What Is Social Listening & Why Does Your Business Need It?
Recently, I wrote something on improving customer relationship through listening. In that article, I mentioned that many times, marketers and business owners tend to do a lot of talking without listening to their customers. Think about it this way; we send so much information to our target audience through the different marketing channels to get and retain customers. But while we know that every relationship – including the one between businesses and customers – needs communication to be a two-way street, we tend not to apply it to customer relationship.
So, let me emphasise it once again; you cannot properly improve customer relationship without practising effective listening. But beyond that, in our present digitally-inclined world, you need to take it a step further by monitoring what is being whispered about your brand in different corners around the world. While you cannot be privy to every physical discussion, luckily, you can know what’s being said about your brand online through social listening.
What Is Social Listening?
Social listening is the process of tracking, monitoring and analysing your brand mentions as well as certain keywords, topics, industry talks, and mentions of your competitors to draw insight to improve your marketing and general business operation. There are many businesses around today that are operating without any idea what customers or the general public think of them.
And there is really something to be said about finding the solution to a problem only when you recognise what the problem is. Sure, some of them know to track their marketing campaigns to see if it’s working or not. But you can only get details about why your marketing is working or not if you know the general sentiment about your business. This is where social listening comes in. That said, let’s look further at the benefits of social listening.
Why Your Business Needs Social Listening
It Provides Insight for Marketing
Marketing should not be done in a bubble or out of thin air. Knowing your product and how it benefits people is great but that’s not all there is to marketing. This is because marketing is largely about appealing to the emotions of your target audience. Why? It is simply because you are likely not the only brand with that product or offering that service. So, there is no reason why customers should pick you over your competitor. You can only give them a reason to if you have an edge over your competitor.
And you can only know to do the expected by putting your ears to the ground to know what is being said about your brand and industry. By listening to certain social conversations, you will know what people expect from your brand, and leverage great things being said about your brand. You will also be able to clarify misunderstandings and identify the social platform with the highest conversation about your brand. And the information gathered can, in turn, inform your marketing strategy.
It Helps You Engage Your Customers
If you are familiar with social media – which you should be – you will notice that customers love brands that engage with them. It makes them feel seen and acknowledged. But you might not know about your business mentions if you are not intentional about it. So, you should regularly search for your brand mentions to retweet, repost, and comment when customers say something great about your brand. This will also help you quickly address any customer complaint.
It Helps You Monitor Your Competitors
It is not enough to know what is being said about you, you also need to know the general sentiment about your industry and your competitors. In the case of your industry, you will be able to see where you fit in your industry, learn industry trends and generally keep up with what’s happening in your industry. And by monitoring your competitors, you will learn what they are doing right that you should be considering and what they are doing wrong that you should avoid.
It Helps You Manage Crises
Brand mentions can be positive or negative. While you want to amplify the positive mentions, you also want to quickly address the negative mentions. Social listening will help you find negative sentiments, find the reasons for them and quickly address them so you can rise above those situations.
It Helps You Identify Key Influencers
Online influencers are those with a lot of followers that they can influence with their opinion about your brand. They could be influencers in your industry or just general social commentators. By being active on social media, you will find most of them. But if you want to streamline it to your industry, monitoring industry conversation will help identify key influencers in your industry. You can either reach out to them to collaborate or you can monitor what they say for more insight into your industry and your place in that conversation.
It Helps You Improve Brand Reputation
The Good Book asserts that a good name is better than great riches. You can have the best product or offer the best service in your industry but if you don’t enjoy general goodwill, it will amount to nothing. Basically, if your brand has a bad reputation, there is little you can do for your business if you don’t improve your brand reputation. But you cannot know your brand reputation without tracking social conversations. You have to listen to these conversations to know how your brand is viewed by the general public so you can act accordingly.
It Improves Your Business Performance
Ultimately, the goal of any business is to make a profit and you can only make a profit if your business is running properly. You may be doing all you know to do and think that you are performing optimally while there is a whole lot more that you are missing out on, albeit genuinely. However, in this harsh business environment, you cannot afford to genuinely miss out on anything, you have to always be at the top of your game. And this is something listening to your customers or the general public will get you. You will be able to track your general business performance and make changes where required.
And there you have it. I hope you now understand what social listening means and why your business needs it. Also, if you found this article useful, kindly share it with your friends.