What is Social Listening?
If you’ve been in the business/marketing world for a while now, you’ve probably heard the term “social listening” before.
Social listening is a powerful tactic for learning what your target audience is talking about, things they are mentioning and who they are interacting with online.
It is one of the strongest forms of first-hand market research currently out there.
Which is exactly why we thought we would take 5 minutes to talk about what social listening is and why you should be all over it.
What is social listening?
Social listening is when you monitor, track and analyse what people are saying online about your business, your competitors and your industry online.
Essentially, this just means keeping an eye on your target audience’s online interactions and conversations to learn about what they are talking about.
This can be on social media platforms in comments and posts, on industry forums and threads, the list goes on.
Think of it as a new form of the anonymous customer feedback form for businesses to learn the opinions of their current and potential customers.
And remember that people talk about literally anything and everything on the Internet these days, meaning no matter your product or service, there is definitely the opportunity for social listening.
Why do it?
Well, because it will provide you with some incredibly valuable insights that you can use to your advantage of course!
By listening to what is being said about your brand and seeing how your target audience is behaving online, you will be able to build a stronger-than-ever digital strategy.
Social listening can tell you what people are enjoying about your product or services, any negative comments or misconceptions made, which products are talked about more, other interests of your target audience, and how people are interacting with your competitors.
Now – it’s what you do with this information that is key – take this as an opportunity to use it to your advantage and improve on areas where you see weaknesses.
How to Listen on Social
How does one go about “social listening” you may ask?
It really is as simple as it sounds (if you’re ready to get your hands dirty).
Do so by opening up all relevant social media platforms and forums, and searching for mentions and hashtags surrounding your name, your competitors, your product names, or anything else that is relevant- and simply read into what is being said!
A few places we recommend checking out to help you kick off your social listening are Google Alerts, Quora and Twitter’s Advanced Search. And our favourite powerful paid options are HootSuite and Mention.
As we said, it is all about what you do with this information that is the most important thing.
If you are seeing negative reviews and conversations on Twitter about your brand, it might be best to engage and aim to turn those frowns upside down.
If you notice holes where your competition is missing the mark, aim to beat them to it and better your business in those areas.
Not to Be Confused With Monitoring
Now, we should point out that social listening isn’t quite the same as social monitoring. So let us clarify:
Monitoring refers to watching and analysing data on social – such as engagement rates, mention numbers and other metrics.
So while monitoring shows data, listening allows you to reflect, discover and generate ideas. It’s not looking at each individual case per say, but rather looking at what is being said as a whole – trends, common conversations, etc.
Social listening is about a whole lot more than just whether one individual has one negative or positive thing to say about your brand. It’s looking at the outlook people have on your brand as a whole.
Think about it like a bird’s eye view.
Insights to Pay Attention To
The insights you can gain through social listening are truly invaluable.
Getting a glimpse into what your audience has to say in the settings where they spend the most time can allow you to pinpoint specific areas of weakness and help you grow.
Look for common trends, pain points or selling points, and relevant related terms to help you speak effectively to your audience in the future.
A few things we suggest to keep an eye on are:
- Trends by season
- Brand reach
- Demographic differences
- How certain products convert different
- Peaks or dips in mentions over time
- Influencers who are sparking conversation and noise
Conducting social listening on a steady basis will provide you with insights to help you create content and products better suited to your target audience. In turn, this can bring you more conversions, and from there- more revenue.
Hopefully, this quick overview on social listening has given you the inspiration to take it on for yourself. Believe us when we say it can make an enormous difference, and you will be basking in the benefits in no time.
If you have any questions or want to talk more about how to boost your business’ digital marketing strategy, please get in touch with our team of digital and social experts at 1300 841 244 today.