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Social Listening for Online Businesses | Best Practices & Tools

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What if you get some powerful business insights via organic market research where the target audiences are the people who are already somehow engaged with your brand/industry? I think anyone with great business acumen would prefer using those insights in taking actions to improve online conversations, related engagement and optimize conversions- This is what Social Listening does for you.

Social Media Listening equips you with business intelligence that can help you track, monitor, respond and use online conversations about your brand/industry that are occurring on different platforms. According to Rion Martin of Infegy, Social Listening is-

Social Listening

Rion Martin of Infegy

The practice of tracking online conversations about a specific phrase, word, or brand. A social listening platform provides the basic capability of systematically collecting online conversations about a specific phrase, word, or brand and is able to provide some degree of insights through the analysis of those conversations.

By using Social Listening, you can monitor the feedback of your audiences, participate in conversations regarding your product or service, answer questions, use social insights to discover new opportunities and can curate engaging content that can connect with those audiences and influence them to be your loyal customers. Social Media Listening incorporates monitoring and taking action as per the insights taken from the monitoring.

Social Listening

Social Media Listening Definition

Below given 5 Steps will help you understand Social Media Listening in the most comprehensive way possible, so let us dig deep into those-

5 Steps to Learn Social Listening

1. Know what is Social Listening

Social Listening is the process that helps you analyze Social Media Channels for the mentions of your brand, services, products, rivals, themes and ideas applicable and relevant to your business, plus, it also helps you devise conversion driven strategies that better influence your potential consumers and convert them be your loyal customers.

Social Listening

What is Social Media Listening

Social Listening lets you monitor the feedback, conversations, queries, or comments of your target audiences and then aids you curate engaging content for those audiences. Inclusion of actionable insights differentiates Social Listening from Social Monitoring-

  • Social Monitoring is actually compiling of data in which you gather information about the things that have already happened, while in Social Listening, you use that information and insight for determining some future actions
  • Social Monitoring mainly revolves around metrics such as engagement rate or the number of mentions, but in Social Listening, you get to know about Social Media Sentiments, as it tells you about the overall mood behind your Social Posts. It not only tells you what people think and feel about your posts, but also guide you take actions to improve their experiences
  • Immaculate analysis of sentiments of your prospects guide you channelize message and other campaigns that can receive positive response from audiences

2. Know 5 Reasons why your Business should use Social Listening

In case your marketing strategy does not include Social Listening, you will miss out the opportunity of using actionable insights about the audiences who are talking about your brand. Not including Social Listening is ignoring the viewpoints of your customers that no one with business acumen would ever do. Below given are the three reasons why you should include Social Listening in your marketing strategy-

  1. Social Listening ensures better Customer Engagement and Offers Result-Driven Insights
  2. Social Listening tells you about Wins/Missteps in Real Time via different social feedback and hence guides you take needed action in real time
  3. Helps you know what people think about you and your Competitors, plus, by using Social Listening, you can uncover different paint points in your industry before your competitors can address those
  4. Social Listening helps you monitor important keywords related to your industry that tell you about the complains that people have about the services and products related to your kind of business
  5. Social Listening guides you find leads that you can convert via Social Selling, in addition, you can use Social Listening for identifying influencers and advocates in your industry

3. Know how you can Set up your Business for Social Listening

To set up Social Listening for your business, you need to know what kind of information you should actually listen for. It is important to know topics and related keywords you should listen and what kinds of insights are going to be most useful for your business. Below given is the list of Topics & Keywords you should use Social Listening for-

  • Your brand name and handles along with the product names
  • Brand names, handles and product names of your competitors
  • Industry buzzwords along with your slogan and those of your competitors
  • Keywords and Campaigns Names, plus, branded and unbranded hashtags related to your industry
  • Names of main people in your company and your competitors’ companies such as CEOs or spokesperson, etc

To set up your business for Social Listening, it is also important to monitor common misspellings and abbreviations for all the aforesaid topics and keywords.

