What do your customers think of your brand? What do your customers expect from your product? What are they saying about your competitors? Social listening exists to help you monitor, analyze and respond to conversations on the web that concern your brand and your company. It is a key component of audience research.
What exactly is “social listening”?
Social listening is a two-stage process.
In the initial stage, you monitor social media channels to gather data. You search for references to your own and competing brands, your product or service and more generally, any keywords relevant to your brand. You observe what was said before, during and after events such as product or service launches, or even a company crisis.
During the second stage, you analyze this information and seek ways to put what you learn into practice. The action taken may be as simple as replying to a satisfied customer. In other cases, however, it may involve something as important as changing your brand positioning.
This “action” component is what distinguishes social listening from standard social media watch.
What purpose does social listening serve?
To quantify the impact of campaigns on social media
The value generated by social listening extends beyond gathering valuable qualitative feedback from users. It can also be leveraged to quantify a campaign’s ‘social’ resonance. This enables us to introduce ‘social’ performance indicators – such as the engagement rate or the number of references/comments – in ROI calculations and adjust social media budget allocations accordingly.
To identify how people feel about your brand
The most effective use of social listening combines analyses of quantified data and social media sentiment. The aim is to determine what people really think of you and your competitors, rather than simply counting the number of times that your name is mentioned.
Understanding user sentiment regarding your product, brand or campaign is becoming a decision-making parameter. In particular, it is a factor in defining the level of effort invested in product development or marketing. This enables you to immediately respond to positive or negative messages, in order to create a buzz or manage a crisis.
To anticipate and differentiate your marketing strategy
The key takeaway is that social listening is a forward-looking activity, with a crucial role in shaping your strategy and routine operation. Harness this competitive advantage to:
- Adjust and manage your strategy in real-time,
- Learn what web users are saying about you and your competitors,
- Discover pain points and be the first to tackle them,
- Develop new sales opportunities,
- Identify influencers and brand ambassadors.
In short, if you do not use social listening, your marketing strategy will have major blind spots. Real people are talking about you and your activity sector. Use that information to your advantage!