Everything you need to know about social listening

5th May 2019

What is Social Listening?

Many years ago, businesses didn’t need to use social media for marketing purposes, but today the game has changed completely. Not being active on social media can be detrimental to your business because you will fail to understand their wants and needs in real time.

Social listening means listening to your audience on social media. Depending on your business goals, this entails understanding which social media platforms are most appropriate to showcase your brand and receive feedback from your customers. Some businesses stand to benefit more than others, but in this day and age, all businesses should have at least a modicum of social media presence.

How Things Have Changed

It used to be that Myspace and early Facebook were great ways to stay in touch with friends and family around the world. Modern social media platforms have expanded into all sorts of categories. Whether your content is more text, image, or video-based, you’ll need to realise that keeping tabs on all social media platforms can be time-intensive and it’s better to pick and choose the right ones for you.

No longer is social media just a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but most now support business webpages and allow for multi-channel marketing campaigns. Online advertising revenue is now a multi-billion dollar industry showing no signs of slowing down as more and more people around the world gain access to high-speed internet.

Take Your Brand to the Next Level

Regardless of whether you’re providing goods or services, social media listening is a great way to gain real-time feedback from customers. Your brand is so important to the success of your business. Even the best ideas can fall flat on their faces without proper marketing and branding.

Keeping on top of your social media listening can help you to capitalise on posts or content that may go viral and to maximise your brand awareness. Conversely, neglecting social listening can create a brand crisis. Disgruntled customers may have posts that go viral and can damage your brand image. Stay on top of these issues to ensure that you’re providing value and customer service every step of the way.

Increase Business Reputation

Assume that your competition is also making use of social listening to improve their products or services. Not listening to your audience on social media can put you further behind and can be a missed opportunity to garner reputation.

If you’re able to quickly respond to customer feedback and provide your customers with valuable content that feels personable and down-to-earth, your customers will feel more invested and begin to follow and comment actively, which can lead to people sharing your content and doing your marketing for you.

Developing a Social Listening Strategy

The first step is to determine your goals. Ensure that your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. This could be, for instance, establishing a social media presence for your cupcake shop.

In this case, SMART goals could include:

  • Create business profiles on Facebook and Instagram;
  • Measure customer engagement through analytics tools;
  • Create quality text, image, and video content yourself or hire a content strategist;
  • Facebook and Instagram are relevant because your customers use these regularly;
  • Develop these over a month and continue to monitor and listen to your audience.

Your next step is to implement this strategy and be sure to always provide regular and quality content. Poor content management or failing to understand your audience means they’ll likely just scroll past and won’t feel engaged.

Be sure to provide relevant seasonal content as well, such as holiday discounts or offers with relevant imagery. Pair this with evergreen content to ensure that your followers are regularly kept up to date with your brand and your product or service.

Don’t get in the habit of posting multiple posts all at once and then nothing for extended periods of time. Content management systems can help you to queue up content and post it according to a regular schedule. In summary, too much content at once will lead to people unsubscribing or feeling bombarded by marketing campaigns. Too little content will harm your brand awareness.

Maintaining Good Routine

You’ve set up a social media presence and are now providing regular, relevant, and quality content. Here’s where social media listening can pay dividends. You’re going to want to regularly check comments and ensure that your customers’ questions and concerns are addressed.

Is someone sharing your content or praising your product or service? Give them a personalised and thoughtful “thank you” message! No matter the size of your business, customers love to feel that sense of engagement from a brand that they already recognise and like.

If you’re receiving complaints and criticism, be mindful to respond appropriately. The customer isn’t always right and some complaints may be unfounded or beyond your control. Focus on what you can do better and try to solve their problems in the most appropriate manner.

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