With the growing attention on social media, you’ve probably been hearing the phrase ‘social media listening’ more and more. Don’t worry; we’re going to explain all in this guide (including why it matters for businesses!).
What’s Social Listening?
Essentially, social listening is something you’re likely to be doing already…you just didn’t know there was a particular term for it. On all social media channels, social listening is the act of tracking direct mentions of the brand (or customer feedback). Perhaps you already keep tabs on discussions according to topic, competitors, keywords, or even the whole industry?
At this point, we should note that there’s a difference between just paying attention to discussions and actively analyzing them. For the companies that pay the closest attention to social listening, they use the information to gain insights into their business and the industry. If possible, they then act on the insights and improve their service.
Social Monitoring vs. Social Listening
For most businesses, all they do is social monitoring, and this is what we have just discussed. They pay attention to mentions on social media, look at conversations, and see who is talking about the brand. With social listening, this is the act of taking it one step further. What are the leading causes behind these conversations? What can we learn? How can we use this knowledge to shape our long-term strategies? Can we improve our service based on what we’ve learned?
What Does Social Listening Mean for Businesses?
In the past, we’ve seen plenty of people asking why social listening is essential. Firstly, it provides an opportunity to converse with customers. With social media, people are closer to brands than ever before. Many years ago, we would have to send a letter to headquarters just to get our voices heard. Now, all it takes is a simple tweet or Facebook message (just a few seconds).
With this change in the relationship between customer and brand, the former appreciates it when the latter responds. Not only do customers want brands to answer questions, but they also want brands to get involved in discussions. When a company is responsive to social media, customers are more likely to spend their hard-earned money with them.
Additionally, social media listening allows a business to review incidents. While the odd negative comment is expected on the internet these days, seeing the negative comments become more common than the positive ones is a real problem. With social media listening, businesses can review what caused the spike in negativity. Does the company need to take serious measures to stop the slide? Alternatively, is it a small problem that will quickly dissipate?
Furthermore, it also means free innovation advice for businesses. For the longest time, it has been a guessing game for companies trying to work out what the customers will want next. With social media, there’s free information everywhere. Are customers continually complaining about the same thing with regards to a product? If so, this is a key area for improvement in future products. Are they all searching for something in your niche? Perhaps you can be the one to fill this gap first.
Finally, it also means free market research. If you want to get to know your customers, social listening is an invaluable tool. When you get a new follower, take a couple of minutes to review the type of content they like, share, and promote.
With social listening, businesses can learn of potential public relations nightmares and deal with them quickly. Also, it provides opportunities to learn, grow, and become a member of the community!