They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and since the customer is King, all eyes should be on him. So, last week we looked at social listening from the consumer’s perspective. We discussed how the ability to listen on social has shaken up their lives for the better. Now let’s look at social listening through the eyes of we Marketing and PR professionals and how these tools have also empowered us in our daily lives at work.

Let’s Get Close. Closer than Close.

Social listening tools, such as Meltwater Buzz, allow us to analyse audience’s posts and discover their interests, both personally and professionally. We can then improve our profiling and targeting abilities by incorporating insights into our content strategy. This not only adds a more personalised spin to marketing efforts, it can also help improve SEO- but more on that later!

Actively listening on social enables the discovery of industry influencers, which is the first step in any good brand advocacy programme. A simple brand, industry or competitor search can point us in the right direction of those who need our attention, particularly current and potential brand advocates. While it’s important to connect with those singing our praises, we must also engage with those who are less than thrilled. Remember, not everybody likes to criticise a brand to their face (or in this case, page). Social listening helps us discover brand tarnishing comments and defend ourselves from them before they escalate into crises mode.

Become a Social Role Model

Social media can help form and communicate a brand’s personality, ultimately providing the company with a human face. With the help of social listening tools, we are able to find and join relevant conversations in our own unique way. For example, Yorkshire Tea, known as a quintessentially English brand, proved to be quite the joker after they effectively listened on social and inserted themselves into a conversation with supermarket giant, Tesco and a tweeting customer. Brand banter (we’ll call this ‘branter’) can help create emotional responses amongst our audience, allowing them to identify with the brand on a much more personal and human level.

Stay Trendy

As PR and Marketing professionals it’s our job to stay in the loop with hot trends but this can be difficult with their coming and fading so quickly. Social listening keeps us in the know-how. For example, we can shed light onto untapped demographical or geographical markets. Or we may be able to discover gaps in the market (such as new products) by listening to our audience’s struggles and finding a solution. Trend watching is important as first movers reap in the biggest benefits.

Manage and Avoid Crises

The real-time nature of social means that negative comments can spread like wild fire, causing huge back lash on our brand. Our action item during a crisis should be tackling social media immediately and head on.  It is likely that the comments have already started to circulate – or will be about to explode.

By analysing the conversation by channel, we can make informed decisions as to which platform we should monitor and where to focus communication efforts. Furthermore, metrics such as ‘conversation volume’ can signify when the crisis exploded. We can then dive deeper into analysis and discover whether it was a particular publication that covered the story or an influencer tweeting about the subject that created the boom. To where in the world has the crisis spread? When partnered with sentiment, conversation volume can also inform us the point the crises started to cool down and the brand image started to repair.

Keeping up With the Joneses

Social listening should not only be used for customers or potential leads, but our competitors can offer us a treasure chest of information if we dig for it. Tools allow us to benchmark against competitors, whether it be through share-of-voice, sentiment of customer interactions, engagement or the geographical spread of customers. A search may also expose unhappy clients who are ready and willing to run into our arms.

Improve our SEO

Having presence on the first page of a Google search is a badge of honour, thus difficult to achieve. There are plenty of posts out there suggesting ways in which we can improve our SEO, from backlinks to key word searches. Search engines tend to follow consumer trends, and we have seen them follow consumers straight to the doors of social media platforms. Consequently, social factors are now included in ranking algorithms.

Offering high quality and tailored content to our community increases the chances of links being shared and traffic being driven to our webpage, therefore improving our SEO. As mentioned, social listening tools allow us to identify what our audience likes to read and share so we can mimic this in our own content strategies. Our past #MarketingMinds chat also discovered many PR pros using UTM codes to track traffic to the website and monitor visits that started their journey via a social platform.

We can also listen on social to find particular buzz words our audience use and then feature these in our posts. Social media profiles that feature targeted keywords are likely to have higher rankings.