Social media is bursting with opinions; many of them shared in the 6,000 tweets we send a second. But Twitter barely scratches the social media opinion-sharing iceberg. About 500,000 of us browse Instagram every day, and when we're not doing that, we're watching 1 billion hours worth of YouTube videos. That doesn't even count all the commenting, sharing, hashtagging, and tagging what we're doing across the half dozen social platforms we're active on. To put it bluntly, social media is where all the important conversations are happening. And it's vital that your brand makes an effort to hear and respond to what users are saying about you, your industry, or your competitors.
Social Listening Helps You Listen Up
Despite your social media manager's best efforts, no one can stay on top of everything happening on the internet. There's just too much data out there. And even if you're amazingly responsive when it comes to fan questions or comments, it's easy to miss other key topics of conversation, or worse, "subtweets" about you or your brand. That's where social listening comes in. Social listening tools use AI to parse social media content to flag mentions of your brand, products, industry, or competitors to deliver in-depth insights about what's being talked about, how it's being talked about, and in what context. For example, McDonald's switched to paper straws after learning via social that diners were no longer okay with plastic, while Penguin Random House analyzed the sentiment and content of early reviews of Leah Remini's book Troublemaker to shift their marketing and PR strategy towards a more interview-focused approach.
We Hear You: What Social Listening Can Do For You
Social listening tools offer immense value across marketing, strategy, and even business operations and product development. Here are just some ways your company can leverage social listening to stay ahead of the curve.
- Offer customer support. If your customers are talking negatively about you (or a competitor) without tagging you, social listening can alert you so that you can chime in with a response that may smooth things over - or win a new customer. Have a large audience? Good news: you can automate these responses, too!
- Build a content calendar. Social listening can identify key trends and topics of interest to your fans, helping you build out a relevant, engaging content calendar that responds precisely to their needs and interests.
- Avoid brand crises. Remember when United Airlines made news for all the wrong reasons? So much of that fall-out could have been avoided with social listening, which would have flagged the growing negative sentiment of brand mentions, tipping off the company that it needed to act quickly to repair damage to the brand.
- Connect with the right people. Amplify your brand by using social media listening to identify influencers and thought leaders - and then building valuable connections or brand partnerships.
- Keep tabs on competitors. Want to know what your competitors are getting right (or wrong)? Set up alerts that analyze sentiment around their brand mentions, then use that data to guide your own marketing or brand strategy.
- Conduct product research. Thinking about launching a new product or service? Use social media listening to see whether it's something the market is talking about, asking for, or responding positively to.
- Identify market trends. More general alerts set up around "big picture" industry topics can help you identify wider trends, giving your executives the information they need to strategize for the long-term.
Getting Started With Social Listening
Now that the world of social listening has been opened up for you, you're probably ready to get started. But how? Fortunately, there are plenty of different platforms out there, ranging from plug-and-play introductory options all the way through to custom-built NLP engines that offer incredibly complex analysis and segmentation. What works for you depends on the size of your company, your niche, and your budget. Generally, it's best to get your feet wet with an introductory platform until you better understand the technology - or you realize that you need to get even more granular in your analysis.
For help incorporating social listening into your marketing strategy or business operations, get in touch! The experts are Stellapop are happy to help you find and implement a solution that works for your business.