How to Use Social Listening to Improve Your Brand
May 06 2021
Listening to your audience has always been important. Now there are new ways to gauge consumer and brand reputation beyond data. Social listening allows brands to analyze conversations and trends about themselves and the competition to refine and improve their digital presence.
Here’s what you need to know about social listening, how it’s used, and what it can mean for your business moving forward.
What is Social Listening?
Social listening means consistently monitoring social channels to keep up with keywords, direct mentions, feedback or the general discussion surrounding your brand. It involves taking stock of how your branded messages are being received and staying acutely aware of any chatter surrounding your industry or competitors that may provide valuable insight into changing trends.
Listening is an active verb, which means successfully evaluating and responding to these mentions and other material related to your business is an opportunity to better tailor content to your audience. Social listening is a central piece of the customer experience, develops stronger relationships with potential audiences, and offers valuable feedback to guide your brand’s next strategic move.
Why is Social Listening Important?
When it comes to your brand’s digital marketing efforts, raw campaign data doesn’t always paint a complete picture. Businesses might be blind to a failing aspect of their customer journey or missing out on industry trends if they aren’t tuned in to online chatter surrounding their brand name. Data tells brands about engagement metrics — social listening shows brands their reputation.
Social listening also tells your business how exactly it can add value to individual customers. According to Sprout Social, 83% of users like when brands respond to questions, and 48% of customers ultimately make purchases with responsive brands on social media. The relationship between brand and customer is a two-way street, and meaningful (ie. not scripted) responses to questions or concerns make customers feel heard and valued.
Tools You Can Use
More brands are seeking actionable customer insights from their key social channels, giving rise to social listening tools built specifically to gather and analyze useful information. There are several tools to choose from in the social management space, many combining social listening techniques with other data collection and analysis offerings.
Big-name social media management tools like HubSpot, Sprout Social and Hootsuite offer platforms to monitor, prioritize and engage with customers to form a sound social listening strategy. Each provides a customizable dashboard to collect and respond to brand mentions and feedback from customers’ social accounts while also monitoring relevant industry trends. Other widely-used social management dashboards include Tweetdeck, Brandwatch, and Mention.
Other, newer tools on the scene include Awario, which tracks brand mentions, backlinks or brand mentions without links. All good social listening tools keep you in the loop when it comes to your brand’s digital presence, including previously unknown customer pain points.
Implement Your Social Listening Insights
Acting on insights gained from the tools above and adapting social strategy to account for what you learned through good social listening practices benefits every level of your digital marketing, including the following:
Closely monitoring brand name mentions can cut down customer service complaints and give quick feedback when something in the checkout process is broken or mishandled.
Utilizing a social management dashboard helps to discover and develop more engaging content that resonates with wider audiences.
Responding directly to feedback or concerns builds your brand reputation and strengthens customer loyalty.
The doors opened by social listening and application of those learnings are nearly limitless. Getting detailed information directly from customers regarding brand strengths, potential blind spots and incoming needs for new products is an invaluable asset to your overall marketing plan.