Social media was initially created with the idea of connecting people in the digital world. However, over the years, its purpose has diversified a great deal. Today, it has become one of the most powerful tools for businesses to connect and engage with their audiences. But why is it so important to leverage social media for your business?
Like the saying goes, numbers do not lie. According to a study by Sprout Social, 60 percent of millennials are likely to purchase from a brand they follow online. This means that if you manage to create an online presence for your business no matter how small, your business is bound to grow. This is where social listening comes in. But what exactly is it?
Social listening is a process in which organizations take a macro overview of what customers are saying online about the brand and use the information to improve the business. It is a process that allows companies track their overall brand health, create new campaigns, and better engage with customers.
Social media is quickly becoming a one-stop shop for small businesses. You can market new products online, sell through Instagram, use it for customer service and listen to customers’ opinions. With social media listening, you can reach the right people at the right time with the right content.
Social media listening vs. monitoring
People often confuse social media monitoring with social listening and vice versa. While they are similar, they are not the same. Social media monitoring is more like responding to comments and questions on your social media profiles.
Think of social media monitoring as something you do daily, i.e., monitoring notifications to answer comments and questions. Social media listening, however, involves a macro view of what people are saying online.
Social listening provides a broader view of industry trends and customer sentiment that may have a direct or indirect impact on a brand.
Why is social media listening important?
Social media listening is important as it gives you valuable insights about your brand, customers, and industry. Once you identify trends online, you can tailor a strategy to align your products or services with these trends.
You could create content your customers want to consume and monitor the brand health of your company or a competitor. You can also use these trends as inspiration for fresh marketing campaigns.
But how exactly can businesses leverage these tools? Below are ways you can use social media listening to promote your brand.
Learn how your audience behaves on different social channels. For example, you might notice your audience engages more with short-term content than long-form videos. Use this insight and modify your strategy accordingly. Instead of posting a long-form video, cut it up into more “bite-sized” content. Social media listening also allows companies to monitor customer service mentions, which is important for brand image.
Track your overall brand health. Use social listening to determine how people perceive your brand overall. With this information, you can spot and address potential problems and sentiments.
Create new campaigns. Listening to conversations your customers are having about your brand identifies gaps and opportunities in the marketplace you can capitalize on.
According to Hootsuite, the following are benefits of social media listening:
- Improved customer engagement: A major benefit of social media listening is that it allows companies to better engage with customers. For instance, if you see a customer has mentioned your company in a negative or positive light, you can either address their concerns or thank them for their comment.
- Greater insights into crisis management: Another benefit of social listening is that it helps with crisis management. In other words, if there is a major issue that has gone viral on the web about your company, social listening allows you to view all the mentions and reach customers individually and/or en masse to address their concerns and tell them how your company will manage this matter moving forward.
- Enhanced tracking of competitors: One major benefit of social listening is the ability to track competitors. This is important, because to remain successful, businesses must know where they stand in the market. Social listening allows you to see how other companies are being mentioned, and how the reception of your company’s products and services fares compared to those of your competitors.
Social listening tools
To start using social media listening, many platforms offer tools and analytics. Here are some social listening tools you may want to consider using as part of your social media strategy.
- Hootsuite: Hootsuite allows businesses to view all messages, comments and brand mentions across an array of social media platforms.
- Buffer: Many businesses use Buffer because of its omnichannel approach. Social media teams can easily access data and make changes to their campaigns and strategy to better engage with their target market.
- HubSpot: HubSpot allows companies to build campaigns, share content, discover the best days and times to post. It also allows teams to automatically distribute content to an array of social media channels.
- TweetReach: TweetReach allows businesses to focus on their Twitter reach. Additionally, the tool can analyse how many Twitter accounts have reached your selected person, hashtag, or keyword.
- BuzzSumo: BuzzSumo allows companies to see the number of impressions and shares of content posted on a certain domain. Additionally, this tool also for managing a brand’s Facebook page.