Social media analysis helps you understand your customers and competitors better. One of the techniques to do this is through social listening, also known as social media monitoring. What is social listening? According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), it is the process of monitoring what is being said about a company, a product, or a brand across all channels. These channels are those which are not managed by the brand itself. This goes side-by-side with social media moderation where the focus is limited to the owned social media accounts of the company.
In social media moderation, you‘re in a controlled environment that is easier to maintain and monitor whereas in social listening, you have to be on the lookout on what happens outside that controlled environment. The problem is social media is similar to a noisy business street where everyone wants to be heard, recognized, and addressed. This noisiness prevents some companies to fully-engage or commit in social listening.
Despite the fact that 54% of B2B marketers say they have generated leads in social media (MarketingCharts) and 80% of brands advertised on social media in 2014 (DashBurst), only 24% of brands are into social listening, DashBurst reveals. It seems not all companies have realized the importance of social listening as of late.
Listening per se is one of the hardest skills to be mastered. How serious does it get if you don‘t acknowledge (intentionally or not) the complaints of your customers online? It is like lab-work blowing up in your face because you‘re not paying attention to your teacher‘s instructions—in social media, the “blowing up” part represents the rant posted by a neglected customer online; sometimes it‘s really just “another complaint” but occasionally, it could be the next viral post with brand‘s name all over it.
It really pays off if you try to be an active social listener. Remember that your job is not yet done when someone buys your product. According to Smart Insights, “after purchase” they (buyers) often enter into an open-ended relationship with the brand, sharing their experience with it online.”
Basically, social listening is akin to snooping in a way that doesn‘t harm anyone. It should not cross the line of someone‘s privacy and must be done in a professional manner. Whether for positive or negative feedback, you can use it to your advantage. The data collected from social listening can be used to improve your brand, effectively handle disputes or misunderstandings, and outsmart competitors. But how can you get through the dense social noise?
Conduct fa keyword study. Keywords? Isn‘t that an SEO thing? Well, SMM also uses keywords. One of the biggest social media function to emulate this is the hashtag but aside from hashtagging, there are a lot of other platforms that you still need to get a social pulse on that does not use the mechanic. So how can you filter the hundreds or thousands of your brand‘s mentions from various social media sites if you‘re not going to refine your keywords? And what is the use of these keywords? they can:
Gather trends & common conversations
How many times has your brand went viral or trended online? Did it trend because your customers are happy with your brand or not? The simplest tools you can use for free are Google Alerts and Google Trends.
Google Alerts helps you to collect updates about your brand and find out when people post something about you. On the other hand, Google Trends gives you the trending stories in real time by category and location, as explained by Google.
Identify your communities and influencers
This includes the advocates, detractors and influencers of your brand. Reward your advocates by giving them special offers and discounts. Interact with your detractors by joining in their conversations to get to the bottom of the matter so you can formulate a fair and sound solution. One of the free online tools you can use is Social Mention.
Track your competitors
Why would you take a peek at your competitors? Business.com says it ―allows you to learn more about their tactics, activity, and customer engagement that could lead you to winning over some of their customers.‖ Yes, it is a dog-eat-dog world out there and you should be able to keep up to avoid being left behind.
In addition, the data you‘ve gathered during your social listening can be used to create a feasible social media marketing campaign.
Social media is not just for selling or marketing your products and services, but to reach out to your customers as well. Being social means you‘re willing to listen and interact with your customers; remember that social listening is a never-ending process so better consider social media outsourcing. Through social listening, you‘re going the extra mile of showing how you care.
The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. – Ralph G. Nichols