When people moved from traditional media to the digital, it was natural for brands to adapt to the change. Conservatism wouldn’t fly in this new economy; the “resist and diminish” mentality dictates that those who resist change eventually die out. So to reach the market, businesses turn to one important aspect of social media—Social Media Listening.
Social Media Listening is the act of tracking conversations or “online chatter” about certain topics. The chatter may focus only on a select business (largely practiced although not recommended) or could include the whole industry. Note that we use the word “act” to emphasize that social listening is active and requires in-depth analysis.
Sprout Social cleared the confusion surrounding social media listening. Often used interchangeably with monitoring, listening is more concerned with getting insights from social media chatter to help brands strategize. Monitoring, on the other hand, simply refers to collecting data and providing responses in real time. Therefore, monitoring initiates the two-way conversation between your brand and customers, while listening helps you keep the momentum, use the conversations to provide better services in the future and amplify business objectives to your customers.
Leveraging the power of social media for your business by employing a gamut of social media listening tools is an effective way of getting your product out to prospective clients. It also ensures that relationships are fostered well and would persist through time. Read on to discover more potentials of listening for your business.
Important Aspects of Social Media Listening
In 2016, we mentioned that businesses need to get into social media to expose themselves in a heavily wired community. Our story hasn’t changed since then because social media gets your customers’ sentiments across to you. Good or bad, their chatter helps you chart actions to attract or retain customers.
The pound sign, commonly known as the “hashtag (#)”, is used to find content associated with a certain topic of interest. For those in the dark, hashtags can help businesses measure overall engagement as it is used to “connect with users, buyers, and fans” and track mentions.
Listening devices or tools then capture the collection of these mentions. These tools generate thematic labels from engagers’ sentiments in what is called “sentiment analysis” or opinion mining.
Uses of Social Media Listening for Businesses
Tracks “Brand Health”
With social media listening, you can see how your brand is doing online and how this translates to overall brand reputation. While it’s true that digital brand health is not the only determinant of success, it’s a crucial aspect that dictates marketing efforts.
Some brands look at volume of mentions to measure brand health, and while this is good, remember that quality usually trumps quantity here.
Brands also diagnose their health by sticking to labels; grouped or “labelled” sentiments are can be positive, negative, or neutral. Positive sentiments give you feedback on what the audience loves about you (a newly published feature, a new product, your influencers, etc.); negative sentiments give you an insight into pain points (what they don’t like about you and what isn’t working for them); and neutral sentiments influence future developments. The bigger picture reveals itself once the unnecessary chatter or “noise” is lifted and analyzed.
Helps with Content Creation and Scheduling
There’s the proverbial adage “Content is King” which rings true to this day. What generates good engagement for your social media assets is great content. Some brands “crowdsource” content ideas to produce gripping content.
Here’s an example of how one brand pulled this off; restaurant chain Arby’s launched the #Saucepocalypse campaign as a direct response to the market’s frustrations about Arby’s “elusive” sauces. The posters published effectively used satire, but more importantly, showed their market that they listen (and they listen well).
Another aspect worth noting is scheduling content. To reach the maximum number of people, know when to share at the right time. We call this the ‘peak time’ and listening identifies your audience’s peak time for you.
Understand that you are already competing with so much just to get your audience’s attention, so make sure that you make their time worthwhile by engaging them in content that resonates.
Observes Industry Movement
As a monitoring device, social media listening can help you see the course of your industry—where it’s heading and what it could be dealing with in the future.
In the beginning of this article, we mentioned that it’s important to not limit your listening to just your brand, so looking at the periphery including competition will help you understand strengths and weaknesses that cut across your industry.
Peripheral listening helps businesses be aware of the latest trends in their industries. Like wise and discerning marketers, you are ready to handle emerging market behaviors.
Bridges Communication between Brand and their Customers
If there’s anything that customers hate more than being marketed to, it’s being marketed to by unfeeling robots. By assessing emerging market-sentiment, social media listening helps you effectively dole-out appropriate responses to queries or comments. This ensures that your team responds like humans to encourage the response of an organic market.
Listening also saves your digital research team hours of manually sifting through the digital clutter. With the extra time on their hands, they could focus more on what would bring your company significant benefits, such as providing quality and timely responses to your customers’ queries, comments and feedback.
Helps with Strategy and Product Development
Brands also use listening to unearth their customers’ preferences and augment their products based on these comments. Sure, you could do internal product testing before launch, but what your customers say ultimately determines whether features and innovations actually work for them.
One famous brand that successfully converted digital chatter to their strategic advantage is the multinational computer company, Dell. In 2007, they formed a digital community called Idea Storm with the intention of incorporating customer ideas to their products. To date, they have implemented over 550 different customer ideas to their products, influencing Mashable to liken their initiative to an effective “suggestion box”.
Convenient, cost-effective, and unhindered by usual research limitations, social media listening cranks up traditional research to get market intelligence and impact product developments in a more speeded up manner. This makes sure that you get to listen to what your customers want and apply the features they highlighted when they need it.
Social media listening allows businesses to monitor their ROI, but more than that, it provides insight into human triggers and market drivers.
Need a team of experts to harness the potential of your social media marketing initiatives? Drop us a message today!