Social media has evolved into the primary arena of public conversation in the 21st century. It’s estimated that 3.48 billion people now use social media - almost half of the total world population.
The sheer number of people signed up to social media means there’s a vast amount of discussion, debate and sharing taking place on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every single day.
To keep your finger on the pulse of what people are saying about your brand on these platforms, you need an effective social listening strategy.
Here are seven reasons why social listening could play a vital role in the success you achieve online:
1. It helps you understand your audience
Understanding your audience is vital if you want to develop loyal, lasting customer relationships, and one of the best ways to grasp what people really want and expect from brands is by listening to what they have to say on social media.
Social listening can help you get a better view not only of what your target audience appreciate and enjoy about your business, but where you might be falling short and have room to improve.
2. It supports customer service and engagement
One of the key steps to earning loyalty and building a strong brand is delivering excellent customer service, which means engaging with people at the right time and addressing any issues they might have before they escalate into more serious problems.
The insights you derive from social listening can help ensure that, when you do take proactive measures to communicate with customers and improve their experience of your brand, those efforts are data-driven and relevant.
3. It informs content and product planning
Marketing content shouldn’t be produced in a vacuum; it should be on-trend and responsive to the latest challenges and conversations emerging in your sector. If your social listening provides clear evidence that a large portion of your audience are regularly asking the same questions, tweak your content strategy to provide the answers.
The same principle applies to the products or services you’re selling. The sheer volume of discussion taking place on social media makes these platforms an invaluable guide to customer opinion when you want to redesign your product offering or plan a new launch.
4. It provides real-time campaign analysis
When you’ve dedicated a lot of investment to a marketing campaign, it’s worth taking every opportunity to gauge how the various components are performing and what people think of the content. One of the most powerful advantages of social listening is that it allows you to conduct this analysis in real-time.
Tracking discussion and sentiment around your campaign can deliver the insights you need to make beneficial changes in tone or messaging, which can maximize the results you get from the campaign and boost overall return on investment.
5. It strengthens competitor understanding
Gaining the best possible understanding of your competitor performance - in terms of both where they’re doing well and where they’re falling short, in the eyes of customers - can help you strengthen your own brand and position the business for success in a fast-moving, highly competitive landscape.
In cases where customers express dissatisfaction with the service they’re receiving from one of your competitors, there could be opportunities to demonstrate how your brand can do better. Contrastingly, positive reviews of competitors can provide useful insights into what your audience wants and where you could improve.
6. It can help you identify influencers
Influencer marketing has grown into a hugely important part of the overall marketing landscape in recent years. Nearly two-thirds of businesses are expected to increase their influencer marketing budgets in 2019, up from 39% last year.
If this is an area where you’re planning greater investment, social listening can help you identify the influencers that have the most relevance and can offer the best possible results for your brand. There are various metrics you can use to measure the potential of influencers, such as:
- Number of followers
- Frequency of social activity
- Post engagement rates
7. It drives lead generation
Lead generation is the fuel that drives your growth by bringing more revenue into the business. Identifying and nurturing strong leads to be passed on to the sales team is arguably the most important responsibility of the marketing department.
Listening to conversations on social media can support your lead generation efforts by helping you identify customers with specific needs that you’re able to meet. A well-timed, relevant intervention on social media could be the beginning of an exciting new relationship based on insights and mutual understanding.