Social Listening: Improving Your Brand’s Online Presence

There’s no denying that social media is a large and crucial aspect to running a business in today’s marketplace. Due in part to the rise of social media’s influence on consumers and their desire to share feedback with other consumers, more companies are flocking to online reputation management companies in efforts to tune into the digital word-of-mouth of consumers. However, there’s more to managing your reputation than monitoring your mentions on social media and reviews on various platforms.

While many are familiar with the idea of social listening, there is a lot of misconception around various industries regarding what it is specifically, and it’s immediate purpose for business owners and managers alike. While monitoring your mentions on social platforms is an aspect of social listening, that alone doesn’t paint the entire picture.

Social listening does include tuning into the conversations being directed towards your business such as questions or concerns. If you simply have a team member logging into your social platforms and checking for notifications; you’re just grazing the top of what social listening entails. To promote further understanding of the topic, social listening includes monitoring conversations that are taking place in relation to your business specifically, in addition to conversations consumers are having with your competitors, and the conversations your competitors are having.

This may not sound like a major task on it’s surface level, but it takes finding your target market and/or audience on social platforms via target marketing and searching trending topics and hashtags relative to your field. In order to do this, one is required to spent hours searching various relevant hashtags, finding conversations in the various niches your business is involved with and engaging with those businesses and/or consumers. Can this get excessive, repetitive, time consuming and excruciatingly keyword specific? In short— yes. Yet, on the flip side, the advantages or partaking in social listening makes future marketing and sales efforts a breeze to outline and put into place.

Maybe you’re someone who’s aware of social listening, but you’re not convinced on the benefits of it for your business. Maybe you doubt the data behind the research proving the effectiveness of social listening. If you relate to either of these statements or fall somewhere in the middle; read on.

A common misconception in regards to social listening is that it entails simply signing into your business’s social accounts and looking for notifications. If there are no notifications, then you’ve done your social listening for the day, right? Though it’d be great to nail social listening down to a one-step process, that’s just not the case. As we previously mentioned, it takes hours on end of delving deep into various social platforms, seeking out consumers and potential customers, and finding meaningful ways to engage with them.

Now that you have a better understanding of what exactly social listening is, let’s get into the ‘why’ of it all. Surely, you don’t want to spend valuable time (after all, time is money) listening into conversations that don’t directly touch your brand if you reap no benefit from it. To be blunt, if you’re not partaking in social listening, you’re essentially creating a business model blindly, because you aren’t tuning into the industry you’re trying to prove expertise in.

Social listening can help you actively tune into and reach out to those who are constantly talking about your business or industry on social media. By tuning in, you can provide helpful insight to consumers, which in turn gives you insight into what the customers expectations of a company such as yours could be. This not only allows you to create a relationship and a foundation of trust before even being directly sought out by a consumer, but also helps you get to know your target market in greater depth.

Not only does this give you greater insight into your customers head space and thought process, but you can also compare strategies based on results received on social media. Did you post a link to a study that received high social sentiment; a way to measure the emotion behind certain interactions consumers have with businesses and brands across social media platforms. This way, you can see what approaches work for your niche, and what they’re passionate about. By tracking this information, you can better strategize how to reach your target market in ways outside of social media.

When start actively listening into your social channels, you’ll find it easier to access thought leaders and influencers in your vertical. If you have an update of sorts to share with customers, consumers and other businesses; be sure to track links to any type of press release or content you distribute in relation to this change. This way, you’re able to track who’s sharing the link to your press release, who they’re sharing it to, and what’s being said in response to this press release. By doing this, you’ll be able to track down major influencers for your brand, and have leverage to strike up a conversation with them. When you target your market’s influencers, it’s crucial to engage with them on a regular basis, as your business could flourish with new customers and clients by simply doing so.

In the end, partaking in social listening will only strengthen the influence and reach of your brand. By proactively seeking out questions, comments and/or concerns from consumers and businesses alike, you’re getting your company’s name in the face of those who matter most, and are providing helpful resources to these potential influencers. You’re going above and beyond the efforts of your competitors who wait for the question and problem to be brought to them by going out and searching for concerns that your business can address and alleviate for consumers or businesses. You’re doing more than just throwing data at potential buyers and hoping it sticks; you’re taking the time to listen. In 2018, that’s what will set your business apart from the rest; that is what will put you on top.

Do you need help getting started with managing your online presence and tuning into the sound of your customers? Check out what we can do for you and your business today. The best part? Getting started is free and easy!