Note: The author of the “Social Media Listening Tips: Why Listen and what to do with information” updated it on March 19, 2021.
You probably know that social media is a great way to market your business, but did you know that it’s also a great way to listen to your customers, your competitors and so much more?
A recent survey found that 88% of businesses employ some sort of social media strategy.
However, only 34% of businesses said that they monitor their competitors on social media.
What is social media listening?
Social media listening is the process of identifying social media conversations and online mentions happening across social channels about a product, a company or a service.
It is also called as social media monitoring.
Social media listening is an integral part of doing business today. It’s important to remember that listening is the first step in any social media strategy.
Since the social platforms have empowered the social media users to speak about their experience regarding a manufacturing brand’s product, or a technology company’s SaaS, or their experience in buying a home, it is essential for your company’s social media team to include social media listening in your marketing campaign and strategy.
Social media listening tips | where to begin
Did you know that social media listening is primarily keyword-based, or text-based?
Thus, for being so, it is helpful that you have a basic understanding of the keywords of your business and your industry.
Where to begin with social media monitoring?
You can use your brand name, your competitors or keywords that are related to your product or service to sift through the social media noise and zero in on the conversations that are most important to you.
Identifying keywords to listen for is an ongoing process.
Write what you think are the keywords for your business.
Then, using all the keywords on the list you created, use Google’s Keyword Planner to verify what you have written on your list.
Note: If you haven’t used Google’s Keyword Planner to research keywords before, here is a blog on how to use it [Keyword Planner] for research.
Social media listening | what to listen for
What are key points that you could listen for? Of course, the keywords; but here’s a couple more:
- Trends and shifts in your industry
- Any brand or company mention
- Content reach – are you reaching the RIGHT or desired audience
- Positive mentions
- Negative mentions
- Web traffic to your landing pages and keywords from social sites
- Existing and potential customers’ social conversations
- Target audience in groups and in any forum
- Hashtags – branded, business, and fun ones!
These are just a few of what you can monitor on social media.
You can expand the list later as you become more adept at it.
Lists of benefits of social media listening
- As you track competitors, find out what they are doing in different social media channels. Who’s talking to them? What are they posting? How are they posting it?
- Use social insights for your competitor analysis of any social mentions regarding them and your company. Do you see any gaps and potential threats?
- As you gather social media intelligence, do you see questions that the social audience is asking? Answer it.
- Find out what others beside your competitor are talking about in your target market. Spot industry trends and discover pain points.
- Track sentiment about your brand, or product. Identify the tone of voice by looking at the comments.
- You will have information regarding your industry’s frequently asked questions.
- Discover spaces where your customers and your competitors are hanging out. Where is the discussion happening? Which social media platform? What blog? What forum? What groups?
- Find out if anyone in your company may be participating in discussions and is posting information your approval, and if the post is [in]accurate.
- Identify areas in your business process that may need to be developed, or needs improvement.
- Customer retention and service opportunities.
- Recruit/hire right people.
- Product/service ideas.
- Forge and foster customer loyalty.
- Identify future content.
- Build a community of brand ambassadors.
- Determine areas that could be a “threat” to your company.
- Evaluate marketing campaigns.
- Improve product or service and develop new ones.
- Find sales opportunities.
- Check what type of content is performing well [or not].
- Identify your key influencers.
You have done social media monitoring, now what? (list)
After listening, you can then take the information gleaned from social media and adjust your marketing strategies to be more effective and save money.
Depending on your marketing goal and bandwidth, here are possible things that you can do with the information you have gathered after analyzing it.
- Use the social intelligence you gathered for future campaigns.
- Develop possible alliances/partnership. It can be about influencer outreach and other collaborative projects that you may have.
- Alter your messaging if you are seeing negative sentiments based on comments that you have come across.
- Use it for your content marketing plan -whether it’s for a blog, an eBook, a quick tip, website FAQ.
- Hashtag campaigns. Grow your hashtags list for more and better brand awareness.
- Use information when you run Facebook advertising marketing campaign.
- Forward information and questions to your sales or your product development team for product ideas that may be beneficial to your company.
- Reach out to potential leads by answering any question they may have or by simply jumping in a conversation without being spammy. If they directly asked a product and service, go on, drop your link and information.
- Improve customer service. Review your plan or process to respond to online complaints and other customer posts.
- Answer customer inquiries. More customers find asking on social media as being more beneficial to them – quicker response – than waiting for an email. Are you actively monitoring social media?
- Review your rules of engagement. Include a crisis management plan. What to say, and what to do, and when to escalate issue and to who.
- Set up a plan or schedule for continuous/regular monitoring. Identify tool/s to use.
- Update any social media policy to keep it current if your employees are posting online. Communicate it internally.
- Do better than your competitor – better social media content, better customer service based on your acquired digital consumer intelligence.
- Decide whether you should be more active on one social media platform or add a new platform.
- Define or adjust your key performance indicators for monitoring.
- Address customer-service related issues. And decide what to do with the recurring ones. Should you change something internally? Identify the gap in your process and work on it.
- Follow up. Interact.
- Change ad. Do more experiments with the information you have gathered.
- Change tactics, landing pages, content and call to action if you are not getting your desired audience.
- Create more of those posts that are performing well.
Social media listening tools
There is no such a thing as a perfect social media monitoring tool. Nada. But there are some tools, even free ones, that can provide you social insights such as:
- Google analytics, keyword planner, and search
- Bing analytics and search
- Facebook Analytics
- Pinterest Analytics
- Twitter Analytics
- Google Console
- Google my business performance analytics
- Social media scheduling dashboards
- Facebook ads dashboard
- Answer the public
- Facebook ads library
It’s a Wrap!
With the rapid growth of social media, marketers can now actively listen to consumers, their competitors, and the industry for insights.
Social media listening puts you in touch with your customers and your industry and keeps you relevant in the lives of those whose attention you wanted to catch.
Does your company “practice” social media listening? Not sure how and where to start?
Need a social media coach to help you?