As more people interact with brands on social media, developing a social listening strategy is key for companies that want to succeed.
Because social media is one of the most important channels for businesses to develop relationships with their buyers. In fact, customers who feel engaged by companies on social media will spend up to 40% more with them than other customers.
Using a combination of social monitoring and social listening can lead to better interactions with leads, prospects, and current customers on social networks.
So it makes sense to put real thought and planning into the way that your teams incorporate insights from when they “listen-in” on what people are saying about your brand online.
Here are the steps you need to take to get the most out of your social listening strategy.
Social Listening Strategy Tips
1. Understand the Value of Social Listening
We define social listening as the method of gathering consumer conversations on social media and utilizing them to uncover insights and inform business decisions.
It’s more than just tracking sentiment and mentions of your brand. It’s applying what you hear and learn from digital discussions to improve your overall brand experience.
Listening should be a part of your social media strategy because it helps you hone in on the interactions on social that matter most to your company.
It can also be used for competitive intelligence. Social listening is perfect to see what type of content your competition is producing and how it resonates with prospects.
Social listening can be used as valuable market research that leads to improvements for sales, marketing, product, customer success, and engineering. Because the more that you understand about how your brand and products are perceived, the more value you can provide.
2. Identify Goals
To create the best social listening strategy for your company, you need to choose the goals that you want to achieve with your plan.
Because the tools you use and the results you measure may change depending on what you want to do.
Here are just some of the departments and functions that can benefit from social listening support:
- Product strategy
- Content marketing
- Customer service
- Event management
- Crisis and reputation
- Sales enablement
- Lead generation
- Competitive intelligence
- Audience research
Talk to other departments about their challenges to determine the best goals to focus on with social listening.
Some brands want to prioritize increasing engagement with target audiences. While others are focused on creating better content for their customers and prospects.
Another goal could be to acquire more leads and followers on brand channels.
There are a lot of benefits for businesses that use a strong social listening strategy, so thinking about your goals and identifying them will help guide the rest of your plan and strategy.
3. Choose the Best Channels
Where is your audience most active? When you’re getting started with your social listening strategy, you want to focus on the channels that make the most impact.
Pick two or three channels to monitor where your target buyers interact most with content. You may want to consider investing in a social listening tool so that you don’t miss any valuable conversations that are happening elsewhere.
A social media platform audit will help you figure out the channels that matter most for your brand and have the most engagement. Look back at your buyer personas and customer profiles. Are they heavy users of LinkedIn? Twitter? Reddit?
What’s most important here is to identify the platforms that your customers use the most and where they go for advice and recommendations.
4. Use A Social Listening Tool
Companies that are serious about gaining the most from their social listening strategy are using tools that make it easier to manage.
These tools can track keywords, topic areas, and mentions in one place that teams can access, which makes social listening much more efficient.
This is something our own software does well, and many customers are using it to strategically monitor brand keywords and competitor content beyond employee advocacy. Our platform makes it easy for all teams to have access to social listening in one dashboard.
It’s powerful when employees have access to the conversations that will help them make better business decisions. It will help you identify trends, see when keywords or hashtags are trending, and set you up for more relevant and timely interactions with customers and prospects.
One tip that we have is to choose keywords that aren’t too broad – that way you get the most helpful and focused results.
5. Create An Engagement Plan
When you have your goals, methods, and process in place to track conversations, you’ll want to have a plan for responding and interacting on social media.
Part of the great value of your social listening strategy is that you will have real-time updates that you can respond to quickly and join conversations when they are happening.
It matters to customers when brands engage in conversations or respond to complaints. According to research, 79% of consumers expect brands to respond within a day of reaching out over social media, but average brand response rates across all industries are lower than 25%.
That’s a major gap! Brands that are fast and proactive on social build trust and offer a more genuine and complete customer experience.
And it’s visible to future prospects that are considering working with you. Having the tools and processes in place to engage in conversations quickly and efficiently will lead to stronger brand loyalty and sentiment for your company.
6. Measure Results
Reporting can help show the value of your social listening efforts.
Metrics you’ll want to track and analyze could include engagement, conversation volume, mentions, sentiment, and response time.
Reach of mentions is a great way to measure brand awareness and take into account any influencer conversations that may be happening about your brand.
By keeping tabs on your results you can adjust your efforts and provide the most value for customers and prospects.
7. Apply What You Learn
What makes social listening so impactful is the business applications. You can listen and uncover insights all day, but turning them into action is where you’ll see real value.
You can use the new questions, interests, and concerns that are uncovered through social listening to better position your products and services.
Content marketers can use social listening strategy to create more relevant content types for their audience and mirror the language that real people use to talk about your products.
Sales teams can improve their social selling by engaging in real-time conversations and finding better leads that are already talking about you or your competition.
Recruiting teams can use these conversations to determine the values and benefits that matter most to jobseekers. This can benefit your employer brand and improve your talent pipeline.
Social listening offers many opportunities for brands if you implement it wisely. Using the right tools and social listening strategy, brands can leverage real-time trends and conversations to make a real impact on brand perception and performance.
Why a Social Listening Strategy Matters
Once you have your strategy in place, you’ll have a better idea of what your customers and fans are saying about you and what they want.
You can then use insights from social listening to help with a wide range of use cases for your business, such as:
- Identifying new advocates (customers and employees)
- Help you find more potential sales opportunities
- Engage and delight customers on various channels
- Track competitors and analyze their social posts
- Get ahead of any brand crisis or negative brand sentiment
Social Listening Strategy Examples
Sometimes it’s helpful to see the different ways that brands are engaging with customers, fans, and users online.
Keep reading to see social listening strategies at work.
Fast response times to positive recommendations of Qualtrics customer service helps to encourage advocacy.
Netflix wasn’t directly tagged in this fan art for one of the actors in their original series but supported and amplified it thanks to social listening.
Unity engages with users on social to share other valuable resources on their website they might not know about it.