Nowadays, people express their opinions, both good and bad, on social media. People show appreciation and express grievances on social media. Once something is posted on social media, it’s out there, forever for people to see. It is especially tough for brands and businesses to be on the wrong end of a rant on social media, even more so if they don’t know it happened. It can be a cause of embarrassment should such a social media post gain traction and become a major issue. Businesses have begun to utilize social media listening software to track their mentions and engage in conversation. Today we will understand what is social media listening and why businesses should adopt this practice?
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Social media listening (sometimes referred to as social listening) is the practice of using software to track conversations happening on social media about a particular business. Social media listening involves monitoring conversations, analyzing them and wherever necessary participate in those conversations. It is worth noting that social media listening isn’t restricted to bad mentions or complaints. Listening to positive mentions is just as important as it beneficial to know who is appreciating your brand and may also result in discovering social media influencers for potential collaborations in the future.
Don’t Confuse Social Media Listening with Social Media Monitoring
The two terms are different from one another. In fact, social media monitoring is a subset of social media listening.
Social media monitoring is the use of software to track social media mentions of a brand name or a business name. It is purely observational and passive. Monitoring is collecting raw data but not doing anything with it.
Social media listening takes monitoring a step further by analyzing the collecting data and using the insights to take some action like joining the conversation and engaging with people mentioning your brand on social media.
Implementing Social Media Listening
The process starts by finding the social media mentions of your brand’s name. When deciding what to listen for on social media, bear in mind that mentions & tags are not enough, successful social media listening requires the use of sophisticated software. Here’s why:
- It is impossible to manually scan the entire social media for mentions
- The software also looks for mentions of your products (e.g.: Galaxy S10 for Samsung)
- Check for the misspellings of your brand name (e.g.: Kelloggs may be misspelt as Kellogs or Kelogs, McDonalds and MacDonalds)
- Sometimes people abbreviate brand names or use nicknames (McD/Maccas for McDonald’s, BK for Burger King, BYD for Big Yellow Door)
- The software searches for variations for brand names because people don’t always type accurately especially if your brand name has hyphens and apostrophes
- In most cases, especially when complaining, people don’t tag your brand or bother to look for a social media handle, they just type it as it is without a proper mention
- One added benefit is brands can track their competitors’ mentions using social media listening software.
- Good social media listening software also helps differentiate between your brand and similarly named local brands that have no correlation (see examples).
Using a good social media listening software can get through all of the aforementioned issues and now you what things to listen for when setting up your social listening activity.
React to Mentions and Engage in Conversations
Once you have the data from social media mentions, it’s time to react and join the conversations around your brand. When brands engage in meaningful conversations, it helps moderate a customer’s negative feelings of a bad mention by helping to fix problems. Further, it amplifies the positive feelings for a good mention when the brand acknowledges the customer’s appreciation.
Social media listening can enable brands to join the conversations about their competitors giving them an opportunity to present themselves to their audience as a better alternative. Also, it can give a brand indication of potential problems enabling them to fix minor issues before they escalate.
Still Not Convinced? Here are Some Benefits
- Resolve customer’s problems timely: Social media listening can be used to discover negative comments about your brand and react appropriately to solve their problems. Sometimes, customers have genuine concerns and questions they ask but don’t tag the brand, social media listening enables brands to respond to such queries and earn goodwill.
- Engage in meaningful conversation: If a brand listens to all conversations in their niche, they can participate in them to engage with potential customers and attract attention to your brand.
- Social media listening helps improve content marketing: By listening to conversations on social media, brands will come to know what customers are looking for, what are their questions and concerns? They can then create content based on that information to attract the attention of the people by talking about things people care for.
- Find potential influencers: When listening to conversations on social media, brands come across my people complimenting the brand for its products. Some of these people may have a large, engaged audience to themselves. Brands can potentially reach out to them for collaborating for influencer marketing campaigns.
- Improve future products: Listening to people’s complaints, questions and even appreciations can help brands identify what works for their products and what doesn’t. They can use this information as feedback to decide where to invest their time, effort and money to meet the customers’ needs and increase sales.
- Outperform your competition: Listening to conversations about your competitors helps your brand understand what works for them and what doesn’t. You can engage in conversations with their customers presenting your brand as the better alternative if done tactfully. You can use the information you gather to gain a competitive advantage in the market.
Final Thoughts on Social Media Listening
Information is the key to success in this era. There is a gamut of data generated on social media every day and brands are able to leverage some of it, social media listening is a worthwhile endeavour