• Social Media Listening: What Is Your Audience Is Talking About?

Social Media Listening: What is Your Audience Talking About?

Learn and Grow by Connecting to Your Customers

Companies today know how essential it is to have a social media presence and a good following. It is also important to put together a social media listening strategy. 

Having one is not only beneficial but can transform your business and make it more successful. Without it, you’re missing out on valuable insights.

What is social media listening?

Many people assume that social media listening means monitoring social media channels. Yes, you want to look for mentions or tagging of your company, brand, products, feedback, and any relevant keywords to your business. Additionally, it’s important to look for what’s being said about the competition and the industry at large

Monitoring is important, but it’s only a small piece of the process. When you have a social media listening strategy, you can see the bigger picture. You aggregate and analyze data that can be applied to any aspect of your brand. 

Why it’s important

When businesses create accounts on various platforms and make plans to engage in social media, they often focus on what they want to promote and how they will get their message out. Too many people forget that social media engagement is a two-way street.

Studies show that while 70 to 80% of our waking hours are spent communicating, only 45% is spent listening. Consider what you’ve likely been told throughout your youth: Listen before you speak. This adage holds true with business relationships as well. Karl Menninger, the founder of the world-renowned Menninger Clinic, said, “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”  

On social media, when you begin to monitor your brand (and the industry at large) to see what people are talking about and what trends are popping up, you get better insight. Simply monitoring will tell you “what” is happening. Social media listening, however, will help you understand “why”: 

  • Why people are interested.
  • Why they might mention your brand (or the competition).
  • Why your brand is trending (or why the competition always trends)
  • Why your audience holds certain beliefs.

Listening helps your business understand social media sentiment, the online “mood.” Consumers want brands to listen; 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. (They’ll go elsewhere if their expectations are not met.)

Thus, when you listen, your brand can become a creative force and be the one that magnetically draws in customers from your target audience.

Social media listening helps in a variety of ways that will make your business more successful. You can:

  • Identify specific social media traits for your audience
  • Understand what your customers like or dislike
  • Improve content strategy 
  • Make better marketing decisions
  • Be more effective at messaging and direct interactions
  • Address frequently asked questions
  • Develop better campaigns
  • Come up with new concepts based on industry trends
  • Construct an influencer program
  • Build impactful brand partnerships

How do you do it?

As with anything else, start with a plan and recognize who you want to listen to and what you want to learn by listening. Then take steps to:

  • Research the social platforms where your target audience is active  
  • Review complaints and compliments
  • Stay up to date on the keywords, phrases, and hashtags 
  •  Learn what content your target group reads and shares
  • Look for backlinks, mentions and retweets
  • Identify bloggers, experts, and celebrities who influence your customers
  • Keep up to date on industry trends  
  • Measure customer engagement with your campaigns
  • Determine how you will use all the data you gather to implement changes and engage with your audience. And always remember to create a baseline and keep track of analytics in order to track your ROI.

We’re listening

The T.E. Digital team knows the impact social media can have for businesses. If you recognize the need for a social media listening strategy, but you don’t know where to start, just give us a call. We have expertise working on a variety of social media platforms and access to many different listening tools to gather data that are most important to your business. Let’s have a conversation about where you are and where you want to be. Our expert team can assist in reaching your goals.

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About the Author:

John Walker, Co-founder of Talent Evolution and Chief Solutions Officer, has more than 20 years of online marketing expertise in social media, mobile, video and viral campaigns. He has a strong background in digital capabilities including Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC).

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