You own a business: after hard work and uncertainties, the fruits of your labour are starting to show. Above all, your business is picking up and becoming profitable. Congratulations!
Naturally, you’ll want to keep it going; “onwards and upwards” as they say. So, to expand your empire, you put your brand on social media because you live in 2019.
Finally, you have everything up and running, and positive comments, shout outs, likes – and maybe even dislikes – are coming in.
Keeping an eye on your new social toys, you realize that there is a lot of useful information at your disposal. You’re getting feedback about your great services, fantastic products, helpful staff, and “lit” brand. You’re seeing constructive conversations that are encompassing certain keywords, your industry and your competition; coming directly from your client base. Input is pouring in not only from customers but also from potential clients and your target audience.
Pinching your chin between finger and thumb, you ask yourself, “How can I use this?” You review and listen to as much judgement as you dare, weigh its value and begin to strategize ways to put these opinions to good use and improve your brand even more.
My friend, guess what? You’re Social Listening.
What is it?
What is social listening, you ask? Simply put, social listening is the monitoring of your brand’s social media channels for reviews from clients, customers and target audience. It also goes by the terms “social media measurement” or “social media monitoring.” It should be followed by an analysis to gain an intuitive understanding and ultimately to take action on those opportunities.
How to do it?
Part of mastering your social media presence is knowing where exactly your target audience is and what they’re sharing about your brand on all social media outlets. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., depending on where they are, you’ll hear different opinions and comments, if any at all. By analyzing this, you’ll get a great vision of how to communicate your message with them.
Social Monitoring can be a passive approach, looking back on submissions to focus on measurable successes that can lead to business opportunities, while Social Listening is more of a proactive/ forward way of looking at a full picture for strategizing.
Once you know what is being said and where it’s being said, you can strategize, compose and launch ways to use the metrics to reach your goal. The next steps in communicating in real-time to your existing and future clients is finding the right tool to utilize.
Should you do it (and why)?
Yes (and because), acquiring data from social media is in demand. Exploring user participation and population to retrieve and collect many kinds of data is a no brainer when it comes to benefitting your business’s success.
After all, it is a direct, voluntary link to your base. It’s an avenue to ensure that you can hear what their concerns, pain-points and needs are. This essential access also includes details on what is happening with your competitors that you’d be silly not to consider. They’ll make mistakes at times, and your real-time observations will avoid any drawbacks they run into.
Having this insight from social media listening is wasted unless you use and learn from it. Apply a measured and calibrated approach to note trends, conversation swings and patterns, as opposed to focusing on single comments from individuals. Not to devalue the input from a post by post basis by any means, but focusing on the larger picture is better suited to planning a business strategy.
There are several quality social media tools available. The ultimate decision on this is up to you and your capacity to use this beneficial data. Out of the many resources, Hootsuite.com has listed some of the best-received Social Media Listening tools that help business owners expand their acumen.
Does this mean that measuring your social media can be problem-free? Absolutely not, unfortunately.
Aleh Barysevich, Founder and CMO of Link-Assistant.com, mentions several mistakes that can be made by those who don’t dedicate enough time and focus on utilizing their social monitoring tools as designed. Using a fork for your soup will mean an empty stomach and a big mess on the table. However, by spending a time focusing on who your audience is, where the most helpful conversations are taking place, watching what your competition is doing and putting in the effort to learn the best ways to adapt and incorporate a game plan, you just might achieve something that, in all likelihood, your competitors are doing already.
One thing to keep in mind is the state of current privacy settings and other issues across social media platforms. These concerns can make it downright difficult to listen, monitor and measure the various conversations on social media. The listening tools are still very invaluable when it comes to identifying and benchmarking trends. All of which should sway the way you form your business plans.
If your customers are taking time to look up your services and products, follow your page and leave positive comments, like or participate in ongoing conversations; it means they’re passionate about what your brand represents. Don’t let it go to waste! Simple acknowledgement shows that you are indeed listening to what is being said about you and your business.
In conclusion, Social media is about increasing the ability to connect and having conversations about topics that are of importance to you. When it comes to your business, wouldn’t you want to have information on how best to increase your success?
Social Media, love it or hate it, has firmly been integrated into our daily lives. Conversations are happening on a global level. Despite how much time has passed since its inception, it is still growing and evolving. There are, at times, even conversations about how much you are helping people with your services, products, advise, whatever. Why not listen?