• 22 Tue 2022 3 months ago.

Part of running a successful business is keeping track of what your customers say and feel about your brand. You’d want to make sure they’re satisfied with what you offer. And if they aren’t, then you’ll have to find out why and how you can change their mind.

This is where social listening comes in. In this article, we’ll tackle everything you need to know about social listening, its benefits, and the tools you can use to get started.

What Is Social Listening?

Social listening is when you monitor social media to gather customer feedback, track brand mentions, and find online conversations relevant to your brand.

The goal is to glean insights into how you can improve your products, services, or even your marketing strategies. It’s not a passive but an active type of listening, so it’s not enough that you merely find out what people are saying about your business. You’ll need to act based on your findings.

Social listening helps marketers know if there are changes in their target market’s preferences. It also helps them detect any pain points they didn’t recognize before.

Two concepts are often interlinked with social listening: social media monitoring and social media sentiment. Let’s quickly discuss how these three are different.

Social Listening vs. Social Media Monitoring

These two processes go hand in hand. As explained above, social listening entails collecting information and then taking actions based on one’s findings.

It’s a more complex process than social media monitoring, which only involves keeping track of metrics and data. These metrics may include engagement rates, competitor mentions, industry trends, hashtags, or any other information relevant to your business goals.

With this, we can say that social listening is what turns information into business decisions. It takes monitoring to a whole new level—from simply finding brand mentions to finding the mood behind these mentions, from collecting data to developing data-driven action points

Social Media Sentiment

Brand mentions, comments, and shares carry a certain mood with them, and this mood is what’s referred to as social media sentiment. This sentiment could either be positive, negative, or neutral, and it’s one of the most important details that a brand should aim to figure out.

Social media sentiment analysis is a part of social listening that lets brands know how people feel about them. When you know whether people feel good, bad, or indifferent about your brand, you become better equipped to improve your products, services, or strategies.

 

How Social Listening Benefits Your Brand

Social listening can benefit various aspects of your business. Here are the seven top benefits:

1. Engage with customers

Because social listening involves tracking conversations about your brand, it also presents opportunities for you to engage in these conversations, offer help, and improve how people perceive your business.

Social media channels make it easy to engage with customers and boost brand sentiment. You can tweet back or reply to threads that tag or mention your brand. Doing this won’t just boost your brand’s social media engagement rates, but it can also make customers see that you value their feedback and you’re eager to address their concerns.

2. Improve your brand health

Social listening gives you insights into your brand health or how well your business delivers what it’s supposed to. When you read social media mentions, you’ll have an idea of how customers feel about your brand, what they associate it with, and how your business fares against competitors.

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can then develop action plans that will help improve your business or solve existing problems before they worsen.

3. Spot opportunities for social selling

Another benefit of social listening is it can help you discover, connect with, and nurture sales leads or any person who could potentially become a paying customer. This is called social selling.

Social selling includes using social media channels to publish helpful content and reach potential buyers. With a professionally-designed social media profile and content, you can entice people to follow you and improve your followers’ perception of your products and services.

Nobody likes to see salesy posts multiple times a day every day. And with social selling, you can do away with these posts and create informative or value-laden content instead.

Also, social listening can help you find people who will likely be interested in your products. For example, let’s say you find a post related to a product that you offer. You can connect with the person who made that post and introduce your brand to them. Just make sure you have published content that’ll make them want to hit the follow button.

4. Stay updated on industry trends

Keeping tabs on industry trends will give you ideas on where the market is headed and which products or services will likely become profitable. And with this information, you can pivot your strategies and take advantage of opportunities before others do.

5. Track your competitors

Aside from monitoring what people are saying about your brand, you should also track what they’re saying about your competitors. Do they have appealing offers you can imitate? Do their customers have unmet needs that you can fill? What types of content have helped them compel people to interact with their posts?

Your competitors could be rich sources of information. Plus, continuously learning about them can help you move ahead and beat their business strategies.

6. Find brand advocates

Reviewing brand mentions and tags is a great way to discover people who already love your products and whom you may collaborate with. You may tap those who’ve already posted about your brand to amplify how they contribute to your word-of-mouth marketing.

Additionally, you may also use social listening to find influencers who may not have tried your products yet but are potentially a great fit for your business.

7. Resolve PR issues

Since social listening helps you detect negative sentiments, it will also help you avert or resolve any public relations issues about your brand. When you immediately spot negative reactions—on a social media post, an ad, or any other type of content you published—then you can also immediately take the necessary actions to avoid a full-blown crisis.

If anyone posts a complaint about your product, you can use that as an opportunity to show people that you listen to feedback and that you’re willing to do what it takes to satisfy your customers. You may comment on their post to show transparency and humility. You should also privately reach out to the person and express your commitment to do better.

Best Social Listening Tools

Social listening might seem like a time-consuming task. However, it doesn’t have to be if you have the right tools. Here are some of the best social media listening tools you may consider for your brand:

1. Awario

Buffer Analyze is one of the two tools offered by Buffer. It provides insights on content performance, hashtags, and audience demographics, among others.

