We have a question for you: Are you a good listener? 

Active listening and clear communication are things that are constantly drilled into us and as marketers, we’ve been told that listening to our audience is non-negotiable. But do we really listen? Social listening makes this much simpler because you have the ability to know what your audience is thinking without a lot of effort.

With social media and the internet, nothing is truly lost forever and anything you post will always be bouncing around the World Wide Web making consumer conversations much more accessible and transparent.

Looking for trends that your audience is interested in? Or the pain points that are stressing your customers out? There are endless opportunities for you to learn about your customers but the only problem is that many marketers are just guessing the answers to these questions without really listening.

Using strategic social listening, marketers have the ability to analyse large chunks of customer conversations and generate insights for making more well-thought-out decisions when it comes to their social media management and marketing campaigns.

So, what’s social media listening?

Social media listening is all about analysing conversations and trends that are related to your brand. These can be anything from conversations that are about your company, the industry, or even your competitors. These provide great insights that you can use to inform your social media strategy.

But, let’s be real. Social media listening isn’t just about @ mentions and tags. Of course, a part of it is about getting to work based on direct feedback but you also need to be able to read between the lines. Here are some things to consider.

  • Who’s your audience?
  • What do they want?
  • When do they engage with you?
  • Where are they most likely to engage and be active?
  • Why do they talk about your brand?
  • How can you better help your audience?

Being confident about these questions is invaluable because the answers you get can help you improve your overall strategy and how you approach your audience.

What’s in it for you?

Data collected by listening isn’t just for big brands. If you do it right you can use these conversations to create better content and generate more revenue.

Imagine a company like Netflix that has to go through massive amounts of data-like popular genres, viewership rates, and most-watched actors-to inspire their next series of movies or TV shows, but if they don’t have all this information at their fingertips or are missing some details then it can be really difficult to make a confident decision.

This is where social listening comes into play. It can help fill in the gaps with information that’s coming directly from their audience!

But this is just a hypothetical example and we know it’ll take more than just a made-up scenario to convince you so let’s look at a juggernaut brand that uses social media listening to propel the effectiveness of strategies formulated around their brand even further.

The Coca-Cola Company does this so well. Their social media listening strategy uses data to improve their products-including their marketing campaigns. They use this to understand what their consumers want, where they are getting their products, and how they want them improved.

The beverage company also uses social media analytics tools to learn about how its consumers interact with their content on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. It gives them a better understanding of which strategies work for them on which platform and develop strategies based on the findings.

Have we convinced you to get started on social media listening?

Don’t forget that there are a lot of moving pieces. So it’s important to ease into it before you jump into the deep end.

Select the right tool: Realistically, you have two choices: either purchase an existing tool or create your own. The option you choose will likely depend on how big your budget is.

Identify desires and outcomes: What do you want to get out of your social listening strategy? Set your goals right from the start and don’t worry about getting them wrong-there are no wrong answers!

Choose data sources: Many marketers use Twitter as their go-to source for pulling data-even if they’re not active on the platform, but Facebook and IG are also practical options.

Build your topics: You need to know what you want to listen to so come up with some terms you want to listen to. It can be anything from phrases and hashtags to mentions and keywords.

Get data for your strategy: Once you’ve got your topics it’s time to collect the data and create your strategy. For example, if your audience is searching for location-specific information then you can create a social post about the different locations you operate in.

Measure your results: Not sure if your strategies are working. Then take a look at your engagement rates, engagement speed, clicks, reach, and new followers. It’ll give you a good idea about the success of your new and improved strategy.

Social listening-ready to pay attention?

The more you listen, the more you’re going to hear from your customers. This is why a social media listening strategy is so important.

Without having your ear to the ground and listening to what your customers and audience are saying about your brand, the products and services you offer as well as the customer service you offer may be headed for a bumpy ride that can spell danger for your dreams of growing and scaling your business.