As we begin to look forward to our social media plans for 2023, it’s important to look at the growing importance of social listening. Right now, most businesses and brands are practicing social monitoring. They respond to comments, invite people to like pages, and search their mentions. However, these methods mean businesses are only reacting to what’s being said in the moment. Social listening helps analyze not only the comments and conversations in response to your brand but looks at your entire industry as a whole. It allows you to have a more active role in your brand’s public perception rather than reactive. Various companies like SproutSocial and Hootsuite have begun developing tools to make your social listening a breeze. But what is social listening and how is it different than the engagement you are already doing?
What is Social Listening?
It’s all about trying to see the forest instead of the trees. In today’s world, we would suggest that all brands practice some form of social monitoring: reading and responding to comments, inviting people to like your pages, and so on. Spending a few minutes a day doing these small things will enable you to see how people are engaging with your brand and your content. Social listening expands on this, providing you with the engagement numbers and the sentiment trends behind it. It’s a method to understand where, why, and how conversations in your industry are happening, even when you are not specifically mentioned or tagged. This information is incredibly useful when it comes to planning content, consumer messaging, and campaign strategies.
How Can Social Media Listening Help You?
When you are social monitoring, you may see a some of the same questions or issues, respond to them, and then move on without seeing the frequency. Social listening uses the keywords and phrases (and variations thereof) that are associated with your industry, along with your social media mentions and replies, to help us learn more about your brand health and common topics surrounding your products. They quickly establish a few key insights that help inform your marketing strategy.
First, they give insight on the most frequent questions your customers are having, making it easier to create chatbots and a more useful FAQ section on your website. It also helps you learn the common issues your customers are seeing. It can help you understand the overall tone of consumer feedback and what your audience is loving. Social listening allows you to see the whole picture, the good and bad parts, which can better inform how you create content and advertisements moving forward.
Additionally, it can also help you look at industry-wide trends as they begin to develop. This means content can be ahead of the curve. If you have been interested in getting in on influencer marketing (more on that here) social listening can help ascertain what influencers are trending within your market. Social listening can also provide you with the engagement numbers of competitors so you can see what is working for them and what isn’t and apply those changes to your marketing where needed.
Finally, social listening is a natural tool when looking for ways to grow your following. Seeing what key hashtags, trends, and other content is positively trending industry-wide gives you the ability to stay on top of them. Your competitors may be using hashtags you aren’t and are getting a lot of positive feedback on them. By seeing those numbers you can ensure your content is reaching the widest audience possible.
Social listening and its value in developing any marketing strategy has been a trend to watch as we move into the new year. It is the best way to see how your brand sits in the industry as a whole and how to optimize the work you are already doing. Analyzing patterns and trends over time helps keep your content on top of all the ever-important social media trends!