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4 Tactics for Improved Social Listening

By: Lucy Kaplan

March 4, 2019

Social media listening, also referred to as social media monitoring, is the process of finding out what’s being said about your company, product, brand or team on social media, and analyzing that data. Done right, social listening can be one of the most important tools for gathering intelligence from your customers, allowing you to use those insights to inform your content, business development, customer service and marketing campaigns.

Social listening is more than simply setting up a Google Alert to see what people are saying about you on social media. It’s about finding out where those conversations are taking place. It’s also about responding, delivering content to users when they’ve shown interest, and helping them with problems wherever you can.

If your goal is to reach a targeted group of consumers, the way to their hearts is through relevant, personalized and engaging content. How many times have you shaken your head at an ad you’ve been shown on social media, wondering how you were possibly targeted by that brand? (It happens to me almost daily.)

Think of it in terms of your own life: If you had a friend that constantly tried to talk to you about something you’re not interested in, how long would that friendship last? When you focus on social listening, you can avoid being tuned out by the people you’re trying to reach by getting to know exactly what it is they want to talk about.

Sprout Social research has found that 34.5 percent of people prefer to reach out to brands through social media, beating out other channels like live chat (24.7 percent), email (19.4 percent) and 1-800 numbers (16.1 percent). The problem is that almost 90 percent of social messages aimed at organizations are ignored. Some may even say that social media is less about social than it is about customer service. And when a customer has a poor customer service experience, they share that experience with 17 people. However, when a customer has a poor customer service experience on social media, they share that negative experience with 53 people! There’s no way to lose customers faster than by ignoring them.

To avoid that devastating scenario, here are four ways you can use social listening to benefit your business:

Get an edge on your competition. Set up keyword tracking to monitor all mentions that relate to your products and competing services. Pro tip: Ensure you list variations of your company name and competitors’ names, as well as common misspellings, if there are any.

You may find that people are complaining about a competitor’s product or customer service, and you can take that opportunity to step in and ask them to lay out what issues they’re having. From there, you can show them that you’re there for them and explain your product’s benefits.

This can help you find new customers and opportunities—people will see that your brand cares, which can make your business more attractive to potential consumers. This not only applies to the people you’re directly communicating with, but those who are watching you passively on social platforms.

Identify influencers and brand advocates. Find out who’s sharing information about your products and organically spreading positive news relating to your brand. This is a great way to identify opportunities for influencer relationships. Who are your brand advocates? Once you know, you can reward them for their help in spreading the love for your brand. A happy customer that talks about you without being asked is marketing gold. Continue to build upon those relationships.

Find your home turf. With social listening, you don’t have to guess where the best place to focus your marketing efforts might be. Save time by knowing what platform is best for your social media marketing from the get-go. Through listening, you can see where people are having conversations about your products and services, and talk to them right on the platform with which they’re familiar. It could be on Twitter, or Facebook or Instagram—join these existing conversations and get to know both your current and potential consumers.

Improve customer service. When you’re focused on listening, you’ll hear both positive and negative feedback. Some might argue that negative feedback is most beneficial, because it often provides clear direction on how you can improve.

Remember, if someone’s taking the time to complain, they’re not yet a lost consumer—they’re just showing you that they are open to being helped through a problem.

Through social listening, you can gain a competitive advantage, exceed customer expectations and increase revenue. You’re likely to see an uptick in sales once you begin paying more attention to what people are saying about your brand.

Follow Lucy: @LUCYrk78

At The Social Shake-Up