Looking back at the last few years in marketing, it’s clear that social media brought the most significant change in strategies used by brands to communicate with consumers. Before Facebook or Twitter, brands couldn’t dream of building such close relationships with their audiences or conduct real-time conversations with customers located on the other side of the globe.
A business that takes its online marketing seriously will actively participate in social media. What is the key to leveraging your presence on social networks, building a strong brand and effectively managing your social media accounts? Social listening.
Why listen to social media? Here are some good reasons why your marketing team should be listening and key tools they can use to efficiently monitor your brand on social media.
You’ll understand consumer behavior
If you pay close attention to what your target audience talks about, you’ll gain valuable knowledge about the main problems, motivations and questions customers might have regarding your product. This can significantly help you to set up a more efficient customer service.
By identifying common problems and providing specific solutions, you’ll be able to create a comprehensive knowledge base from questions that consumers really ask.
You’ll gain insights from powerful marketing analytics
By listening to social media you’ll be able to uncover what is being said about your brand, who is saying it on which platforms, and who are the main influencers in these circles.
By keeping an eye on what’s happening with your audience, you’ll improve your chances at creating more relevant content leveraging topic insights – prepare for serious improvements in content, SEO and PPC strategies.
You’ll build a community
Using social listening tools will enable you to track conversations, detecting leads, potential buyers and key influencers in your sector. All this knowledge will help you to interact with customers in a meaningful way, building a positive image of your brand and fostering the creation of a community comprised of loyal followers or even brand evangelists.
You’ll improve your agility
We all know that when it comes to social media, timing is everything. A report from Lithium Technologies demonstrated that 53% of consumers who tweet a brand expect a response within an hour. If the tweet in question is a complaint, the figure above rises to a smashing 72%!
The time you take to react is crucial for building a positive brand image. John Baer proposes a strategy based on detecting that smart window of opportunity – in B2B sector, target audiences are business people who spend their day attending meetings and those are usually scheduled on hour or half-hour basis – bearing that in mind, marketers should post content just before or right after this key hour.
You’ll get better at managing your social media channels
Social listening tools often include smart functionalities to help brands manage their social channels. An example is Hootsuite – it allows to manage and monitor multiple networks and profiles on a single dashboard, helping marketers to execute campaigns across various channels and measure their results.
You’ll boost your sales
Social listening is worth the trouble, because it will affect your sales department. By keeping tabs on what’s happening on social media, you can unveil conversations that indicate someone’s intent to purchase your product and monitor what your competitors are up to in their social media feeds. You’ll improve your ROI by integrating CRM with those insights.
You’ll develop a better product
Another great perk of listening to your target audience is the possibility of improving your product. You’ll know when consumers are having problems while using your product and by monitoring the reviews, you’ll gain additional user input and lots of ideas on how to make it better, matching the preferences and expectations of your target audience.
You’ll have a chance of social recruiting
By listening to social media, you’ll gain a whole range of insights that will help you not only in marketing or sales, but human resources as well. You can treat social networks as potential talent pools, build your employer brand, uncover key experts or influencers and pay attention to potential problems that might impact employee happiness.
Social listening will bring you lots of valuable insights relevant to each and every area of your business, making it way easier to improve your interactions and build a positive image on the web.
How to listen to social media?
There are lots of resources to help you gather, combine and analyze data derived from various social media channels. Here’s a selection of the best tools for easy and effective social media listening.
This is a classic social media management tool that can also prove helpful in gathering analytics data and generating valuable insights. It’s free and it covers all the giants like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or even Google+, Foursquare and WordPress blogs. Hootsuite is perfect for collaboration on social media channels too – it features a wide range of team management tools, such as private messages or task delegation, and will give you a weekly analytics reports.
Another great comprehensive social listening tool, Social Mention collects and makes sense of lots of data, which is scattered across multiple platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or even Photobucket. It features a selection of basic analytics tools that help to gain some insights like the number of active sources or whether the general sentiment about your keyword is positive or negative. The best thing about it is that it’s free.
Great for beginners, this tool basically covers all activity on Twitter. It’s also a management tool – you can schedule your tweets, or monitor your messages and interactions. TweetDeck allows to easily manage several accounts and track relevant hashtags. This is very helpful in social listening. Even though users report some bugs, TweetDeck is a nice tool for starting your social listening journey.
Now that you know why social listening is worth the trouble and have an idea about how to do it, you’re ready to do listening yourself and gather valuable data about your target audience and their perceptions of your brand.
About the Author
Isabel Wiliams is a Content Marketing Specialist at http://www.bizdb.co.uk/. She combines a deep background in Internet Science with intense expertise in New Technologies. She is a seasoned educator lecturing about leveraging the potential of the World Wide Web for for professional development.