In the world of social media conversations are extremely important, but what is even more important is “listening” to those conversations, and finding out how people (your audience) actually think about your brand, your industry, your competitors online. Simply put this is “social listening.”
Sprout Social defines social listening as “the process of tracking conversations around specific topics, keywords, phrases, brands or industries, and leveraging your insights to discover opportunities or create content for those audiences.”
What makes social listening crucial is the limited attention span of your audience. You want to know what content/ product resonates with your audience or what are their pain points, and plug those insights into your overall marketing or business development strategy.
How you can use social listening in your marketing strategy?
Social listening and monitoring can be utilized in many different ways depending on your industry and specific company goals. For example, I work for a global law firm, where we utilize these insights for reputation management and PR purposes.
Social listening can be utilized for the following:
- Finding actionable insights and tracking the overall health of their brand
- Creating customized content for your audience
- Identifying key influencers/brand advocates in their space
- Finding opportunities to enhance customer experience,
- Staying on top of trending trends in their industry
- Understanding how your brand is being perceived in comparison with your competitors
How social listening and monitoring differ and complement from each other?
Social listening differs from social monitoring, in the sense that it goes beyond numbers such as the number of mentions or engagements. Social Listening is more about studying your social media channels to track the overall trends surrounding your brand, competitors, product or industry at large.
However, social media monitoring and social media listening go hand in hand. For example, if you gathered an aggregate of mentions or hashtags that people are using to talk about your brand over a period of time, and used it to create customized content for your audience, then you have transitioned into social listening from social monitoring.
As social media monitoring and listening become increasingly important, it is critical for social media marketers to have the right tools that can help them stay on top of things. I found this great article on Hootsuite that provides a list of tools for social media monitoring. If you haven’t already invested in a tool yet, check out this list here.