Since its adoption by brands and business, social media has evolved beyond a broadcast platform to a tool that enables you to gather insights about your customers, industry, products and competitors. With the right tools, a social listening strategy can help you earn valuable business intelligence by tracking, analyzing and responding to targeted conversations and keywords.
If you think of the information you can gain from market research, you can implement the same approach to learn from people on social who are already engaging with your brand and your industry. If you approach social media as a giant focus group, ask yourself as a brand, “what problems are you trying to solve, and what data do you need to solve it?”
We can define social listening as the act of monitoring social media platforms for conversation around your brand, clients, competitors, keywords and any other ideas or themes that are relevant to your business. The next step is where we find the real value of social listening: analyzing the information for actionable insights. Those actions can enable you to engage customers, determine consumer behaviour models or shift your overall product or brand positioning strategy.
Social listening is different from social media monitoring by looking beyond social metrics like engagement rate, mentions and followers to learning what the feelings are behind the posts—how people actually feel about you, your competitors and the industry overall.
Make it part of your business strategy
Social media listening should automatically be part of your business strategy—even if you’re already engaging in market research studies, social listening will provide you with scores of actionable data from real people who are actively discussing the subjects you’re monitoring. Last month, Mansfield attended a seminar in Toronto from NetBase, a leading social listening platform. Guest speaker Ravi Imam from 113 Industries spoke about “finding David in your data.” Michelangelo’s David was sculpted from a single block of discarded marble, and just as Michelangelo saw something beautiful in an unwanted piece of marble, there could be a masterpiece waiting in your data—it’s just a question of listening to what it’s telling you and taking action.
On their blog, Hootsuite has a useful list of what to track when starting your social listening monitors:
Because your social listening monitors will pick up what people are you saying about you and your competitors, you’ll be able to determine how your brand fits within the industry, relative to customer perspectives. You’ll see the types of content your audiences are most engaged with and higher level insights around customer behaviour.
With a properly implemented social listening strategy, you will gain a deeper understanding of your brand and industry with insights on how to improve in all areas of your business. Sales teams will learn more about how customers really feel about products and services, marketing personnel will see what content is most valuable to audiences and R&D teams will have direct access to real-time customer perspectives on your products those of your competitors.
With the right tools and keywords, you’ll have the infrastructure in place to mold a David of your own. Read through Mansfield’s entire digital offering here and let us know when you’re ready to put social listening to work for your band.
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