Having access to real-time information and data is instrumental for business success. Understanding what audience behaviors, patterns, activities, and even social conversations look like at any moment can help businesses make intelligent decisions. However, since the internet is saturated with millions of conversations happening across social media all at once, it can be challenging to isolate the information you need or are explicitly searching for. Social listening can help brands track these conversations and trending topics to make informed decisions.
What is Social Listening?
Social listening is the ability to become a fly on the wall in any digital conversation or trend taking place in real-time. Technically speaking, social listening is tracking social media platforms for conversations and mentions that relate to your brand. These can be keywords that are directly linked to your business (like your business name or slogan) or mentions relating to your industry (like fashion or software services).
This information is collected using social listening tools. Companies can analyze the data to understand their business, areas for improvement, what competitors are doing differently, and industry shifts and trends. But social listening is truly implemented once a company takes action in response to the data collected.
Data vs. Disposition
Social listening is more than just metrics and data. It is the sentiment and disposition that a brand puts forward in response to the conversations happening on social media. For example, if you’re tracking your brand mentions on Twitter and find an account tweeting about an issue they had with your brand or product, the next step you take is critical. Your response shows that you listened to the customer and acknowledged their issue or problem. You can offer them a solution publicly or send them a private message or email to work towards a solution.
Engaging with your customers is a big part of social listening. When customers feel like they are heard and understood, it develops an authentic loyalty towards the brand. But customer engagement is not limited to poor feedback or crises. It’s important to acknowledge the positive feedback that comes in as well.
Social Listening Impacts
It may sound like social listening is just another customer service tool. While companies can use it to enhance the customer experience, social listening can impact other business areas.
- Marketing: Tracking mentions and conversations can show if marketing campaigns are resonating with audiences.
- Product Development: Monitoring feedback and expressions of pain points can help your product development team make the tweaks necessary to keep customers happy.
- Sales: Not only can you track conversations with existing customers, but you can identify potential customers that can benefit from your product or service.
- PR and Influencers: You can quickly identify potential influencers and brand advocates to spread third-party awareness across social media.
Most importantly, the learnings from social listening can promote cross-departmental collaboration for your company.
Social Listening Tools
Just like new social media applications pop up almost every day, social listening tools are also emerging. There are several different social listening tools and platforms currently available.
Which one is best for you will depend on your business needs, budget, and level of data details. Here are a few Laing Media approved social listening tools:
- AgoraPulse: This is an excellent option for social media management and social listening on one platform. They offer a free trial and affordable options depending on how many accounts you are managing.
- Awario: A coders dream with its Boolean search options. It starts at $29/month and offers added insights like influencer reports and potential leads.
- Mention: Mention offers real-time data and reports from the last 24-hours of mentions. If you are looking for more historical data, there are custom plans available. This platform also offers unique customization features for reporting.
Listening and Learning with Laing Media
If you aren’t already using social listening, you miss out on critical insights that can inform your business decisions. The information collected through social listening can improve your business functions, create collaboration across departments, and even save your business money in the long run. Whether you are looking for someone to manage your social listening accounts or simply need help getting started, Laing Media can help you jump-start your social listening strategy.
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