Today, we’ll talk about what social listening is and how you can develop a social listening strategy for your brand.

Social listening involves monitoring (or listening) different social media platforms for mentions of your brand, competitors, product, and more. It’s like a mixture of providing better customer service and running better competitor analysis.

Brands can track, analyze, and respond to conversations about them on social media. This way, you’ll be able to understand your audience in a better way.

If ignored, it can turn away many potential customers.

Let’s say you run a coffee shop. On a regular day, you are making a cappuccino. Suddenly, you hear two customers talk about your business. The conversation goes like this:

“I love their latte, man!” One says.

“Yes, it’s great. But I don’t love the pastries here.” The other one replies.

“I agree. They don’t taste that great!” The first one says.

You start to think, “Why aren’t the pastries that great?” From there, you can talk to your baker about it. If everything is fine, you may want to talk to other customers about your pastries. All of this will lead to better cookies and better customer satisfaction.

See how the simple act of listening led to new doors for your business. The same goes for listening to people on social media. With social listening, you engage with your customers and give them what they love.

You ask around people. Hear their opinions about your business. You pay attention to other businesses as well. Then, you make the necessary changes based on what people want.

Not doing so leaves a lot of great insights on the table.

Now let’s learn how you can get started with it and develop a social listening strategy.

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How to Get Set Up for Social Media Listening

As it sounds, good social listening is about the right things to listen to. Specifically, you want to choose the relevant keywords for your brand.

Of course, these keywords will evolve over time. With the right strategy and tools, you’ll learn to monitor the kind of words people use when they talk about your industry and business. This way, you’ll learn insights that are useful for you.

To get started, here’s a list for you. Of course, you want far more keywords than these, but they offer a good starting point:

  • Your brand name and handles
  • The product name(s), including common misspellings
  • Your competitors’ brand names, product names, and handles
  • Industry buzzwords
  • Your slogan and those of your competitors
  • Names of key people in your company and your competitors’ companies (your CEO, spokesperson, etc.)
  • Campaign names or keywords
  • Your branded hashtags and those of your competitors
  • Unbranded hashtags related to your industry

Pay attention to common misspellings and abbreviations as well. Now, let’s talk about some best advice for social listening. These will help you build a solid strategy and get the most bang for your buck.

Listen Everywhere

In the previous section, I was talking about the keywords you should listen to. Now, don’t just pay attention to what people are saying about your brand. Find out where they are saying it. Think of it as the web for your social listening strategy.

By doing this, you’ll learn all sorts of new things about your audience. You may find that people talk about you on LinkedIn differently than they do on Twitter. Similarly, you may find no conversations on Instagram, but there’s a lot of buzz about you on Facebook.

On top of finding the platforms, pay attention to how they talk about you as well. It will give you an idea about whether organic reach is better for you or paid reach.

Learn From Your Competition

Your competition is smart. Learn from it. And if you are stubborn that there’s nothing you can learn from it, re-consider your thoughts.

Visit their social media profiles. See what they do and why people love them. At the same time, pay attention to where they misstep and get it wrong. This way, you won’t have to make the same mistakes that they made.

Collaborate With Other Teams

Social listening is not confined to one team: It can provide great data for your whole company.

Maybe, it’s the customers who want immediate responses. Or it’s a great idea for a YouTube video. Or maybe, it’s a game-changing feature for your product.

Bring all your teams on one platform. Whether it’s customer service or product development, communicate the learnings with them. Ask them to add input to social learning as well. Encourage them to ask questions and brainstorm possible ideas for growth.

Roll With The Changes

After continuous social listening, you’ll find information that can be used to make changes. Some of these changes will be major ones that can change the overall perception of your brand. Don’t be stubborn to make these changes.

Take Action

Last but certainly, not least, take action. If you are not taking an action, you are just monitoring. It’s not social listening.

The process shouldn’t just involve tracking metrics. It should strive to gain insights into what customers expect from your brand. Learn from these insights and make necessary changes.

Remember: If you don’t take action, you’re only engaged in social media monitoring, not social listening.

Analyze patterns and trends over time, rather than just individual comments. These overall insights can have the most powerful effects in guiding your future strategy.

What’s your approach to developing a social listening strategy? Let me know in the comments below!

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