It can supply reports and recommend strategies for up to 10 social media channels. One of its plans, the Premium plan, also allows Shopify integration.

2. Buffer Analyze

Social listening gives you insights into your brand health or how well your business delivers what it’s supposed to. When you read social media mentions, you’ll have an idea of how customers feel about your brand, what they associate it with, and how your business fares against competitors.

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can then develop action plans that will help improve your business or solve existing problems before they worsen.

3. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a platform that scans content from the web and social media feeds to provide users with insights relevant to their search query. These insights may be about your competitor’s content, top formats to use for your target audience, or content performance data from past years. It can also help you find social media influencers to collaborate with

BuzzSumo offers a 30-day free trial, after which you may choose among its four paid plans.

4. Falcon

You can use Falcon to manage your social media content calendar, track your social media analytics, and more. You can also use it to search social listening queries based on products, niches, or other topics relevant to your brand. It can provide real-time updates on market trends, data on competitors, and best practices you can utilize.

Falcon is currently available in two paid plans: the Essentials plan for single users or small teams and the Full Suite plan for those with more needs.

5. Hootsuite Insights

Hootsuite Insights is made by Hootsuite and powered by Brandwatch to track brand conversations, simplify consumer and competitor research, and assist in other aspects of social listening. It uses the Brandwatch Data Library to find mentions from social media sites, forums, news sites, review sites, blogs, and other relevant pages. It can also perform sentiment analysis on brand mentions and then sort them according to their type: positive, negative, or neutral sentiment.

Hootsuite Insights comes with Hootsuite’s Business and Enterprise plans, starting at $599 per month.

6. HubSpot Social Media Management Software

HubSpot’s Social Media Management Software lets users monitor social mentions, publish content to social channels, and check social media performance, among other tasks. Hubspot enables you to directly reply to comments on each post you’ve published through the software, removing the need to open tabs for each social media platform. The software also has YouTube Reports, giving users insights on how their videos are engaging their target audience.

You may request a demo of the software before subscribing. If you decide to subscribe, you may opt for any of HubSpot’s Marketing Hub packages or Bundles.

7. Iconosquare

Iconosquare is a platform that offers publishing, monitoring, and analytics services. Its notable features include

  • A Conversations tool that lets you engage real-time with customers on your posts.
  • Tags and Mentions Analytics that organizes each social media mention by photo, comment, or tag.
  • My Tags feed that lets you track any post that tags your brand.

Iconosquare comes with a 14-day free trial and three paid plans: Pro, Advanced, and Enterprise.

8. Keyhole

Keyhole can perform sentiment analysis, track social profiles, identify influencers for your brand, and many more. You can receive reports on hashtag performance, social campaigns, influencer campaigns, and brand monitoring with this tool.

The paid Keyhole plans include the Basic, Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans. But you may take advantage of its free trial first before deciding whether or not you want to subscribe.

9. Mentionlytics

As its name suggests, Mentionlytics specializes in generating mention insights that can help businesses manage their online reputation, grow their brand, and even find influencers they can work with. It can track mentions of your company name, product name, or other names attached to your brand.

Mentionlytics can also monitor media coverage from online news, social media channels, blogs, and other sites. This tool offers a 14-day free trial and four paid plans: Essential, Advanced, Pro, and Agency.

10. Oktopost

Oktopost is a B2B marketing platform with AI-powered social listening tools. It can provide data on the preferences of existing or potential customers. It can also protect your brand’s reputation by tracking and alerting you of mentions that may bear negative sentiments or could potentially turn into a PR crisis

Aside from social listening, Oktopost also offers other services, including social publishing and social analytics. You may visit the Oktopost website to request a demo and discuss with their representative the unique needs of your business

11. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a social media management platform that helps brands with four key areas: publishing, engagement, analytics, and social listening.

Its listening feature can track conversations and sentiments. These can give you in-depth information about your brand, your competitors, as well as your industry. It also lets you gather feedback that can help you develop new ideas or improve existing ones regarding your products, services, or online content.

You may try Sprout Social for free for up to 30 days, after which you may subscribe to any of its paid plans.

12. Union Metrics

Union Metrics is a tool that can analyze your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles and give insights on how you can expand your reach and improve your social media marketing. It can perform real-time monitoring of topics, mentions, keywords, and hashtags, among others. It can also provide archived historical data, if needed.

Interested users can choose among three paid plans: Social Manager, Social Marketer, and Marketing Team.

 

 

Track Brand Sentiment to Stay Within Earshot of Success

With social listening, you can monitor not just metrics but also the mood or sentiment behind the analytics, brand mentions, and other conversations relevant to your business. More importantly, you can use your findings to develop action plans that will improve your brand health and protect your business from serious PR issues.

The social media listening tools we’ve discussed can help you effectively monitor everything that’s going on around your brand. So if you’re using social media as your main sales or traffic channel, then you should definitely start social listening to get within earshot of social media success.

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