Social media. Remember when Twitter was brand new and no one had even thought of Instagram or social listening? Well, times have changed and now everyone is active on social media.
Social media is not just for tweens and millennials. Social media is the place where your customers are going for brand reviews, to discover new brands, and to post their feedback about you and your competitors.
Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, SnapChat, LinkedIN, Google+, TripAdvisor, Yelp, or other social sites – they all matter to your online reputation and digital presence. And because they matter, these social media sites require a strategy.
Just as you don’t add random pages to your website, change your website taxonomy on a whim, or write blog posts that don’t fit with your overall content plan – you also can’t just post randomly to social media. Hint: if you are doing any of these things, please contact us so we can help you out.
If you have social media accounts, you need to be monitoring, listening, analyzing, and talking. In this first post in our new series about social media, we dig into social listening, explaining what it is, why it matters, and what you can do with your social listening data.
What Is Social Listening?
Social listening is the process of tracking social media conversations connected to your key topics, keywords, brands, and industry.
With the information you collect about how people are talking about your key social indicators, you can identify new areas of growth, opportunities for improvements, create the right content for the right channel and audience, and put an end to random social media posting.
Social listening gives you the data and information you need to develop a real social media strategy. You learn the who, what, why, when, and how of social media conversations about your brand, company, industry, and products and services.
It’s important that you don’t get social listening confused with social monitoring. Whereas social monitoring reviews every single mention or conversation, social listening takes a bigger picture approach looking for trends, patterns, and opportunities.
This quote from Dan Neely, CEO of Networked Insights, is a great way to understand social listening vs. social monitoring: Monitoring sees trees; listening sees the forest.
Why Does Social Listening Matter?
Social listening matters because it is the best way for you to really understand how to effectively engage on social media.
Just as you rely on website analytics and SEO analysis to understand where your traffic is coming from and what people are interested in – social listening does the same for your social channels.
By tracking trends, conversations, and seeing the context behind these, you can understand how to use each social channel to its full potential. Yes, every social channel has a different purpose and audience. You can see and understand how your posts resonate with your followers and learn how to create the content that your followers really want (rather than what you think they want).
What Can You Do With Social Listening Data?
The better question should be: what can’t you do with social listening data. When done right, your social listening data should be so rich that there are very few limits on what you can do with this social data.
- Understand brand health. It’s nice to live in a vacuum and assume everything is a-okay for your brand on social media, unfortunately this isn’t reality. Social listening data allows you to understand how people are talking about your brand on social media. Understanding how people talk about your brand is called sentiment analysis (stay tuned for a future post about sentiment analysis.) You can see why people are talking about you the way they are and understand why these comments are happening when they are. You get the big picture of how and why people are responding to your brand.
- Create the right content. You know the power a misworded Tweet or Facebook post can have. Before you know it, the post has gone viral and a virtual storm has occurred for the brand or person who mistyped on social media. You want to avoid this at all costs. With social listening data, you know what content resonates with your followers – giving you the chance to create content that gets shared, liked, clicked, followed, etc. Social listening data tells you which topics matter to whom and where these topics matter the most (remember not every social channel is the same).
- Take advantage of user-generated content. We’ve written about user-generated content before and we can’t emphasize enough how valuable this content is to your content and digital plan. User-generated content is the content that your social followers are posting about you. With social listening data you can get a clear picture of the types of user-generated content your brand is getting and understand the trends behind this content. You can also see how others are responding to this content and use this to drive promotional and content ideas.
- Focus on the customer experience. One of the key ways people use social media is to post their likes, dislikes, problems, and issues with a brand, product, or service. Many customers ask brands for help with their problems directly through social media. Think of social media as a new method of customer care. Social listening allows you to see and understand how your customers are talking about your brand on social channels. This gives you the opportunity to proactively respond to problems, to learn about issues with your brand or product, to understand what features or services your customer want from you, and to go the extra mile with your customers.
Social Listening: Your Next Steps
So, now you know a lot about social listening… what are you going to do with this valuable information?
- Don’t stress out about social listening.
- Focus on building your brand and company.
- Contact us to learn how we can manage your social media presence for you.
- Ask us about social listening, social monitoring, sentiment analysis, and any other questions you have about social media.
- Learn how the Know Agency team makes sure your social media strategy is part of your overall digital presence strategy.
- Be confident that you’re working with the right people (hint: Know Agency) to get you found, liked, clicked, followed, and relevant.
- Subscribe to the Know Agency blog so you don’t miss our next post about social media.