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Social Media Listening - Why It's Important
For many, “sit back and listen” is unacceptable. They want to get out there and make things happen. Some might even want to ‘test the waters’ but most just want to make things happen.
We get that.
But we recommend listening, learning, confirming and adjusting before you take the next step for two reasons. And since this is an on-going activity so you can stay on top of changes in behavior as well as changes in technology, you will be constantly listening, learning and analyzing, conforming and adjusting with your testing processes.
First, the volume of data is overwhelming – and you need to figure out how to figure out how to manage it so it can drive your actions. And you also don’t need to jump in and make a very public mistake based on inexperience so make the time to listen and learn.
Oh and most importantly, this part of the ongoing research you need to continuously perform in order to succeed over the long-term because things change and you need to pay constant attention to what’s happening so you can identify changes and be able to respond faster and more appropriately.
Social Media Listening: How?
First, let’s make sure we’re talking the same talk – because there is a difference between social monitoring and social listening, and what we want to do is social listening.
“Monitoring takes a scrape and dump approach, which can be helpful for collecting any and every mention. Listening takes a reflect-and-analyze approach, helping to notice patterns and insights, things like sentiment (how do people feel when they talk about me?) and channels (where are the conversations happening?)."
So why listening?
Because listening will “…spark new conversations, gain valuable audience insight, identify advocates or influencers, build affinity for your brand, or find customer support and sales opportunities in real-time.”
You need that level of detail to be effective.
What to listen for?
Use branded and non-branded keywords and then sift through the data in order to get an understanding of what people are using those terms for in their social media posts/conversations.
- Your Company’s Name
- Your Product Name(s)
- Topics that relate to your business
- Product category (marketing automation software or men’s clothing)
- Other (For example, ‘auto safety’ when targeting car buyers)
- Competition (more on that in a bit)
In addition to the actual buyers of your products/services, you also want to listen to key influencers – for example, people that work for or with your competitors or cover your industry. So as you listen to what you capture with your keywords, look at who is most active in those areas and has the most active followers – then add those individuals to your list to follow and listen.
You want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly so you get a clear (as clear as possible) understanding of what is going on in social media, as it applies to your business and products as well as your audiences.
Why? Because this helps you identify opportunities, set realistic objectives and devise the strategies and tactics you need to be successful.