Social listening explained. All you need to know
Social listening is one of the cornerstones of digital marketing in the age of social media. It’s the best kind of map to lead you to the promised land of sale conversations and loyal customers.
What you need to know about social listening?
You’ve probably heard about it here and there, but you’re not exactly clear on what it is.
The first thought for many is that it’s about going into your social mentions on your accounts and seeing what people are saying about you. That’s definitely a part of it.
Social listening is about fully utilizing social media and other social platforms to track specific topics, keywords, brands, niches and audiences. You pull back in order to see the full picture and then use what you’ve learned to maneuver yourself to the head of the pack.
Why does social listening really matter?
We all exist online. Because of the pandemic, the virtual world seems to matter even more and this is doubly true for businesses. Without a website or social media presence, you can’t hope to stay in business, even if you’re a small, local enterprise.
You need to be able to broadcast your voice to those who should hear it, and social media listening does that for you. The process delivers the correct data and insights that make your brand attractive to your target audience.
It’s best to convince a potential customer to choose your product and then stay by your side.
How can it help you?
Keep track of your competition
I’m leading with competitor monitoring and analysis for the express reason many businesses don’t make it a priority – ultimately losing out on windows of opportunities.
Yours is not the only conversation happening in the room. Competitor insights reveal the chinks in their armor as well as their immediate strengths. When are they planning on releasing a product and running a campaign? If they’re the biggest on the market right now, then it’s best you avoid getting in their way.
In those instances, when your competitors make a big mistake and are receiving backlash, take out your notebook and take notes on what to avoid. Any experience is a good learning tool on what to improve in your own brand.
Understand your customers better
Ultimately, it’s your job to be inside the head of the consumer. Business owners like to think there is nothing they don’t know about their target customer, but that’s misplaced confidence more often than not.
Customers change their mind all the time. Can you blame them? There’s always a new shiny, better product out there that creates more value.
Social listening is the proverbial little birdie, which tells you what your customers want, need and are passionate about. You learn what they’re asking, what they currently think about your brand and what makes them angry. Also important to note, in that particular moment in time.
Additionally, social listening broadens your general knowledge of the consumer segment you’re actively targeting. These are parameters like their digital habits, preferred online platforms, their use of language and content that resonates with them.
Identify opportunities in the field
Moving away from the specific, social listening mines the depths of the Internet for deep insights into your industry as a whole. Keep your eyes on the lookout for new innovations, trending topics and hashtags, around which most conversations in your industry take place.
You never know when you’re going to stumble onto invaluable information. Perhaps it’s a bigger trend concerning consumer behaviour as a whole (kind of how shopping via mobile devices really picked up). Other times it’s what customers generally dislike about dealing with your product or service category, which then opens doors to switch things up for your brand. Really tap into an unexplored or underdeveloped niche.
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Social listening is one of those processes that takes you all over the Internet. As long as someone somewhere mentions your brand, you can find them and gain a valuable perspective. Ties all ties in with the point I made about learning where your target customers spend their times online. The social media listening process takes you through all digital haunts.
Tools like Google Alerts, Mention and ReviewTrackers make it easy enough to monitor branded keywords, but for a little bit more oomph try out RSS feed readers as monitoring tools. Inoreader has all the way to listen virtually anywhere, tap into valuable content in its database and easily save and subscribe to sites on Chrome.
Adapt your strategy to your customers’ needs
Now you know your audience’s favorite place online, their values, their needs and their language. The next step is to tailor your message and social media strategy to your ideal customer. Think of it as tuning the radio to the right frequency so that whatever you’re saying reaches their ears loud and clear.
In the digital age, it’s a cardinal sin not to have any social media presence. Plain foolish to not put a social media strategy in action. If you’re going to promote yourself, you need to know where. It is also important to generate content that your customer will find useful and relevant.
SEO professionals and marketers know to go to HubSpot for advice on their blog and it’s gotten to a point where there are people who don’t really know that they’re a company that offers all sorts of inbound marketing services.
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Develop your business much easier and faster
Growing a business is never easy, but social listening throws you a lifeline. It’s a lot easier to find your way when you have an idea where to go rather than stumble in the dark.
Tapping into your customers’ mindset not only makes it relatively simpler to convert sales, but also keeps your customers. It’s cheaper to retain customers than gain new ones and the most stable and sustainable way to grow a business is a solid foundation of loyal customers.
No customer will consider leaving you when they know you know their every wish and preference.