Take a brief moment of silence. You might not hear anything but your customers and prospects could be trying to tell you something.
As technology evolves and is embraced in more sectors across the globe, businesses worldwide are adopting social listening strategies to better guide their marketing efforts. This modern practice is shaping the way marketing teams reach their audiences and providing better opportunities to see real engagement.
What is social listening?
A lot of businesses today are aware of social monitoring – that is, staying across online channels to identify mentions of your business and respond appropriately. However, social listening is the next step above this. Via social listening, you turn comments and interactions into quantifiable and actionable data.
Pay attention to conversations surrounding specific topics, industries, keywords and phrases related to your business. By listening to what consumers are saying – whether it's comments about your brand specifically, or broader pain points your business could address – you can:
- Track public opinion about your brand,
- Create content to appeal to your target audience,
- Generate marketing ideas,
- Engage customers directly,
- Make strategic product decisions.
Identify trends in your customers conversations to seize meaningful opportunities and stay ahead of the competition.
How to start social listening
Social listening can be easily assisted using a number of online tools such as Hootsuite, Synthesio or ReviewTrackers. However, before you start using these tools you'll have to do a bit of groundwork.
Prepare your business for social listening by first establishing social media accounts. With these in place, consumers can directly interact with you if they want to – often helping you address immediate issues before they become trends. However, proper social listening requires you go beyond this. Identify keywords that you'll track based on your brand and industry.
- Your brand name, slogan and social media handles,
- Product names,
- Competitor brands,
- Industry keywords
- The names of key players in your business,
- Campaign keywords,
- Related hashtags,
- Common misspellings of the above.
Enter these keywords into your chosen social listening tool and you'll be ready to start collecting data to build benchmarks and identify changes.
What to do with social listening data
With your tools in place, start by forming a benchmark based on incoming data. With this idea of "normal", you can start to develop strategies to improve your online presence and marketing reach. Some important things to take note of include:
- Where people are talking about you: As well as what they're saying, knowing where your audience spends most of their time will help you prioritise marketing channels.
- What your competition is doing: It's just as important to understand your competitors' performance. Work out where they're performing better and build a strategy to top them.
- Feedback themes: Look out for recurring complaints or praise. These can give you a great idea of what your customers like or don't like and can inform further marketing content and product development.
By knowing what your audience wants and where they are, you can create meaningful content for maximum engagement across all channels. To ensure you're reaching your audience offline and by email, contact the Prospect Shop for targeted mailing lists today.