While posting regularly to your social media channels and interacting with your social media audience are important, so is taking the time to listen. By implementing social listening into your social media marketing strategy, you can positively impact your online presence and how you’re engaging with your audience.
- What Is Social Media Listening?
- Social Media Monitoring vs. Social Media Listening
- How Does Social Listening Work?
- Popular Social Media Listening Tools
What Is Social Media Listening?
Social media listening is the analysis of a brand’s social media data for actionable insights and the implementation of those insights. It provides context to where your brand is showing up on social channels and gives you actionable information to use toward improving your online presence.
It’s an important practice that you should start implementing into your social media strategy as soon as you’re able because you’re likely missing out on important information from your customers.
Social Media Monitoring vs. Social Media Listening
While the two are similar—and often used interchangeably—it’s essential to differentiate between social monitoring and social listening to better understand how they work together.
Social media monitoring is another way of saying reviewing social media analytics. That is, collecting mentions, engagements, impressions, and other key performance indicators. This practice helps you understand both what has happened and where you’re meeting (or missing) goals and benchmarks.
Social listening takes this data and works to answer “why” it’s happening. Listening analyzes that data, pulls insights, and puts those insights into action.
If monitoring is water, flour, and yeast, then listening is kneading, stretching, and baking those ingredients into bread. And just like those loaves you’ve seen on Instagram over the past couple of months, social listening improves with practice and upgraded tools.
How Does Social Listening Work?
By implementing social media listening into your current social media strategy, you can supercharge what you’re trying to accomplish for your brand online in a few ways.
Develop More Relevant & Engaging Content
Social listening can help you understand what your customers think of your current content and identify what questions they have. This can lead to developing more robust content, which can lead to more social media engagement. These insights can also play a vital role in the development of your content marketing strategy.
Are you launching a new campaign or product? Weeks after you go live, you may see mentions and reviews increase. Social media listening—more specifically, social media sentiment—can help you determine how positive those conversations are.
Social media listening can also work in identifying areas where your competitors are doing well or falling short. Recently, one of our clients in the banking industry benefited from this. We learned that one of their competitors was getting rid of free checking accounts due to a sudden increase in mentions and reviews for that competitor. From there, we were able to develop messaging around our client’s free checking accounts.
Find Areas of Opportunity
Once you measure sentiment, you can take advantage of the opportunities that you find. For example, Anheuser-Busch recognized that hundreds of social conversations each month around their Busch Light brand referred to the product as Busch Latte. Using that insight, they launched limited-edition cans and merchandise, helping to increase both social media mentions and sales.
Social listening can help you organically identify influencers, which can be a useful tool in growing your business. By giving you more insights into influencers who closely align with your brand, you might have an easier time developing partnerships than constantly feeling as though you’re taking shots in the dark.
Opens Up the Conversation
If you’re trying to shift your social media presence from a monologue toward a conversation, social listening helps. Instead of just continually offering a steady stream of posts, social media listening can show you exactly what you can do to better suit your customers and communicate with them in a way that makes them feel as though they’re part of the brand, not just a bystander.
Popular Social Media Listening Tools
Applying social listening is easier said than done, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Fortunately, there are a handful of services available to businesses of any size that provide the tools you need to understand your audience better!
Sprout Social is the primary social media management platform that we use at Hurrdat. It’s one of the best all-in-one tools for publishing and scheduling posts, social monitoring, and social listening.
Sprout helps us extract trends from conversations that are happening in and around our clients and their industries, which allows us to develop more engaging content. Hootsuite and Falcon.io are other popular options, but we’ve found Sprout to be better for us.
For clients in banking and financial services, we use Social Assurance. This tool has strong monitoring and listening features, particularly for our banking clients. The platform alerts us of any pressing brand or stakeholder mentions on social and across the web.
The platform also has a flagging feature that allows us to earmark complaints and posts with negative sentiment. From there, it generates a report that we can analyze for product and customer service trends.
This year, NetBase, an award-winning social media analytics platform, announced that they were merging with Quid, a contextual AI reader that can pull meaning from written content like social media posts, the news, and product reviews.
Netbase Quid is arguably the most powerful social listening platform, but that comes at a premium. And unless you’re running social media for Coca-Cola, Walmart, or Hyundai, it’s likely outside of your price range.
Want to implement social listening? Hurrdat can build and manage your social media profiles to help you connect with customers through social media. Learn more about our social media marketing services today!