5 Ways You Can Use Social Media Listening to Your Advantage
Social media monitoring is a must for any brand - and really, why would you miss such a great opportunity to find people who are talking about your business, looking for something that you offer, or asking a question that you can answer?
Social media monitoring is an excellent technique to reach your potential customers where they are, and build a genuine, authentic, customer-brand relationship.
Whether you're using social media monitoring or not, people are talking about you on social media, and to neglect them is just a bad marketing move. An in order to run an effective social listening program, the primary thing to start with is the types of keywords that you want to track.
So what kind of keywords should you be keeping tabs on? In this post, we'll cover exactly that - but first, let’s define the term 'keyword' within this context, so that we’re all on the same page.
What are keywords?
In social media monitoring, keywords are the words, or the word combinations, that you put into your monitoring tool so that the program can find the mentions of these word combinations online.
A keyword can be anything, from "WorldCup" to "We thought it was coming home but it’s not". Dependent on your needs, you might also want a tool that's able to process complex word combinations through Boolean search operators.
Keywords are the basis of your social media monitoring process. Properly articulated keywords will bring you relevant mentions that you want to see.
Many people think that social media monitoring tools are used solely to keep an eye on your brand awareness and health, but depending on the keywords you put in, you can do so much more.
Here are some tips on how you can use a social media monitoring tool to your benefit in various ways.
Of course, monitoring mentions of your brand name is a fairly obvious starting point - but this can be more complex than it might initially seem.
Unfortunately, you can’t just put in your brand name and be done with it - no matter how simple your name may be, there will always be some people that misspell it.
Even something as easy as British Airways can be misspelled:
Because of this, you need to take into account common misspellings and ensure you add them into your monitoring system.
Another problem you may run into is that your brand name is very similar (or even exactly the same) as another brand name - for example, we all probably know of the soap company Dove. Some of us might be wondering if Dove chocolate is a part of their franchise (it’s not, I checked).
As a result, if you were monitoring 'Dove', you’d likely get a lot of mentions that have nothing to do with your business.
The solution to this problem could be in using a combination of words to prevent irrelevant mentions on your timeline - so you might want to use combinations like “Dove + chocolate”, “Dove + sweet”, “Dove + eating” and so on.
The same applies if your brand name is a commonly used word (like, say, 'Apple').
Apart from brand name, you should also monitor your URL to find out who’s linking to your website. Moreover, if you produce content, it might be a good idea to monitor the titles of your blog posts, since a lot of users put links through URL shorteners.
Campaigns and products
You should monitor all of your marketing campaigns separately in order to help you identify how much buzz you create with each, and what people think about your messaging. If you have any branded hashtags, don’t forget to track them as well, and show appreciation to the customers who use them.
But similar monitoring issues as you experience with brand names can also occur with your products and services - a more specific one here is that oftentimes people will mention your product without bringing up the name of your brand. This can be particularly problematic if you have a wide range of products.
Again, you can use qualifiers and Boolean search terms to limit your results, highlighting the most actionable, relevant data for your needs.
Such process can be very useful in preventing reputation damage, and reacting to bad reviews in real time – for example, as you can see from the tweet below, some people were not very happy about Fenty's latest product launch.
If Fenty's team were doing social media monitoring, they would be able to see this response and contact the user immediately in attempt to mitigate the situation, which can lessen the impact of such concerns.
Competitor monitoring is also a key component to consider - based on the experiences of your rivals, you can see what works and what doesn’t, enabling you to avoid repeating the same mistakes.
You can also find weak spots in their offerings, which you can then use to advantage. For example, in the tweet below, we have two website host services mentions. ChemiCloud was clearly monitoring their competitor, and they managed to react to a negative mention quickly.
You can't always jump in and push your products in such interactions, but it's worth monitoring all of these competitor keyword variations to get a better handle on what they're doing, and what people are saying about their services.
Tracking keywords which are broadly related to your industry and product can also bring you a lot of opportunities.
First and foremost, it’s a chance to find potential clients - each month there are around 14,000 online searches that start with “can anyone recommend?” and 30,000 searches for “where can I buy?”
Of course, only a few of these will likely be related to your business, but by using a keyword monitoring combination of something like 'can anyone recommend' and your product/s, you'll be alerted to any such opportunity, enabling you to make direct contact.
Other possible queries to monitor could include:
- “any advice on choosing X”
- “can anyone recommend X”
- “looking for X”.
Industry keywords are not only important for simple lead generation catches - they can also help to inform your content strategy and approach.
Effective marketers need to be at the forefront of industry happenings in order to make the most of any developing opportunities. Monitoring industry keywords makes this task much easier - done right, you'll be able to see what content is resonating with people, what's generating the most shares and discussion online, what the latest, emerging trends are, and all of this insight can be used to help build out your marketing strategy.
Moreover, it will give you the opportunity to engage with people and establish your brand on social media. You can even monitor communities like forums, subreddits and Facebook Groups relevant to your industry, which you can then join and again, by being active and helpful, further promote your brand.
Another great, but underappreciated, use for industry keyword monitoring is finding micro-influencers.
Influencer marketing is on the rise as an outreach opportunity, but with social media giving everyone a voice, influence is about more than just celebrities with huge audiences.
Think about your industry, about the people from whom you learned something new, whose content you read to develop your knowledge of a certain topic, from whom you seek advice and whose expertise you trust. These are the influencers - maybe not major celebrities, but they are prominent, trusted voices within their niche.
Even if you’re a printing company, there will be people with dedicated blogs and/or YouTube channels who review products and elements related to your sector. It's may be worth seeking these influential voices out for future collaboration opportunities.
If you can identify the right people who are influencing purchase decisions - even if they're not major celebrities with huge followings - this can be hugely valuable for your business.
These are just a few of the ways in which you can use social media monitoring to advantage - but this is far from a complete list. There are so many more creative methods to use the tool - for example, you could set up an alert to find a new job with the name of a desired position and word combinations common to looking-to-hire announcements, or you could look for guest blogging and freelancing opportunities.
With so much data out there, your options are only limited by your imagination - by using the right combination/s of terms, you can find specific, actionable data points that cen help improve your business.
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