We all have that friend that talks and talks, and doesn’t listen or add anything to the conversation. Blowing up your phone when something is going on in their life, but never answering when you have an important question. Why would you do the same with your marketing? Talking without listening is bad for everyone—just don’t do it. Instead, spend some time cultivating a good social listening strategy and be there for your customers when they need you.
What is social listening?
Social listening (sometimes referred to as social monitoring) is a way to keep tabs on what is being said about something on social media sites. Usually, companies use social listening to stay up-to-date on industry news, monitor social mentions of their company, or watch for customer service issues. It can also be used to analyze competitors and identify industry influencers.
How do you begin the social listening process?
Social listening works best if you have a strategy and tools in place before you dive in. Make time to whip out your buyer personas and competitor lists and get to thinking what you are really looking for in your social monitoring. Make lists of respected and innovative thought leaders in your industry, and create a list of hashtags that are likely to be used by your peers and your target market.
If you are a HubSpot user, you’ve got a whole suite of awesome tools built right in for social listening. In the ‘social’ section of the site, you’ll find an inbox for monitoring @mentions and replies to your posts. You’ll also find a monitoring tool—this will be your greatest asset for social listening. It allows you to create streams based on certain terms and hashtags, and filter based on your HubSpot contacts and Twitter lists. Use your knowledge about your industry to create streams that will bring the most useful content to your fingertips. Create streams based on your industry’s hottest hashtags, most knowledgeable thought leaders, and fiercest competitors. If you don’t have HubSpot, there are definitely other options for social listening that have similar functionatlity—like hashtag.org or HootSuite. Once you’ve put these tools to good use, you’ll be well on your way to an improved social monitoring strategy. But don’t let your hard work sit too long or get stale. Keep your streams and lists well-maintained and updated. As we all know, industries are constantly evolving, and social media is a fickle beast. Play with your strategy, see what works best for you, and keep at it!
What benefits does social listening provide for business?
Social listening can help you in several ways. First, watching for customer complaints and issues and addressing them quickly shows your customers that you care (and can prevent complaints from escalating). Second, it can help you gain extremely valuable insight into what people think of your brand. You can leverage that information to continuously improve your marketing strategy. What’s a strategy without data to back it up? And what better data than the words right from the mouths of your customers, critics, and fans?
What benefits does social listening provide for marketing?
The agility gained with social listening in real time will help you field customer services problems, questions and concerns. However, the social intelligence you are able to gain from a well developed listening strategy will give insight to content gaps, information needs, and ways to better your product or service as a whole.
How can I cut through all of the noise to get the information I'm looking for?
Your social listening dashboard (mentioned earlier in this post) should help a great deal with this—instead of having to sift through mountains of social data, you’ll have better-focused information coming straight to one easy-to-navigate place. As for sorting through what comes up on your dashboard, go with your gut. If it seems relevant and urgent, it probably is.
Don’t be the marketer that sucks all the air out of the room. Be the BFF your customers turn to when they are in a time of need.
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