Social media isn’t a one-way street—it’s a two-way conversation when used well, which means you shouldn’t use it simply as a bully pulpit. It’s vital that you spend just as much time—if not more time—listening than publishing content.
Social listening has many practical uses for brands. These include:
- Gaining valuable data on an audience (or potential audience)
- Conversing with consumers and gaining potential leads
- Social media crisis management and reputation management
Essentially, social listening helps you understand who your audience is and how you might better meet their needs. As we’ll see below, you can leverage this data to generate new leads and make sales—benefitting your business in tangible ways.
Learning Your Audience with Community Monitoring
By monitoring brand mentions with Google Alerts and across platforms, you may get a comprehensive look at what people are saying. Through community monitoring, you’re able to segment users discussing your brand into various demographics and measure sentiment between them. When doing so in real time, you’re better able to understand shifts in your audience and strategize how to grow it.
One way to do this is to reach prospective customers and get the ball rolling. For example, imagine you’re a florist. During certain holidays, you might scan networks for users complaining that they can’t think of an easy gift for a loved one. This is your opportunity to reach out—perhaps with a unique discount or promise of free shipping to sweeten the deal. You engage a new audience by:
- Knowing what your audience needs (“Some users don’t know what to get for Valentine’s Day.”)
- Being proactive with your data (“Let’s reach out to millennial males aged 25-35 active on who mention difficulty finding a gift.”)
- Meeting their needs (“We can offer a discount, or suggest popular arrangements.”)
Conversing one-on-one to reach prospective customers is a great way to build an audience, but you can’t do so without listening.
Reputation Management is Easy When You Listen
When you keep your pulse on the conversation, you’re also better equipped to anticipate a social media crisis by identifying common criticisms or issues before they spread. Measuring customer perception on social is a great way to protect your online reputation—but we’ll explain more on how to do that below.
See if You Engage Enough with Social Listening
Social networks aren’t just for idle chit-chat; they’re becoming point of sale platforms in their own right, which makes it even more important that you seek and reach out customers old and new on the platforms. Networks that function as e-commerce platforms include:
- Pinterest (the first notable social network to incorporate purchases) with buyable pins
- The Facebook Messenger chat bot platform, which lets users make purchases and reservations straight from the app
- Twitter, as demonstrated by Domino’s “order with a tweet”
- Instagram, who debuted a “Shop Now” button to businesses last fall
Going into 2017, you should try to adopt these features into your online strategy. By taking advantage of social listening, you may better target users on the platform to make a sale.
Collect Data & Anticipate a Social Media Crisis Easily
With Smart Moderation, you can collect data on engagement with your brand in real time across multiple profiles and networks. We provide reports on all comments you receive in one place, making it easy to assess common concerns and respond as necessary. Our dashboard is your one-stop place to assess fan sentiment and identify potential crises—an excellent tool for online reputation protection thanks to the data you can receive through listening.
In addition to data collection, our machine learning artificial intelligence shields your profiles from spam, harmful language and abuse (even in product reviews). By erasing problem language within the minute it’s posted in real time, your team has less engagement to sift through, allowing you to respond to fans faster and easier.
Thanks to Hootsuite integration, you may enjoy all these features within your current community monitoring setup. But even without a monitoring tool, our software is easy to set up with just a few short steps. Try it today for free and step up your listening prowess today—with vigilant social listening, you can better serve and expand your audience for the overall health of your business.