Keep Your Ear to the Ground with Social Listening

Amiee Bolger

Usually, we’re all being encouraged to spend time off social media and are encouraged to spend some time in nature instead. However, when it comes to social listening, you’re going to be encouraged to spend more time on social media instead. It’s a crucial task for any brand to undertake to learn more about their target audience and how they, as a brand, could be conducting business better or to keep doing what they’re doing.

Social listening is the process through which brands utilise their platforms to track mentions and conversations related to them. These are then analysed to discover insights and opportunities to act. It sounds a lot like social monitoring, but there is a difference. Social monitoring is just looking at metrics like mentions and hashtags and collecting the data. Social listening is taking action because of the metrics.

Though, that is just the beginning. Social listening also considers the mood behind the data. Sounds strange but stay with us here. The mood behind the data pertains to the sentiment users hold about your brand, helping you understand how your target audience feel about both you and your competitors. This understanding informs your marketing strategies, product development, and to be able to respond quickly to any positive or negative feedback.

So, social listening is actually a two-step process. In step one, you monitor social media channels for mentions and conversations around your brand, competitors, products, services, and keywords relating to your company. Step two is when you analyse and putting your findings into action.

Performing social listening allows you to take stock of the content your audience wants you to create, come up with fresh ideas surrounding what’s trending in your industry, improve your customers experience through interaction, and the ability to shift your strategies to fit the needs of your customers. Plus, it not only has benefits for your brand, but your customers as well.

Consumers love to know that they’re being heard. It’s easy to put yourself in the shoes of your consumers and assume what they want out of you, when that might not be the case. Hearing what they’re saying by listening to them through social media and implementing the changes they would like to see is the biggest way to let them know you’re hearing them, increasing brand loyalty and support. With 46% of consumers thinking that brands engaging with them on social media makes that brand above the rest, it’s a task you should think twice about ignoring.

It’s also a great way to keep track of your growth. If, God forbid, you see a sudden drop in followers, you can see when it happened and possibly what caused it through social listening. The same goes for if you see a sudden increase, which is far more likely, you can track which post influenced the rise and keep creating content along the same lines.

Step one of social listening allows you to discover new opportunities and possibilities. Often, through social listening, you’ll discover that your customers have done your work for you. Say you offer courses that fill up quickly – obviously, you’ll be led to believe that this is an amazing thing, and it is, but you may not realise that this is a disadvantage to customers who are never able to book on in time. Through social listening, seeing customers post about their want to join, will allow you to look at where more spaces can open or the opportunity to run more courses that have a wider reach.

Finally, monitoring social conversations happening within your industry can give you valuable insight and a sense of who the leading influencers are. Knowing who the top influencers are means you’ve got a list of important people to make connections with. You can open a whole new wave of content by working with influencers, getting your brand in front of a bigger audience that are ready to purchase what the influencer recommends.

Further than influencers, you can discover and reach out to brand advocates. These are people who already love and share your brand on social media. They are everyday people that your consumer base will relate to, thus trust more when they’re sharing positives about your products or services.

Whilst you shouldn’t be ignoring the call of nature to stay on social media 24/7, keeping your ear to the ground of all the conversations happening in your industry is an important task to undertake.