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Are You Listening? Everything You Need to Know About Social Media Listening

Social media listening is something that is being utilized more and more by companies both big and small, but it’s still not being utilized as much as it should be considering the amount of value it provides. Social listening makes the consumers voices heard and more than just your typical review, but more in conversations online, etc. But the best thing about it is how it can be implemented into your content strategy and help to take your social media campaigns to the next level.

What is Social Media Listening?

Social media listening, also known as social listening, is identifying and analyzing digital conversations and trends on social media that surround your brand and your industry. Then take the insights collected to improve your social media marketing strategy.

It aims to identify and understand the why, where, and how surrounding these conversations and to determine consumers’ true feelings and opinions about your brand and/or industry. It’s much more than a consumer tagging, mentioning, or reposting content from your brand.

The best thing about social media listening is how it can assist in the formation of any future campaigns, bring awareness to any adjustments or improvements of your social media strategy, and help build a more impactful influencer program and brand partnerships.

Check out this video from Sprout Social for more in-depth explanation of social listening:

Know the Difference: Social Listening vs. Social Monitoring

Many are quick to assume social listening and social monitoring are the same thing when they are not. Social monitoring is the what, while listening gives you the why.

Social Monitoring

Using Chewy, the online all in one pet supply store and pharmacy, let’s look at how well their social monitoring is on Twitter.

Chewy’s quick response to this concerned customer about a product they needed but, seemed to have been discontinued, not only gave the customer a quick answer, but as well as reassurance of how Chewy is there for their customers.

Social Listening

While on the other hand while Chewy could used any interaction during their social monitoring process to determine other concerns and what they’re stemming from. It calls for a much more inefficient process, along with many inconsistencies and inaccuracy. While on the other hand social listening is usually automated, quicker, can gather data from a larger pool of information and provides the why behind it all.

The Importance of Social Media Listening

While social media listening can lead to many great things here are four things that makes it extremely important:

  1. Campaign Analysis — provides feedback on how a particular marketing campaign sits with audiences on social media
  2. Competitive Analysis provides insights about what competitors are doing based on data (conversations mainly) gathered from social media
  3. Event Monitoring— analyzing an audiences response in real-time to an event, like a virtual conference
  4. Industry Trends— identifying discussions mentioning its industry, using social functions like hashtags

All of these make the need for social media listening a vital part of your social media marketing strategy. But while it may seem overwhelming as to how to do so effectively, let’s discuss some free and paid tools that should make this process seem effortless.

Social Media Listening Tools

There are many tools and software available today that make social listening effective and efficient. Here is some great ones to consider:

  1. Sprout Social is a social media management software
  2. Hootsuite is a social media management software that includes a marketing dashboard
  3. Zoho Social is a social media management software
  4. Awario is software that can find mentions from all over the web to social media platforms
  5. Mention is software that allows you to monitor the web, social media, and forums for mentions regarding your brand and/or industry
  6. Cyfe is an all-in-one software that provides a dashboard complete with social media, web analytics, marketing, sales, support, infrastructure, and more

All of these softwares offer their own array of various things they can do and provide, and most can be pulled into a CRM (customer relationship management) for further analyzation. However, the only downfall is that many if not all of these softwares are paid subscriptions. Many do offer 7 to 14 day trials but after the trial period is over you have to pay a monthly or annual subscription feel to continue use. But if you’re serious about taking your social media campaigns to the next level and improving your social media marketing strategy as a whole the investment is worth it.

Getting Started

Before you start using social listening in your social media marketing strategy or applying it to your next campaign, you need to have an end goal in mind. This not only allows your listening to have a focus, but it also helps to determine what type of tools or software that will work best. While many social listening tools available do require a paid subscription, there are alternatives such as TweetDeck or Google Alerts, but these tools only can perform for one platform, usually cause a lot of noise, limited analysis capabilities, and no data visualization. So if you’re looking for tool to use for an omni-channel marketing strategy a paid software is the way to go.

Social Media Listening Tips

When using social listening these are some of the best practices to use and keep in mind:

Know Your Audience. When it comes to social listening you need to be aware of the audience to which you cater. This means understanding and knowing they types of buyer personas that are interested in your brand or in other brands within your industry, that way you are able to better market to your target market on the social platform they prefer.

What Are You Listening For? Having that end goal in sight, or knowing what exactly you want to gain from social listening is vital to be able to analyze the data collected and ignore the extra non relevant information otherwise known as noise.

Keywords are GOLD! Using keywords to filter through data is perfect for isolating the data you really are looking for to meet your goal. These keywords can being anything that relates to your brand, you industry, product or service you offer, competitors within your industry, etc.

Utilize a Social Listening Tool. Social listening tools were made to make your life easier. Utilizing a tool such as Sprout Social or Cyfe can allow you to receive data back at a much more efficient and effective rate.

Use it to Create a Strategy. Using all of the analyzed data you need to implement it into marketing strategy targeting whatever your original goal was. Was the data primarily positive or negative? Positive, then what exactly do consumers like to create such a positive conversation? Negative, what is making consumers feel this way and what can be done to resolve this issue? Taking your findings and implementing them to better your brand is one of the key points of social listening.

Social media listening is one of the biggest parts to an effective social media marketing strategy and campaign planning process. Without it, there’s no true insight from you consumers who are the recipients of the product or service. Social listening is meant to help you take your brand to the next level by analyzing what’s being said about not just your brand, but you industry, you competition, the products and/or services your provide, etc. it should be the backbone to your planning process for creating any social media strategy or social media campaign.

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