Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. Stephen Covey
How to use social listening to improve your brand Social listening is more of a science than art because it includes analytics, metrics, and actionable insights. Despite these elements, it is simpler than it might look or sound.
Stephen Covey’s quote is a useful warning about what can go wrong with social listening. Get it right and you will build your following with social listening.
When you listen, don’t just monitor or reply to all incoming questions or comments about your brand. Instead, listen so you can analyze and reflect on all the data you get from different social conversations. Listening skills are essential to those considering launch a post retirement career.
As you ‘meditate’ upon this information, you gain more insight that you can utilize for your overall strategy.
Here’s an example of how this works:
A digital marketing company has been experiencing a high demand for its services both from old and new clients. These clients also left many positive reviews on social media platforms and forums.
However, that happy tune began to change after a few months. First, only very few customers started posting negative comments. Because the numbers were insignificant, it did not raise any alarm. However, as the days passed, the trickle of complaints became a deluge.
If you looked at this on a general level, it would be easy to conclude that the whole team has a problem and end up with a solution that won’t address the problem. However, if you look at what people are saying in the comments of your various social media site, you will realize precisely what your problem is. Then, you can apply a more specific solution.
How Can You Utilize Social Listening for Your Business?
Now that you understand social listening, the real challenge is fully utilizing its power for your business. Let’s take a closer look at how you can make it work.
Create New Marketing Campaigns
When you listen, you can gain better business insights and identify new opportunities straight from the marketplace. You can use that information to create a more effective and relevant strategy.
Improve Customer Experience
You will face different sets of challenges and obstacles that could have a significant effect on your customer experience. A substantial challenge is distinguishing whether a problem is a significant issue or just an isolated incident. Social listening will help you identify which is which, allowing you to focus on the more significant trends rather than a one-off issue.
One company that applied this was GoPro for their Hero4 model. Many of the features in the GoPro Hero4 came from customer suggestions and feedback on the Hero3+. The company put all of them into consideration and used them as an inspiration for their succeeding models. Give feedback to customers shows that you are using social listening to build your brand
Make Strategic Decisions
Innovation requires market research. Combine that with social listening, and you have two winning punches. You can see this in action with the GoPro example in the previous point. With social listening, you will be able to find:
The products/features that your customers like or dislike
The kind of products they want
The products that are highly in demand
Social listening gives you a better understanding of what your clients want. To get the most out of it, follow what people say about your brand closely. Don’t just focus on the apparent trends but the subtle ones. Most of all, make listening a habit at every level of your business.
Social Media Exposure
Social media exposure refers to the number of times your content is seen. Reach, and impressions are two related but different (and frequently wrongly interchanged) types of social media exposure. Reach is the number of people who saw your content, while impressions are how many times people see your content.
Reach tells you how far your message is spreading. It gives you an idea of the potential audience size you can interact with. That’s why most social media metrics that involve ratios use to reach as the denominator.
Impressions indicate how viral a post has become. Impressions matter in social branding because it often requires multiple touches with a user to drive interest.
Different platforms measure reach and impressions in different ways.
• Facebook reports page, post reach (further divided into organic, viral, and paid), and impressions.
• Twitter tracks tweet-level impressions (Buffer suggests dividing impressions by the total follower count to estimate reach).
• LinkedIn allows you to gauge overall reach post by post.
Engagement tells you how many people did something with your content. It’s essential to keep an eye on engagement metrics since it lets you know how active your target audience interacts with your social media branding messages.
Likes, comments, shares, retweets, replies, etc., all move the needle when it comes to social media engagement. Here’s how the top social media channels track engagement:
• Facebook – the number of likes, comments, shares, and clicks your posts are generating
• Twitter – likes, retweets, and mentions your tweets produce
• LinkedIn – how many times have users clicked, liked, commented on, and shared your content
Not all sources agree on social media influence, and different campaigns use their yardsticks to gauge influence. Social Media Examiner, for example, considers influence as the type of sentiment (positive, negative, or neutral) that a company’s engagement activities generate. Kissmetrics talks about influence in terms of the potential impact of people who talk about your brand.
Whatever school of thought you subscribe to, social media influence matters in branding. It increases brand visibility and, consequently, your reach and (possibly) engagement. Here are some ways different social media monitoring tools measure influence:
• User activity and interaction with other users
• Mentions, retweets, and replies (both to and by the user)
• Topic authority and ability to drive conversations
As you can see, social media branding deals with many moving parts. Coming up with a coherent strategy often requires you to clearly understand the entire process of putting everything together. With the ideas we discussed in these last three episodes, developing and executing a social media branding strategy will be much simpler.
The most important thing to consider about creating content is context. It’s not enough to think about the best message; you need to think about who will read it. It would be best if you also thought about what platform they will see it on. What device will they read it on? What time of day will they read it? How much interaction have they already had with you? You even need to consider their level of interest in your business.
Knowing your audience, their preferences, the devices they use, and when they use them should profoundly impact your content. Beyond context, there also needs to be a purpose – you want your content to be read and shared – but why? Are you driving brand awareness, or are you trying to get conversions? What is the purpose of the content? Is it entertaining your audience or educating them?