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Why Social Listening is More Important Than Ever

3 Mins read

Whether you’re a virtually unknown startup or a multinational corporation, you’ll have an extremely difficult time getting or staying ahead without knowing what people are saying about you. That’s where social listening comes in. 

Social listening is the process of monitoring social media platforms for customer feedback, direct brand mentions, and discussions regarding your brand, your competitors, or your industry. It enables brands to keep up with the nonstop discourse happening on social media and respond.

According to a recent survey by Social Intelligence Lab, 89% of respondents say the data they glean via social listening is either high quality or very high quality. In an age of 24/7 media, there’s a good chance people are talking about your brand. The essential question to ask is whether you’re listening to what they have to say.

Keep an eye on social media for relevant keywords

The information available on social media sites can prove invaluable to your brand, and you can use it to enhance your brand’s product development, marketing, and customer service. Before any of this can happen, however, you need to start listening.

Social listening tools monitor mentions of specific words or phrases on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. These tools let you tune in and hear everything people say about your brand online. For example, social listening tools can send you a real-time notification whenever your brand or product name is mentioned online.

Your first step involves creating a list of terms that people may use to describe your brand when they participate in conversations or make posts on social media platforms. Your company’s name, specific product names, entire product lines, common typos of your brand name, and variants on your brand name are all examples of popular branded keywords that should make your list. Keeping an eye on these terms provides insight into what people say about your business and opens new lines of communication.

You’ll also find it tremendously beneficial to track your competitors’ keywords. Knowing what people are saying about your competition can give your brand great ideas on how to improve your products and customer experience.

Finally, it’s also essential to monitor the most popular search terms being discussed by your target audience. By tracking what people are saying about trending topics in your industry, you have the opportunity to improve your marketing and ultimately increase sales.

Process the data and take action

Social listening is active listening, which means every conversation is an opportunity. Just as you would in your in-person conversations, social listening requires your brand to listen attentively, understand what people are saying, reflect on what’s being said, and respond.

Your brand’s data collection should always be followed by analysis and action. Social listening enables you to react rapidly to every issue as it arises. Your response may be as simple as responding to a single customer’s issue online, or as complex as rethinking your brand’s entire messaging.

Social listening is all about keeping in touch with your target market and learning more about their wants and needs. Online, customers often describe the problems they have with a brand, and how they want those problems fixed. Social listening gives you a head start in tailoring improvements to meet their needs.

Social listening is also about building relationships, as it provides your brand with valuable openings for communication and engagement in online spaces. The best responses make your consumers feel valued and heard, so make sure you respond with a personalized message each time.

Essentially, social listening enables you to respond on social media, and your brand’s responses on social media matter. Sprout Social finds that 46% of consumers believe active social media engagement is the key to establishing a leading online presence.

Your customers expect a reaction from you, but the goal is to use social listening to carefully construct responses that actually add value. Those are the kinds of reactions that boost customer retention and encourage brand loyalty.

Resources that make social listening possible

Most brands simply don’t have the time or resources to analyze every nook and cranny of cyberspace for customer comments. Luckily, social listening software can monitor the chatter about your business and report real-time findings.

Hubspot provides a social listening solution that your brand can use to launch campaigns, disseminate content, and analyze social media. Additionally, the platform allows you to build up custom keyword streaming to monitor online brand mentions in real-time.

Hootsuite is another helpful social media monitoring application. This social media dashboard compiles all the mentions of your company across a wide variety of channels, making it a breeze to manage your online reputation.

Finally, Sprout Social provides software that can track keywords and mentions of your brand in real-time. The program has built-in social listening features that brands use effectively to keep tabs on media trends and boost their participation on social media platforms.

Using social listening gives your brand a window into what your target audience is saying about you, your competitors, and your industry. The insights you gain into what people think about your brand and products help you improve your customers’ experience, uncover difficulties that consumers are having in real-time, and fix those issues swiftly. 

Chan Desai is an account strategist for Otter PR.
If you want to find out more about social listening and how you can benefit from it, contact the public relations specialists at Otter PR.  

Social stock image Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

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