social media team might monitor Twitter for @ mentions and respond as soon as possible. Using the data from these individual interactions to draw broader conclusions is social listening. You can use social listening to learn how your customers are doing, what’s trending, and any future trend. So, in summary, social monitoring/social media monitoring is about collecting the data, while social listening is about using this data to inform your broader strategy and approach to business.
How Is Social Listening Measured
Social listening is about much more than just tracking metrics. It’s about gaining insights into what your customers and potential customers want from your brand, and how you can give them that. Millions of posts are made on social media every day. So how can you cut through the clutter and use the data to your advantage? To do so, you need to use social listening to your advantage and measure certain key metrics such as.
Volume of Conversation
Basically, this metric tracks how many times your brand or product gets mentioned on social media. Your conversation volume should rise when running a campaign. In social listening, volumes of conversation are measured. It’s not about quantity, as that kind of measurement doesn’t reveal much, but quality.
Rate of Engagement
Several metrics can gauge your rate of engagement (engagement rate), including the number of replies, mentions, retweets, favourites, shares, etc. Based on this metric, you’ll be able to figure out how likely your posts will go viral and how relatable your brand is as well. Each spike in this metric could signal the start of a social media crisis. We calculate it as the total number of interactions your content receives divided by your total number of followers, multiplied by 100%.Active listening on social media for consumer-generated media is critical for any B2C business that claims to be social media savvy. Click To Tweet
Share of Voice
It compares your own brand’s share of industry-related social media messages with those of your competitors. Your share of voice can help determine the prominence of your brand awareness campaign to potential customers. Most often, it’s measured as a percentage of industry-wide mentions or mentions among a narrow group of competitors. It’s what’s determined when social listening meets competitive analysis.
The larger your social network, the higher the share of voice you get. It’s a good way to build a community with your target audience. Still, it can also tap into other aspects of how you interact with others, such as your link sharing, relationship building or thoughtful engagement. While this data may not show an actual conversation taking place, it paints a picture of the general mood of the community. It is also a great indicator to see what type of topic is being discussed and how influential each voice on social media has become for the time being. This data provides an understanding of your customers and brands that organisations cannot obtain through traditional means.
You could have a high rate of engagement, volume of conversation, and share of voice on social media, but if all the posts are negative about your brand, you’re in big trouble! Monitoring your brand’s sentiment will help you determine whether those sentiments are positive and provide stellar customer service when they are not.
Although sentiment analysis has been around for decades, it was only in recent years that it became possible to employ algorithms to “read” human language by analysing text. This made it possible to measure sentiment in real-time, including support, dislike, agreement, and disagreement among humans instead of just tracking opinions.
People use sentiment analysis to determine if a specific content is liked, shared, or commented on. Facebook has popularised this technique.
Sentiment analysis is about extracting linguistic information from social media posts to determine how people feel about specific topics or brands/products. Despite its potential to provide useful results, sentiment analysis cannot determine whether a post is true or not. Still, it does provide insight into how people feel about specific topics on social media.
The most common type of sentiment analysis involves analysing the words that social media users type into a search bar or on a website to measure how often they use particular words when communicating about a product or service.
To judge your success, you’ll need to compare your brand to your competitors’ social media presences. Besides share of voice and engagement, also consider brand mentions/chatter and the frequency of social media messages. By gauging how your competitors are performing better, you’ll be able to adjust your own messaging and techniques to suit your shared audiences better.Active social listening is the foundation of your social media strategy. Click To Tweet
One of the foremost types of social listening is competitor metric. Advertisers and website owners use competitor metrics to determine if they’re achieving the right amount of social listening within their account. Competitor metrics include how many people shared your post, how many people replied to your comment, or what recommendations you received from other users in social networking forums or other online communities.
The information gathered through social media monitoring and social listening campaigns is then used internally by organisations and externally by companies researching their competitors’ activities.
What Is the Best Social Listening Tool?
This is a question that I often encounter, and as I always say, as, with most things in marketing, it depends. The best social listening tool will depend on your requirements and how proficient you or your team are using the social listening tool. There are several tools to consider, and it is not possible to consider all in a single blog post. But few that come to my mind now are (in no particular order):
- Sprout Social
Disclaimer: The list above is in no particular order and is not an exhaustive list. The mention and the listing of a social listening tool in this post do not constitute our endorsement of the same.The best social listening tool will depend on your requirements and how proficient you or your team are using the social listening tool. Click To Tweet
Do you have questions about how you can put in place or improve social listening in your business? Please contact us. I look forward to helping you reach your target audience and grow your business online.
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