The power of social Listening: How to literally read your customer’s mind

Does your social media marketing strategy include social listening? 

 Most of the marketers fail to understand the importance of social listening and this negatively affects the performance of your social media marketing strategies. This article helps you to understand about social listening, its benefits, and how to do social listening.  

Social media is a powerful platform for businesses to build strong followership and increase brand awareness. It not only helps you to connect with your existing customers but also aids to reach out to a large section of your target audience. 

However, having a positive reputation on social media is crucial to ensure that your social media strategy yields great results. Any negative brand mentions on social media can wreak havoc on your online reputation and cost valuable customers.  You have to continuously track your social media channels and identify any issues that affect your reputation. And this is where social listening comes into play. 

What Does It Mean to Listen to Social Media? 

Social listening is a two-step process. 

  • The first step is tracking activity that involves monitoring social media platforms for any specific brand mentions, ongoing discussions about brand-specific keywords, competitors, and industry-specific topics. 
  • The second part of social listening involves analyzing the data to get meaningful insights about customer preferences and using it to design winning strategies. 

Most of the marketers confuse social listening with social monitoring. However, there is a subtle difference between the two processes. 

What Is The Difference Between Social Listening And Social Monitoring?

Social monitoring is the process of tracking brand mentions and keyword or industry-specific conversations on social media. It does not involve the analysis part that provides actionable insights about customer behaviour. Social monitoring refers to the search and collection of data about your brand and industry, while social listening refers to collecting the data and analysing it for actionable insights that can help to optimize your strategy and improve customer experience. 

Social monitoring can be used to measure the ROI or for A/B testing purposes, whereas social listening can be used to identify the social media sentiment about your business and industry. 

Why Social Listening Is Important?

Social listening helps to identify the requirements and preferences of your target audience and create content to suit them. You can also identify the prevailing industry trends and alter your social media strategy to fit them. Moreover, it also helps to improve the customer experience as continuous monitoring helps to identify customer concerns and solve them directly with the customers.

Benefits of Social Listening

Most people now-d-days share their opinions and views on social media platforms and online forums. Whether be it about their opinion on the state of the economy or their reviews of brands, they share it all on social media. Hence, social listening is an essential activity that provides with crucial information about customer views and preferences.

Social Listening Aids to Develop Brand Loyalty

Customers prefer to engage with brands that interact with them on social media. As per the latest statistics, 48% of customers prefer to buy from a brand that is responsive to its existing and potential customers on social media. Social listening can be used to track brand mentions and keyword specific conversations on social media and respond to them in an appropriate manner. This improves customer experience and helps to build brand loyalty. 

Social Listening Helps to Maintain Positive Reputation Online

It is not necessary that all of your customers are happy. Sometimes negative issues happen, which can create a wave of negativity for your brand on social media. The way you handle these incidents can make or break your online reputation. 

While a few negative reviews cannot harm your online reputation, there is a problem when the negative reviews outnumber the positive ones. These negative reviews can be genuine or sometimes they can also be planted by your competitors. 

You can use social listening to analyze the incidents and research about their effect on your reputation. You can measure how the negative comments are affecting different metrics such as the number of followers, leads, conversions, sales, etc. the data can be used to determine ways to tackle the issue in a professional manner. 

Explore New Business Opportunities With Social Listening

Social listening can be used to monitor online conversations about your industry. This helps you to identify customer pain points and service gaps in the industry and come up with ideas that resolve them. You can introduce new products or services, or add new features to your existing products to address the customer requirements. 

Social Listening Can be Used to Track Competitors

Social listening can be used to monitor your competitors as well. Know what your audience is talking about the competitors, new product or service launches from your competitors, and press releases about them. It helps to identify your place in the market and also learn from your competitors. 

Identify The Right Social Media Influencers through Social Listening

Identifying and partnering with social media influencers can work wonders to promote your brand. Social media influencers have a lot of followers, who look up to them for advice in matters relating to their expertise. Working with these influencers is a great way to reach out to a large number of your target audience and influence the way they feel about your business. 

For example, if you are in the business of beauty products, you can connect with social media influencers that post on beauty and make-up trends. Social listening will help you to identify them and partner with them to promote your products. 

Social Listening Can Be Used to Generate Quality Leads

Customers do not like to engage with brands that indulge in direct selling or which push their products persistently. Social listening is effective in reaching out to your potential customers and starting a conversation with them. 

You can provide them with helpful information to solve their everyday challenges and establish your credibility as a trusted source. This helps to create brand awareness so when they need products or services from your industry, they will surely remember your brand. 

How To Develop Social Listening Strategy 

Choosing the right set of topics and keywords is essential to ensure you get accurate data from social listening. You have to research the terms used by your target audience and customers when they are talking about your brand, competitors and industry on social media. You can start with a few basic keywords and topics and add to the list as you proceed. 

Here are some of the crucial topics to include in your social listening strategy.

  1. Brand name and social media handles 
  2. Names of your products and their most common misspellings 
  3. Names of competitors brands, products, social media handles and their common misspellings
  4. Trending topics about your industry and latest industry news
  5. Your brand slogan 
  6. Slogans of your competitor brands
  7. Names of your CEO, sales heads and other key members of the business
  8. Branded and unbranded hashtags of your company and competitors
  9. Abbreviations for your product names or brand name
  10. Industry-related and campaign-related keywords
  11. Negative keywords about your competitors
  12. Positive and negative customer feedback about your brand

You have to choose the appropriate social listening tools to ensure that the data you gather from your social listening strategy is actionable. Before we proceed to know about some popular social listening tools, let us first understand what is a social listening tool. 

What Is a Social Listening Tool?

Social listening tools help you to know when someone comments about your brand or mentions about it, even if they do not use your handles or brand name. It helps to collect data and use it to produce insightful reports about your brand health, competitors, industry insights, campaign management, etc. 

There are thousands of social listening tools. However, not every tool is suitable for you. You have to choose a tool depending on the metrics you want to measure, your budget, social media platforms you want to track, and your overall social listening strategy. 

 Some examples of social listening tools 

  1. Hootsuite to monitor keywords, brand mentions, hashtags, social media influencers, brand advocates, and prospective customers.
  2. AdvieW to monitor Facebook and Instagram ads
  3. ReviewTrackers to  monitor online reviews
  4. Talkwalker to monitor blogs, videos, forums, news sites, and social networks
  5. Synthesio to analyse your social reputation and tag mentions
  6. Reddit Keyword Monitor to track vital keywords

How Is Social Listening Measured?

You can choose any of the social listening tools to gather data about brand mentions, keywords, competitors, and industry keywords. The tools gather the required data and arrange it in an understandable and actionable manner for each social media platform you need to track. 

For example, if you are tracking a Facebook campaign, you can use a social listening tool to gather data about customer conversations about the relevant keywords. The data is organized in a streamlined manner to provide meaningful insight into the customer sentiment and the volume of conversation about the campaign. 

How Is Social Listening Used In Marketing?

Social listening helps to connect with your customers and provide valuable information to establish trust and credibility. You can know the latest trends in the industry and keep pace with your competitors through including social listening in your social media strategy. 

Social listening contributes to the success of your digital marketing strategies as it helps to gather quantitative data about customer sentiment, brand health, and competitors. You can analyze this data and use it to tweak your strategies for success. 

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