What is Social Listening?
With so many conversations taking place online at any given moment, the information being produced is insurmountable. The chances are, your customers have spoken about your business at one point or another – don’t you want to know what they’re saying? With so many people sharing their feelings and experiences on social media, it provides businesses with the invaluable opportunity to review and engage with their customers via these platforms.
However, Social Listening takes it further, enabling a strategy that will effectively help to build and improve your business’ reputation, manage complaints, track your competitors and much more. So, what is social listening and how do you do it?
What is social listening?
Social listening is pretty straightforward; you track social media for mentions of your company or brand. You’ll also look at relevant keywords, hashtags, industry buzzwords and more. However, it’s how you use this information that counts and begins the process of social listening. By analysing this information, you’ll gain insights which will help direct what actions you need to take.
This data is ultimately a way of ascertaining how people feel about your brand, as well as your competitors. You might find that your brand has plenty of mentions. Are they positive? Did something go wrong? Why?
By monitoring social media you can begin to understand the overall sentiment associated with your business. Then, by taking the relevant action based on this, you begin the process of social listening. So, why is this important?
Why social listening is essential.
It’s critical for any business to know their customers. Businesses that don’t implement social listening run the risk of missing huge insights and will miss active feedback directly from customer’s social media channels, blogs, websites, forums and so on. Having direct channels into your customer’s thoughts and feelings about your business is invaluable; are people getting the impression you want them to have? Do they like what they see? What can you do to improve? This flow of information will help you to shape future decisions, here are useful actions you can take using this new knowledge.
Engage, manage and track.
One of the best things about social listening is it allows you to track the conversation surrounding your brand and provides the opportunity to turn that into a two-way conversation. If someone thinks your products or services are brilliant, why not thank them and foster that positive relationship? On the contrary, if someone has had a negative experience, this can be a great opportunity to turn that around and retain custom while maintaining your good reputation.
People love brands who engage, it gives them confidence in what they’re investing in and will increase the chances of retention and referral. There is a reason that large brands make it their business to analyse and respond to social media mentions – it works! Not only will you create positive feelings in your followers, but it’ll also boost engagement.
Everyone loves to hear how well they’re doing – but you can’t please everyone. The last thing any business wants is an unhappy customer and a PR crisis. But, it can happen to anyone, so we need to be ready to track down these unhappy customers and turn their negative experience into a positive one. Many people like to feel heard, and if you use social listening to target these unhappy customers, you can turn an unhappy review, or opinion, into one of understanding. Disasters happen, and you can only do your best, but how you deal with the situation will make every difference, and social listening will give you a crucial head start.
It doesn’t have to be individual cases either. If you notice trends, or more than a few people struggling with the same issue, whether it’s some minor technical issue or something more serious, it’s a great way of announcing your solution, or address of the problem collectively to all your followers. Many people might be more likely to check a business’ social media than the FAQs section on their website. If you’re social listening, then you’ll pick up on these issues very quickly, and can work toward solving the problem.
It’s not only about your customers – social listening allows you to track your competitors and what people are saying about them. This is fantastic for tracking what your competitors are getting up to. How are they attracting their customers? What are they launching? What are their marketing campaigns like? If you pay attention to these trends, you’ll see how you compare within your market. It’ll also keep you on your toes, allowing you to use this information to adapt to the market and your competitors.
Make it part of your marketing strategy.
Find sales leads.
There are thousands of potential customers using social media every day, they just need to know you exist, ready and willing to solve their problem. It’s ideal that social platforms allow you to identify and track keywords, streamlining the content you’re interacting with.
Help potential customers by sharing relevant information, build trust and confidence with your brand, generate that goodwill and people will be more likely to return it. This is also a fantastic way of uncovering sales leads in itself, a positive and nurtured social relationship can even turn into a social sale.
Discover your customer’s problems.
Any good marketing campaign will explore potential pain points customers may have. Social listening can provide this information directly from your customers in real-time. This could help you to develop and improve on your products or services, and maybe even think of something new!
Any of these changes will inevitably help shape your marketing campaign, whether it’s how your customers receive their information, or exciting updates based on the insights gained through social listening.
With the convenience, ease and popularity of social media, you should be including social listening within your digital marketing strategy. As an excellent resource tool into gaining insights for analysing patterns and trends, it can elevate your business through sales leads, increasing online visibility and much more.