8 Ways to Use Social Listening
What is social listening?
Social listening, also known as social media monitoring, refers to the activity of tracking and analysing posts published in real time on social media networks, around a chosen subject. This includes all of your big social platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, but also smaller community-based and consumer-opinion websites, such as blogs, vlogs, forums and comment sections.
Both B2B and B2C businesses monitor social to gain an external and broad understanding of what is happening around their company, competitors and industry. The analysis is usually presented in the form of dashboards, to facilitate easy understanding of the massive amount of data.
Here are just 8 of the ways brands are utilising social listening.
8 ways brands are using social listening
1. Crisis Comms – prevent and control
Many big brand crises begin, or at least spiral on social media. Ideally, we want to spot and stop negative conversations around our brand as soon as possible. One way to do this is by setting up alerts for anomalies of coverage. A sudden increase in mentions of your brand could indicate a problem. Quickly understand the tonality and volume of the conversation, as well as who the key detractors are, and their influence.
Measure the scale of the crisis and the impact of your recovery by benchmarking your brand sentiment in the months before and after a crisis.
2. Lead Generation
Selling our product is arguably the most important end goal of our marketing efforts. Social listening can be a really effective way to discover potential buyers.
Meltwater’s boolean search allows users to create very specific searches. For example, we could search for different combinations of ‘Can anyone recommend a dentist’. We can then reach out to these people over social media to see if they’re interested in our services.
Another way brands use social listening for lead gen is by looking for people who are discussing competitors negatively. This can provide an opportunity for a competitor steal. Those asking for recommendations or discussing our competitors are the best people to target.
PR is increasingly being done more on social media, whether that’s connecting with journalists via #journorequests, or even nurturing your journalist relationships. Many brands are using social listening to set up searches of #journorequests AND (insert industry here), to discover potential thought leadership opportunities.
Example of journo requests for dentists
4. Influencer relations
Social media monitoring can help you to identify key influencers in relevant industry sectors, and understand how they tick in order to get closer to them and build a mutually beneficial relationship.
One way to do this is through searching for an industry keyword and then sorting by ‘reach’ or ‘engagement’, to bring up influential users in your industry.
5. Customer service
Did you know that the majority of customer service mentions do not ‘@’ mention brands?
Monitor your brand name with and without the @ symbol, as well as your CEO, products, senior management team and common spelling mistakes of your brand name. This will ensure that you don’t miss any vital mentions of your brand, even if you’ve not been tagged.
When we created a quick search of Ryanair’s @ mentions versus their untagged mentions, we found nearly 26,455 results. That’s more than five times the number of their ‘@’ mentions. This just shows how many mentions you could be missing if you’re not listening for untagged mentions.
6. Competitor intelligence
One way we can use social listening is to benchmark ourselves against our competitors. Looking at developing trends in our industry and comparing our performance to our competitors, can help to identify potential threats and opportunities.
Has a competitor had a brand crisis? Insights found through social listening can help us to consider how can we ensure the same doesn’t happen to us.
7. HR – Employer branding/ headhunting
Social listening is a diverse practice. While social listening tools are widely used by marketing departments, other functions also see benefit from understanding what’s being said across social networks. Take the HR function for example.
Social listening can help brands understand what their current employees, ex-employees and prospective employees are saying about them.
Inga Boesecke, Meltwater HR Director Europe explains, “Social listening and engagement allows us to identify potential recruits who are seeking employment but perhaps haven’t considered or heard of Meltwater. We are then able to connect with them directly and give real insight into Meltwater as an employer of choice”.
8. Content marketing – predict and analyse trends
Identify key topics that drive conversations in your market. By understanding the relevant themes your target audience is talking about, you can discover technologies or trends that your company could be pioneers in.
Social media listening tools allow companies to track, manage and analyse billions of ever-changing data-points, to learn from and ultimately, to make better decisions.