Social listening tools are constantly evolving and new features are being added continually. For that reason, it’s now easier for businesses to use them across departments to grow their business.
Time to delve into the world of social listening!
What is social listening?
Social listening is the activity of collecting mentions from the Web, including social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube), blogs, news outlets, and other sites. This means that when someone posts the exact phrase you’re monitoring somewhere on the Web, you know about this in real time. You can track any keywords of your choice, such as your brand name, product name, or phrases people use when looking for your product.
Here’s a classic example of what social listening looks like in real life:
Gotta love Tesco Mobile for that answer, but gotta love them even more for the fact they picked up that conversation in the first place – notice they’re not tagged, so no “@” sign, and their handle is @tescomobile and not Tesco Mobile. This means they are most likely monitoring the phrase “Tesco Mobile”.
What metrics should you focus on?
One of the key metrics you should consider is the volume of discussion about your brand.
Two stats to look at here are the number of mentions (marked in blue) and Estimated Social Media Reach (marked in green). These tell you how many times your keyword was mentioned on a particular day, and how many people potentially came across that content.
It’s super simple to spot any out-of-the-ordinary events because you can see spikes in your dashboard. This usually means that either you were mentioned by an influential site or author, or you were mentioned by numerous individuals with a smaller following.
What’s in it for me?
Social listening has a number of applications – here’s a quick roundup of some of them.
1) Increase engagement
Creating quality content is a must, but engaging your audience is equally important.
As most brand conversations happen online, being able to engage in conversations related to your industry means you can increase your social media reach and find new customers. Remember it’s a long process which doesn’t happen overnight, but it should be your goal to build relationships with your audience.
2) Protect your reputation
Find people talking about you in social media, presenting you both in good light…
… and talking about you during the not-so-happy moments (high five to Zendesk for picking up this tweet!):
3) Sell your product in social
According to LinkedIn report, “more than 70 percent of sales professionals use social selling tools, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, making them the most widely used sales technology”. Being able to optimize these tools to find online conversations centered around your niche saves time & allows you to be more effective.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a SaaS tool, a hotel, or a childcare product – people are asking for recommendations of what you have to offer. We’re no exception here at Brand24: in fact, Quora is one of the best sources of traffic for us. Here’s a sample answer our Community Manager Gloria wrote:
There are also people looking for project management apps…
…and business cards:
All you need to do is to show them that you have exactly what they’re looking for. The good news is you’re saving time and energy you normally use to market to people at the very top of the funnel and you can focus on those actively expressing interest in what you have to offer.
4) Find influencers to work with
The phrase “Influencer Marketing” has been around for a while, but do you know how to work with influencers to make the cooperation truly beneficial to your audience?
First of all, you need to make data-driven decisions to select the right people to work with and constantly evaluate the results of your influencer marketing campaigns. Some social listening tools come with influence stats you should look at too see if someone is a match for you. Find out more about boosting your brand with influencer marketing in this post.
5) Get to know your audience (and how they use your product)
You can see your product in its natural environment which can be an important source of information for you because you see the context. Here’s a couple of examples I found based on tracking company hashtags.
3-D printing industry:
And beauty products:
Some of the user generated content (UGC) you may come across is so good it can be shared in your official social media channels. Not only does it validate what you’re doing, but it’s also free of charge. Make sure to let the person posting pictures of your product know that you’re sharing them and engage in conversation to build relationships. If they’re sharing pictures of your product with a positive comments, they may like that you’re reaching out.
6) Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns
There are a number of ways to do that – one of them is to create a unique, campaign-specific hashtag and monitor it. This way, you can discover exactly how much traction your campaign got and WHO engaged with it.
You should also see an increase in the quality and quantity of online conversations about you in your social listening project.
Your move. There’s so much more you can do!