With more than 3.3 billion active social media users who have an average of seven different social media accounts, it’s safe to say there are a lot of people sharing quite a few opinions about various brands.
Maybe they’re talking about yours. But without a social listening tool, you wouldn’t know.
Social media monitoring and listening are often used interchangeably, but the two are quite different.
Monitoring is a valuable and common practice that involves overseeing and engaging with the activity happening on your brand’s social platforms. When monitoring, you’re likely:
- Fielding direct messages
- Responding to and/or liking and sharing comments and questions
Monitoring is undoubtedly crucial for maintaining a strong relationship with customers and building brand trust. However, a mind-blowing 96 percent of the people that talk about brands online don’t actually follow those brand’s social platforms. What you’re seeing on your own platforms is a small percentage of your audience.
It makes you wonder … how many conversations are taking place about your company and/or brand without your knowledge? How many questions are going unanswered? How many potential new customers are being missed?
Social listening targets that 96 percent.
With listening, you’re not just keeping an eye on comments, questions and conversations happening on your brand’s pages, you’re gaining insights from what people are saying outside your platforms, all across the Internet — from Instagram and Twitter to forums and blogs.
If you’re considering investing in a social listening tool, here are just a few things it can do for your brand:
PREVENT AND MANAGE A CRISIS
If you knew there was a tool that could help you prevent an online dust-up from becoming a full-blown crisis, wouldn’t you use it? With social listening, you can identify potential risks, monitor those risks, and if necessary, develop a response strategy.
Social listening can also help your brand navigate through a crisis that may already be under way. By using certain topics, key words, hashtags or phrases, you can determine what’s being said about your brand, and where these discussions are taking place, and engage in those conversations.
For example, you might have sent out a statement – in a press release, video and social media – to counteract a misconception trending online about your company and/or brand. You can analyze data from social listening to measure how much effect your outreach had on negative mentions.
MONITOR BRAND HEALTH
Brand health should be managed much like ongoing maintenance on your home or car. You’ll need to make regular check-ups to ensure everything is in order, and, in turn, you’ll receive insights as to how your brand is perceived. Let’s say you released a new product and want to know how it’s performing. Listening to feedback across social channels can provide valuable data including:
- How many people are talking about your brand during a certain time period
- Who, specifically, is talking about your brand/products
- How many of those mentions are positive, negative or neutral
- Where these conversations are taking place
You might see a lot of positive feedback on your Facebook page, but it’s crucial to know what’s being talked about outside of your own platforms.
AUDIT THE COMPETITION
Because physically spying on your competition is frowned upon and manually visiting each of their social platforms is a bit tedious, social listening is the perfect way to receive a holistic view of your competitors. It can provide insights as to what products, services and messages your top competitors are focused on, how they’re interacting with customers, which posts are getting the most engagement, and what campaigns they have in play.
Using a social listening tool, you can simply add in a competitor name, relevant keywords and any frequently used hashtags, allowing you to easily track all recent activity and mentions.
In addition, you can collect insights about your industry, based on what your customers are talking about.
With social listening, you have eyes and ears everywhere helping you make informed decisions for your brand.