4. Know the best Social Listening Practices important for your Business

Social Listening

Social Media Listening Practices

To get the most from your Social Listening efforts, you need to follow below given Social Listening Practices-

  1. Along with knowing what people say about you, you should also identify the network and places where people talk about you. When you analyze places where people are talking about you then you will get to know how conversations on different channels differ. Conversations on LinkedIn differ from what is going on Facebook or on Twitter, and knowing this will help you ensure conversion driven engagement
  2. You should know what audiences of your competitors think about them, as this will guide you about their missteps, plus, you will get insights about what kind of strategies work and what does not
  3. Social Listening provides you wide range of actionable information from the posts of your customers and you should respond to that via befitting customer service, product development and content marketing
  4. You should have a sense of the amount of conversation and social engagement, which is normal for your brand, and then accordingly you should establish a benchmark for your business, as this will help you improve the needed numbers
  5. You should also have eyes upon the changes because changes in engagement or sentiment help you know the overall perception of your audiences that has changed. Social Listening helps you understand why the perception has changed and accordingly you can adapt your strategy to ensure positive branding
  6. Evaluate the Social Listening Data and take action as per that. Taking action is inevitable part of Social Listening and if you do not do that then you are doing Social Monitoring not Social Media Listening. Insights taken from Social Listening help you better address the needs of your customers

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5. Know best Social Listening tools

Below given list of 5 Social Media Listening Tools will help you automate the Social Listening processes, so let us dig deep into those-

1. HootSuite & HootSuite Insights

Social Listening

HootSuite Social Media Listening Tool

  • HootSuite Social Listening helps you set up social media streams to monitor Social Media conversations and related keywords across different Social media Channels
  • By using HootSuite as Social Listening Tool you can reach out to potential customers, Social Advocates or Social Influencers, you can directly respond to them or you can assign someone to respond your target audiences
  • HootSuite Insights provide you the graphical reports with the help of which you can monitor 25+ social networks along with news sites, forums, blogs, and other online channel where people interact
  • HootSuite Insights will help you find out real-time updates on unusual spikes or drops in the Social Media engagements, plus, it will help you know the audience sentiment as per the location, gender and language

2. SproutSocial

Social Listening

SproutSocial Social Media Listening Tool

  • It lets you get Social Listening and analytics capabilities along with Social Media Scheduling to comprise different engagement and conversation sources including blogs, videos, forums, news, social networks and review sites
  • You can use SproutSocial to analyze and categorize the conversations that matter for your business. This will offer you customize feeds of specific keyword, locations, and hashtags across different social platforms

3. Brandwatch

Social Listening

Brandwatch Social Listening Tool

  • Brandwatch will help you Track conversations on specific topics and you can do this within immaculately segmented audiences
  • This lets you get insights about audiences as per their language, demographics, location, and sentiment
  • It offers you the reports that incorporate your social reputation score

4. Mention

Social Listening

Mention Social Media Listening Tool

  • As a Social Listening Tool, Mention helps you monitor Social Engagement sources in 42 languages,
  • It helps you stay on top of all your brand mentions on news sites, blogs, social networks, forums, or web pages
  • Mention will help you keep track of your team’s actions, assign different tasks and share alerts

5. ReviewTrackers

Social Listening

ReviewTrackers Social Media Listening Tool

  • It helps you track the conversations about your brand that occur beyond Social Channels, as it tracks and helps you respond to the posts from 80+ dedicated review websites such as TripAdvisor, Healthgrades, Foursquare, Google Maps, Facebook reviews, etc.
  • You can integrate this one with Hootsuite and this will show you online reviews alongside social streams in your dashboard that would be quite useful in spotting issues that may occur across Social channels
  • ReviewTrackers helps you uncover positive reviews about your brand, plus, it lets you share positive reviews across different social accounts from your HootSuite dashboard

Final Words

Social Media Listening helps you analyze Social Performance of your business, comprehend conversations going around about your industry, monitor your competitors, get insights and use those insights to take actions that can help you establish relationship, increase credibility and optimize conversions.

Social Listening improves Social Conversations and helps you optimize the advantages of existing relationships to converting Social Media Presence into ROI.

I hope aforestated 5 steps would have helped you understand how to use Social Media Listening for your business, but in case you wish to know more about it, Social Media Marketing Course would be the best fit for you.

What Social Media Listening Practices you consider best for your business- Update me in comments.

A Certified Corporate trainer involved in Leadership and Life Skills coaching with a holistic 3Q approach. As an E-business Influencer and Digital Media Trailblazer, my forte includes Business leadership, Branding, Social Media and Digital Marketing, Online Advertising, Global Marketing Strategy and Refining of Marketing Processes.
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