Social Listening: What is It & How Can It Help My Business?

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Do you ever catch yourself in conversation with someone and realize all you can think about is what you’re going to say next? We get so caught up in wanting to share our funny story, pose our clever counterargument, or ask our follow-up question that we end up missing the other person’s point entirely. Sure, we may “hear” them; but hearing and listening? Not the same thing.

Clinical psychologist Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, once said, “Hearing is like collecting data”. Now, as the owner of a digital marketing agency, I love data. Data is great. Data allows businesses to make educated, tactile decisions based on numbers that reflect human behavior. However, I know that if I’m working with a brand whose goal is to connect with their consumers, they need to look beyond “hearing” the data and actually listen to what their consumers have to say.

For the purpose of this blog post, we’re going to take a look at “Social Listening”— a type of “listening” that pertains to brands on social media. Let’s get started…

What is Social Listening?

Social listening is the act of monitoring social media to find out what users are saying about your brand, based on the real insights they share across various social platforms.

“Social listening refers to analyzing the conversations and trends happening not just around your brand, but around your industry as a whole, and using those insights to make better marketing decisions.”

– Sprout Social, Inc.

How Can Social Listening Benefit My Business?

Every brand can benefit from social listening— regardless of your company’s size or industry type. It allows you to learn from and connect with your consumer, as well as see the bigger picture, and make pivots as needed. Social listening allows you to understand where, why, and how conversations are taking place regarding your brand and industry. You can then use the insights you glean to:

  • Help mold & shape future campaigns for your brand
  • Develop your company’s content strategy
  • Improve your messaging
  • Create successful influencer programs
  • Blow past your competition
Give the People What They Want:

By listening to what your audience is saying about your brand on social media, you can pinpoint what people like about your products or services. Social listening also helps you understand what it is users don’t like about your services or products. This empowers you with invaluable knowledge; knowledge that allows you to give the people more of what they do want, and less of what they don’t.

Build Trust:

Another benefit of social listening is that it can help your customers build trust in your brand. If you want your consumers to trust you, you have to give them a reason. This begins with understanding what they’re looking for from a brand like yours. Social listening uncovers how consumers feel about products or services you offer, which then allows you to tailor your approach in a way that builds trust.

Don’t be afraid to let your audience know you’re listening, either. Tell your consumers that you’ve heard their requests, insights, and opinions, and, in response, have adapted your goods or services to meet their desires. This shows them that you care, and that you’re willing to do what it takes to give them the best customer experience possible.

Drive Traffic to Your Website:

Finally, social listening helps you to identify where your audience is spending their time on social media. When you understand which social platforms your demographic prefers, you can then use this information to drive traffic to your website. How? By posting more frequently on these particular channels. You may also choose to have your employees drop links to various pages on your website in response to user questions, which can help drive traffic to your site as well.

Social Listening: How to Do It & What to Look For

When conducting a social listening “session”, it’s best to take it one social platform at a time. For example, start with Facebook, then move onto Instagram, then LinkedIn, etc. Look up keywords that relate to your brand (such as your company name, industry type, names of goods or services, etc.) and read what users have to say. Make a point to really take what they’re saying into account.

Social listening allows you to gain insights into five key areas of information for your business. Here’s a sample of what you should be asking:

Brand Health:

  • How do my consumers feel about my brand’s products or services?

Industry Insight:

  • What types of questions are people frequently asking in relation to my industry, and how can I strategically answer these questions in my content?

Competitive Analysis:

  • Is my competitor introducing new products or services? If so, what are users saying about their experience, and how can I outperform them?

Campaign Analysis:

  • What are the demographics like for my audience members who are resonating with the campaign?

Event Monitoring:

  • How is my audience reacting to my event?

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Social Listening: What is It & How Can It Help My Business?
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Social Listening: What is It & How Can It Help My Business?
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Do you ever catch yourself in conversation with someone and realize all you can think about is what you’re going to say next? We get so caught up in wanting to share our funny story, pose our clever counterargument, or ask our follow-up question that we end up missing the other person’s point entirely. Sure, we may “hear” them; but hearing and listening? Not the same thing.
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