Every day, people send out millions, if not billions, of posts on social media. Twitter alone accounts for about 500 million tweets on a daily basis. Then there’s Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube.
This flurry of activity can make it easy to miss someone talking about your brand or one of your products. That’s where social listening comes into play.
What is social listening, and why does it matter for your brand? This guide has the answers you’re looking for. Plus, there are tips to you to get started with social listening as part of your marketing strategy right now.
What Is Social Listening?
So, what is social listening? Essentially, it’s using technology to track certain words and phrases so you never miss another mention.
Social listening is sometimes referred to as “social media listening.” Many businesses focus on social media platforms like Facebook, but the concept can also be applied to other web platforms. You might want to keep track of blog mentions, websites, news stories, and more.
Why Does It Matter for Your Business?
The next question you probably have is about the importance of social media listening. Why should you add it to your marketing strategy?
Social listening is a technique that lets you filter through the noise of today’s web. By tracking particular words and phrases, you can:
- Keep track of customer feedback
- Respond to customer questions and comments
- See what’s trending in your industry
- Keep track of competitors
- Monitor trends in customer discussions
- Keep track of brand reputation
It’s easy to see why you might want to keep track of customers mentioning your products or brand on social media. You want to be able to respond to them on time, to answer questions or thank them for the shout-out.
With billions of posts across many digital channels on a daily basis, it’s easy to miss discussions and mentions. That can leave your customers feeling out in the cold.
Social listening goes beyond just interacting with your customers though. You can also use it to see what they’re interested in and what other subjects they’re talking about. That can help you prepare content they’ll be interested in.
You can also use it to keep track of what your competitors are doing. Social listening can also help you keep an eye on industry trends.
Responding to the Market in a Timely Manner
All of this allows you to respond to changes in the market much faster. Whether it’s answering a customer question or jumping on the latest meme, social listening can help you do it.
This can help you achieve various marketing goals. Social listening might help you track trends, which can inform your content. It can also improve your interactions with customers.
It can also help you improve your brand reputation and your customer relationships.
How to Do Social Listening the Right Way
Social listening, at its core, is a way of getting data-powered insights. Using the right tools, you’ll track particular phrases and terms. You can use the data to see when discussion of your product ramps up. In turn, you can fine-tune different parts of your marketing strategy.
So, how can you carry out social media listening? Many companies get started on the right foot by tracking their brand name across social media platforms.
That lets them respond to customers when they mention the brand or company specifically. It can also show if the brand is trending. Your team can then capitalize on the opportunity or do damage control if need be.
The next step marketers often take is adding a few key phrases to their tracking. If you sell high-end loose leaf tea, you might want to track discussions about “tea.”
Choosing the right words and phrases here is important. There are likely plenty of people talking about loose-leaf tea on social media. “Tea” may yield results for people “spilling tea” on others’ bad behavior.
It might even yield other competitors talking about their own products.
Narrowing down the mentions with a more exact keyphrase can help you filter out the noise. Then you can home in on the discussions most relevant to your brand.
Tracking Competitors and Industry News
Many marketers set up their brands and their keywords for social listening. Then they think they’re done.
You can actually do more. You may not want to track the general topic “tea,” but you might actually want to set up social listening for some of your top competitors. That way, you can see what others are saying about them.
This often presents an opportunity, because people may take to social media with complaints. When they complain that a competitor has discontinued their favorite tea, you can make a recommendation.
You can also use social media tracking to keep tabs on what’s going on in the industry at large. Is there a hot new drink everyone needs to try? If so, you can pick up on it and offer up a recipe.
The Right Social Listening Tools Make the Difference
Now that you understand how to use social listening and why you should be using it, you want to know how to get started.
Picking the right tools is often the first step. Fortunately, there are plenty of social media listening tools out there.
Some of the best do double duty as social media management platforms, like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Platforms like Hubspot provide a one-stop shop for your digital marketing needs.
Some of the best social listening tools, though, are dedicated brand management platforms. These include entries like Awario. They let you keep your ear to the virtual ground, while also providing you with the tools you need to act on what you hear.
A Better Marketing Strategy Is Just Clicks Away
As you can see, social listening should be a key part of any digital marketing strategy. If you’re not paying attention to what people are saying, you could be missing key opportunities for growth.
Social media listening is just one part of a successful digital marketing strategy. If you want to succeed, you’ll need to make sure you’re armed with the right information.
Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO and co-founder of 3dcart, an ecommerce software to build SEO-friendly online stores. He’s dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.