Any business worth its salt knows that establishing a sound reputation and following on social media can be crucial to success. That said, the last thing you want is to be gaining a reputation for the wrong reasons! Social media channels are public forums where criticism of your business can escalate easily, if unchecked. In this article, we discuss how social media listening can help you track your social channels to better understand your customers, improve your strategy, and pick up on any negative feeling so you can nip it in the bud.
What is social media listening?
Social listening involves monitoring your social channels for mentions of your business. These could include customer feedback, and discussions involving specific topics, keywords, competitors or industry sectors. Social listening also involves analysing this information to gain insights that your business can act on to improve or make changes. Think of it a little like eavesdropping on a real-life customer conversation!
Whereas social media monitoring revolves around looking at metrics such as engagement, social media listening delves deeper to attempt to understand the sentiment behind them.
How can social media listening help my business?
Social media listening will give your business a host of valuable insights about your customers and your industry. It can help you in a number of key areas, including:
1) Engaging with customers
This could be in the form of a direct response to a comment or tweet about your business, or it might be recognising a trend or idea within your customer base and proactively acting on it. For example, take a look at this video that Hallmark made for Mother’s Day, the idea for which came from one of their Facebook followers describing her journey as the mum of a disabled child:
2) Understanding customer pain points
Keeping tabs on the conversations in your industry can give you a window into what is and isn’t working for your customers! What are they frustrated about? How is Covid-19 impacting them? What changes would they like to see that you could implement in your products/services? Could you come up with something completely new to satisfy them?
3) Tracking competitors
Tracking your competitors’ activities and performance (and how their customers engage with them) can be super-helpful as it allows you to understand your own position in the market, take advantage of opportunities that might exist, and tackle any potential risks to your business.
4) Avoiding bad PR
If your brand sentiment has taken a nosedive, it pays to find out why! Social listening helps you review customer feedback so you can deal with any problems before the bad feeling escalates. Apologising swiftly for any mistakes your business makes and rectifying them will always go down well with customers!
How do I go about social media listening?
If you want to give social listening a try, there are a number of tools available to help get you started. The topics and keywords you monitor are likely to change over time, but a basic list might include:
- Your business name and handles
- Your product name(s)
- The names, handles, product names, and branded hashtags of your competitors
- Your branded hashtags
- Unbranded industry hashtags
- Key people in your business and amongst your competitors
Tools you might use could include Hootsuite, Talkwalker, SproutSocial, Tweetreach, and Buffer, to name a few. Even using Google Alerts or the ‘Pages to Watch’ feature within Facebook Page Insights can give you a real understanding of customer sentiment.
Social media listening can help your business formulate campaigns, improve its messaging and marketing content, stay one step ahead of the competition, and develop new relationships with potential customers and partners. What’s not to like?