Social listening should be an essential part of your social media strategy if you want to know what people are saying about your brand and your business. Read on to discover what social listening is, why you need it, and the benefits it can bring.
What is social listening?
Social listening is when you ‘listen in’ to the conversations that people are having around your brand, products, or even industry on social media.
This allows you to track mentions and conversations that take place online: even if the customer is not using your @ handle or hashtag. This can cover anything from queries by potential customers, feedback from current customers, discussion around competitor products, and even what people are discussing about the industry in general.
Social listening can help you get a full picture to see what is happening in your area: which helps you forward plan for the future and can help your marketing – check out more on this further down.
What is social monitoring (and what’s the difference)?
You can also make this more niche with social media monitoring, which has a narrower focus, covering your specific brand, campaign or keyword. Social monitoring looks at a particular area, and helps you respond to your customers.
For example, if you worked in the insurance industry, you may want to track what people are saying about your brand, competitor brands, and the insurance industry in general. This would be social listening. By doing this you can see if people are saying similar things or if there are key differences, as well as what topics are recurring.
If, however, you were hosting an event and wanted to track conversation just around that one event on social media, so you could engage with the audience or see if people are discussing you, that would be social media monitoring.
The benefits of social listening
Social media listening should be an essential part of your social strategy throughout your whole sales funnel. Here’s why:
Find out what customers are saying about you (behind your back)
Roughly 80% of Twitter users have mentioned a brand on social media: which means there is a good chance that your target audience are talking about you.
However, even if people are leaving you a glowing review, they might not actually tag your brand in it. Social listening helps you discover how people are talking about you, what they think and more.
Twitter is normally the best place to see this, but TikTok and Reddit are growing in this space.
Use mentions to plan your marketing
Seeing what people say about you – and competitors – can help you to find out new potential marketing angles for campaigns.
For example, if you worked for a legging brand and people frequently commented on the fact that your pockets were great size-wise, or that they were squat proof, these could then be facts that you want to include in ads.
Similarly, if you worked in marketing for a food delivery service and saw that people were complaining that competitors didn’t offer fresh food, but your company does, that could be something you want to call out in your ads, to differentiate you.
You can also use this as a place to get great feedback: if people are consistently complaining about similar issues with your product, this can be passed on as an area to work on.
Social listening can also be used for more general marketing purposes: for example, cider brands might find a higher level of mentions during summer weekends, so create a campaign designed to hit around these times.
Keep on top of any upcoming issues
Using social listening can also help you stay on top of any issues…but for your company and in your industry in general.
By tracking mentions of your brand name as well as key words in the industry, you can notice spikes in conversation and be on the front foot if anything happens: whether that is good or bad!
How to carry out social listening
If you are considering social listening, you need to decide what you want to track, where, and what tool you want to use.
The main things to consider tracking are:
· Your company name (including with any common misspellings or shortened versions)
· Key brand/product names
· Your @ handle
· Any key hashtags
· Key competitor company names and @ handles
· Key industry terms
Input this data into the social listening tracking tool of your choice.
Here at Hydrogen, we use Brandwatch to handle social listening for our clients: tracking everything from volume of brand mentions, to sentiment of what people are saying, and even what different age groups think about different things. Check out our blog on social trends to see some of the graphs we can pull from Brandwatch and what you can learn from them.