If you don’t listen to your audience, how can you expect them to listen to you? This is the main slogan of Social Media Listening, a relatively new concept that is impacting the world of social networks and the way information is measured.
Traditional monitoring in social networks is based on basic statistics (number of followers, likes, shares) that give us an overview of our audience, but will this be enough for our digital strategies?
What is Social Media Listening?
Social Media Listening is the art of listening. The process consists of identifying conversations, comments, opinions and tastes of followers, customers, competitors and leaders from different industries. Through these inputs, we can measure the impact of a brand or organization and thus we can identify what our followers are talking about us in a more personalized and specific way.
This new technique allows us to explore a myriad of data, which will help to segment our audience and give them what they ask for as customers/users. It will also increase the vision of your Community Manager, giving her tools to establish new social media plans.
Benefits of Social Media Listening
- Personalized attention: Being aware of the comments or opinions generated by our brand is key, as it will give us the ability to improve our user experience. Likewise, campaigns can be initiated based on these conversations, which will generate a better engagement and therefore, growth of our organization. Answering requests and messages from clients is a key exercise for a good reputation.
- Brand positioning – Brand Awareness: Thanks to what we hear, we can establish a better conversation with our audience and generate better brand recognition, and get our company to be the first one in our customer’s top of mind. It won’t be achieved overnight, but Social Media Listening will be a bridge to reach this scenario.
- Strengthening our product or service: People in social networks are willing to give their opinion, and that is why monitoring what they say gives us ideas to work on what they need. Today, consumers do not look for brands (they have many to choose from), brands are the ones who must transform themselves and offer their customers innovative products.
- Brand Crisis: In a potentially bad scenario, comments from our followers can determine if there is a problem or if we are heading towards a brand crisis. We should not let a negative conversation transcend and go viral without acting on it (don’t try to suppress your audience feelings). We must be alert and have a contingency plan in place, which will allow us to answer immediately in an accurate manner and according to the values of each organization.
- Know more about our competition: We can know the perception of the competition and use such data in our favor to reinvent the products/services we offer. In the same way, it will help us to avoid making the same mistakes and always be one step ahead.
Tips to perform a successful Social Media Listening
- Interpreting what our users tell us: it is not just reading the conversations, it is knowing how to identify the message for our brand. Different professionals should be involved in this task. This is not just a mere communication exercise, it depends on many areas that work together (psychologists, publicists, and/or marketers)
- Public segmentation: all followers aren’t equal, which means that we need a different strategy for each type of follower group. Segmentation is essential to obtain the results we want.
- Online and offline work: even when we live in a digital world, the work of Social Media Listening involves combining the monitoring tools that the internet offers us, plus an arduous work of manual classification that demands time and attention. If we want quick results this point will be fundamental
Challenges of Social Media Listening
The first challenge is the importance of cultural diversity. This point is very important because we have many dialects, languages, and idioms that can make this work difficult. Each country is a particular universe. You must be aware of the new meanings of words and trends that are emerging in social networks and thus meet the needs of each culture.
Likewise, we must consider consolidation as an essential process; although it is true that it is a very current term, Social Media Listening will progress to become a fundamental tactic in creative agendas. The implementation of new tools to understand and interpret the conversations and their words will be key in the evolution of this topic.
Social Media Listening is effective and useful for measuring the loyalty and engagement of our followers; knowing the detail of what they want creates a strong link company-user. When performing this activity we must integrate traditional monitoring with the measurement of Social Listening. The first one gives us a scenario of opinions and suggestions, while the second offers us the data to determine the performance of our company and then apply the appropriate strategies.