6 Reasons Why Every Brand Needs A Social Listening Strategy

How do many of the top brands on social media maintain their positive reputations? They’ve mastered the art of social listening. Through social listening, a brand or organization is able to get a more holistic picture of how they’re being perceived. It’s also an invaluable practice for building and maintaining a social community.

Social Media Management vs. Social Listening

Social media management includes reading and responding to what customers say when they contact you. This includes private messages, wall posts, comments, mentions, reviews, replies – essentially, anything that might trigger a notification within its respective channel or app. It also includes having a consistent voice and tone, developing goals, and honing in on the customer or community experience.

Social listening monitors what people are saying about your company, product, or service, without contacting you directly. This could include things like tweets that use your company name, YouTube videos reviewing your product, Instagram posts that include hashtags related to your brand, and so much more. It also extends to general industry discussion, things like trending topics and check-ins on competitors. Following these conversations takes significantly greater effort, but with a robust social listening strategy in place, it’s entirely worth it.

Why Every Brand Should Have a Social Listening Strategy

1. Get ahead of emerging issues

By continuously monitoring keywords related to your brand – for example, the name of your company, your signature product (or a newly released one), or public-facing employees – you’ll be sure to catch any relevant news or chatter.

For example, a video game company might have social listening monitors in place to pull in any tweets that include the name of their games. Or they might be more specific, tracking tweets that include both a game title and a word like “crash” or “error.” By listening for those terms, their social media team can investigate a potential server issue before tickets start pouring into the call center.

2. Provide proactive customer service

Did you know that people complain on the internet? It’s true! Sometimes they complain directly at an official company handle, but not always. Social listening lets your customer service team identify those “not always” instances and help people who usually aren’t expecting a response. Customers don’t always know where to direct their frustrations, and an unexpected, helpful reply can turn their negativity around.

3. Build brand following and community

Just starting your brand’s Instagram account? Chances are, users have already been posting about you. Through social listening, you can monitor hashtags related to your brand or industry and engage positively with users posting about you. Now that they know you’re active on Instagram, they’ll likely follow you.

You can do the same with an established channel, using keyword and hashtag monitors to find users with interests related to your brand. Authentic engagement with those users can help draw them into a community they otherwise may not have known about.

4. Find interesting content to share with your community

Having the right social listening monitor in place will help you keep your social channels active and fresh. Social listening is a fantastic way to find interesting user-generated content (or UGC) that your community will love (of course, only share once you’ve gotten the original creator’s permission).

Social listening can also help you identify potential influencers – users with large, engaged social followings – that might be interested in advocating for your brand. A vegan food brand, for example, could create a social listening monitor for discussions around vegan recipes. Through that, they would be able to find vegan bloggers, possibly even ones who already use and love their products.

5. Stay on top of industry trends

Proper social listening lets you see what influencers within your industry are sharing, including news, trending topics, and more. Monitoring what others are sharing can not only inspire your own content strategy but also give you the opportunity to engage with peers around trending topics.

6. Track the success of campaigns

In addition to content, engagement, and growth opportunities, social listening also provides key data that underscores the success or struggles of a timely campaign — things like total mentions of a key term or hashtag, demographic and location breakdown, activity peaks, viral potential of participants, and more.

For example, a holiday campaign might leverage a particularly catching hashtag phrase. Through social listening, you can see the reach and value of the conversations using that hashtag.

A few years ago, social listening was seen as a nice-to-have strategy for going above and beyond as time allowed. Now, it’s a key piece to a complete brand strategy. The points listed here are some of the biggest, most compelling reasons to establish a social listening strategy for your company, but as we’ve seen with plenty of the brands we work with, there are reasons beyond these, often specific to a given industry or audience. Whether you’re looking to increase brand awareness, generate leads, expand your reach, hone your content strategy, or something more, there’s a social listening strategy that can work for you.

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