5 Steps for Taking Social Listening to the Next Level

7 November 2012

Part of an effective social media strategy is social listening. While some B2B companies may not see the need, every business can benefit from listening in. Online reputation management (ORM) is at the forefront of many who use social media channels, but some may not be doing as much as they can. Social listening will help B2B marketers keep their online marketing strategies fresh while allowing other departments to gain insight into the customer and business opportunities. Find out what customers are saying in real time and use that to your advantage when marketing your business online.

Benefits

The benefits that come with social listening should be enough to convince your marketing team that this is something worth spending time on. You’ll be able to develop better social marketing strategies while gaining insight into your brand and industry. Using the insights you gain from social listening, you’ll be able to improve the conversation and reputation of your business.

  • Improved social media strategies. Focused social listening will tell you which social networks your target audience is most actively using and the general sentiment about your brands, products, competitors and industry.
  • More extensive campaign measurement. You have the ability to analyze quantitative metrics, such as the volume of conversation, and qualitative metrics, such as thoughts about the specific campaign.
  • Real-time brand and ORM. Your brand can successfully identify potentially harmful conversations and handle the situation before it has a negative impact on your brand reputation.
  • Performance benchmarking. By measuring the volume of conversation about your brand and about your competitors, you will be able to benchmark your social media performance as adjustments are made.

Insights

With social listening, your business can gain understanding of how others perceive your brand, business and industry. Look into the conversations surrounding your business to see where you’re falling short or succeeding. Not only will you be able to see the communications about your company, you can see which people across the different social channels are most influential in spreading the word about your business.

  • Product insights. Analyze the consumer feedback you come across to discover valuable product insights and adjust your business strategies to fit the needs of the consumer.
  • Competitive insights. Tap into the discussion of your industry as a whole. See what consumers like or dislike as well as what they want that isn’t currently available.
  • Influencer insights. Active social listening can help you identify key influencers so you can gather valuable insight about your products, brand, or industry. You can discover who is sharing, what they are sharing, and why they’re sharing.

Execution

There are both free and paid social analytics tools available to make the social listening process less painful for businesses. However, what’s important is to get your listening process on point. Pay attention to what social networks are being used to discuss your business, the feelings toward your brand and business, and the topics most commonly associated. Here are 5 steps you can take towards a more successful approach to social listening.

  • Create a “Monitor Map.” Decide what type of information you want to track, whether it be the brand, industry or specific topics relevant to your business. With your conversation criteria as an outline, list down the ‘trigger words’ you want to monitor.
  • Monitor current conversations around the ‘trigger words’. Use an analytics tool – or if you are running a contest use custom hashtags – to see where the talk is taking place. Learn where your business stands in relation to the trigger words.
  • Analyze the information. Are businesses talking positively or negatively about your company or brand? What problems are being pointed out? Who are the influencers? Look into what the conversations are and how your business can contribute internal insight for the better.
  • Respond and engage. If customers are having a problem and you’ve corrected it, let them know. If you haven’t, let them know where your business stands in terms of moving toward a resolution. Engage with influencers and other businesses. Social networks are for being social after all.
  • Manage, track, and optimize. Monitor your social listening efforts and where you’ve seen success when making adjustments to strategies, products and business development. When you begin social listening, manage how, when and where you are listening, track your efforts, and optimize opportunities.

Social listening is an integral part of any effective online marketing team. In order to make progress in the social sphere, B2B businesses need to be aware of the conversations going on around their industry and business. Listening in, responding and interacting with prospects, and monitoring the results of social listening and response are essential. With social listening, your business can take its social media efforts to the next level. 

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