Do You Hear That? A Look at Social Listening for Brands | Social Joey
Have you ever heard the old wives’ tale that if your ears are burning, it means someone is talking about you? While we have to venture that is probably only a myth, when it comes to figuring out who is talking about your business, that would be a really nice superpower to have!
Thankfully, we have the next best thing: social listening. Keeping track of what people say about your business on social media networks is the modern-day equivalent of burning ears, and it is super useful, too.
By getting real and unfiltered feedback from your customers, you can gain a better idea of where you stand in the market and what people have to say about what your brand is doing in the space.
What Is Social Listening?
Social listening refers to the process of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand and your products. Plus, you can also employ a social listening strategy to keep track of what people are saying about your competitors and your industry as a whole, to get further context on consumer feedback.
From there, you can analyze the information you find for actions you can take, whether that be responding to a customer, pivoting due to feedback or altering your business strategies to better position yourself within the market.
What Businesses Think About Social Listening
For the businesses that are already using social listening strategies, their feedback speaks for itself. More than 82% of those surveyed view social listening as a key planning element for their business, and research has found that most businesses use it to monitor their brand’s reputation as well as general awareness of the brand.
Many people report that a social listening strategy is a great tool to utilize for keeping track of general industry trends—keeping a “finger on the pulse” as it were. Because so many people are on social media, social media is where things happen and how you can learn about key events and overall sentiment.
How a Social Listening Strategy Can Help a Brand
If people are talking about your business and your industry as a whole, it is in your best interest to know what they are saying. Here are some of the benefits of a social listening strategy for a business:
Better understanding of your audience. Knowing who your customers are and what they want is a smart business decision—and social media can let you know how to figure this out. You can often gain valuable insight into how customers are using your product, why they love it or what they wish it could do, all through how they post about it on their social channels.
Increased industry intelligence. Knowing your industry is so important, and with so many of life’s conversations happening on social media, that is the place to go for valuable insights. Understanding what people say about you is just one element of social listening—it is also key to understanding what people are saying about your competition and your industry as a whole.
Further insight into what people want. People use social media for nearly everything these days, including providing valuable insights into what they want from brands. From website critiques and product feedback, chances are, if it is an issue, people will be making mention of it somewhere on the web.
Opportunities to avoid crises. No business wants to get “canceled” or otherwise slandered online, but it is inevitable that negative feedback is going to happen at some point in a business’ life cycle. However, with a social listening strategy, you can monitor these kinds of conversations in real-time—so if you notice a negative sentiment brewing, you can address it quickly before it has the opportunity to get out of hand.
Positioning as a helpful figure. Brands should most definitely not use social listening as a way to butt into peoples’ conversations with a hard sales pitch. However, you can use the strategy as a way to position yourself as a helpful figure in an organic way. Determining what conversations are happening can help you build helpful information into your content marketing strategy, so that you have helpful (and non-salesy) insight to share at relevant times.
Tips to Optimize Your Social Listening Strategy
Social listening is certainly a time commitment, so if you are going to implement this strategy, it is important to make the most of the time you invest! Making sure you are listening for the right things is vital—some key ones to keep track of include:
- Your brand’s name and social media handles
- Your product names
- The names, handles and products of your key competitors
- Industry jargon and relevant buzzwords
- Names of key leadership in your company
- Any branded hashtags you use
- Hashtags relevant to your industry
In addition, it is helpful to know where your customers are talking about you so you can be sure you are listening in the right places. For example, some brands will be big on Twitter, while others might have crickets on Twitter but see a lot of insight on LinkedIn.
This is another scenario where it is so important to know your customers, so you can know where they are spending their time online.
Do I Need Tools for a Social Listening Strategy?
While there is a whole host of helpful tools out there that can make your social listening strategy more streamlined, if you are just getting started, there is no need to invest heavily in the process until you figure out what your needs are. In the beginning, you can often get by with simply searching for your brand, relevant keywords and hashtags on the social media channels you use in order to get a feel for what the conversation looks like.
Additionally, Google is a fantastic resource for social listening. Searching for your brand, setting up Google Alerts for relevant keywords and looking into your competitors is something that any business can do for free to gain valuable insights into current conversations surrounding their brand and their industry.
If you are ready to get more active on social media, we are here to help! Our social media marketing packages are designed to put you at the forefront of the conversation—contact us today for more information.