It's no little secret that social media marketing plays a vital role in the success of any company's marketing campaign. In fact, social media has significantly changed the world of marketing as we know it by providing consumers with the opportunity to voice their ideas, opinions, and reviews about your brand, products and services with their friends, family and audience at large. This level of sharing can result in significant influence on the buying public. According to a report published by Digital Information World, 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.
With so many people likely talking about your brand, it only makes sense to pay attention to what they are saying.
What Is Social Listening and Why Is It Important?
Social listening assists companies in understanding what their customer's desires and concerns are while providing the opportunity to respond in real time. Social listening can provide a great number of benefits and opportunities, including the ability to engage directly with consumers, drive insights that can be used for making informed decisions, and obtain sales leads.
Social Media Examiner reported that although many companies have a good understanding of what social listening is, they fail to understand how they can apply an effective listening strategy to their social media process. Still, learning how to employ social listening effectively is critical to a company's future success. According to Social Media Examiner, 60 percent of marketers surveyed used social listening strategies last year and 24 percent had plans to do so this year. Unfortunately, only 31 percent of marketers believed that their social listening strategies were effective.
When implemented in the correct manner, social listening can provide the opportunity for companies to interact directly with their consumers. Social listening is about much more than simply watching tweets and posts that mention the name of your company. Additionally, social media listening must be more than something that is applied at the beginning of a campaign. Instead, it should be a strategy that is applied throughout the entire process.
Effective Strategies for Social Listening
In order to achieve solid results, it is imperative that you listen carefully and respond in a strategic way.
· Begin by setting up a strategy for tracking social mentions. Given the breadth of the Internet and social media platforms today, this can seem like an overwhelming task. Fortunately, there are some tools available that can help you with this process. Mention.net is one of those tools. This tool will watch literally millions of different sources in dozens of languages. Anytime someone mentions your brand, Mention.net will provide you with real-time alerts. HootSuite is another great tool that can help you benefit from customized streams, allowing you to easily track conversations across a variety of platforms. Other popular tools include Trackur and Sprout Social.
· Do more than just listen; understand before you respond. Take the time to analyze what you are hearing from your consumer base. Consider the context of the conversation. For instance, consider whether your customers are venting and complaining to their friends or whether they are reaching out to you in a direct manner.
· Consider share of voice. In other words, what is your place in the conversation? How much are people talking about your brand? If you are a small business, it very well may be the case that your customers are not talking at all. As surprising as it may seem, a lack of conversation can be just as bad as a negative conversation. When your customers are not saying anything, it is vital that you take advantage of the opportunity to jumpstart the conversation. A great way to do this is by posting different types of content that will encourage shares and likes. Great examples include entertaining posts, inspiring posts, and posts showing them how to solve everyday problems, hopefully using your product.
· What is your customer's tone of voice? We all know that when you are interacting with a customer on a one-on-one basis, it is vital to pay attention to the customer's tone of voice. The same is also true when it comes to social listening. In this case, you need to gauge whether the conversation regarding your brand is primarily positive or negative. Ideally, the conversation should be positive, but if not, you need to ascertain the root of the problem and take steps to resolve it.
· Trends matter. Social listening is about much more than simply tuning in occasionally to hear what customers have to say. You must stay actively engaged in order to identify trends as they develop over time.
· Do not listen just for the sake of listening. Social listening should always have an identifiable outcome. Make certain that your company has a process in place to do something with the information that you obtain. The information you glean will do nothing to benefit your company if it remains trapped in your marketing department.
As social media continues to grow and evolve, the importance of social listening will expand as well. Make sure you have a solid plan in place sooner than later to ensure you're taking advantage of the knowledge you gain.