2018 was a year of crises when it comes to social media and social media marketing. Cambridge Analytica scandal, multiple data breaches, and the spread of fake news were just a cherry on the top of all the trust scandals involving social media platforms, tech companies, and online influencers.
Unfortunately, the crisis of trust hit not only the big players but also small and medium enterprises. Mismatched influencers campaigns, customers left without answers on social media, or the misuse of chatbots and marketing automation tools are just the tip of an iceberg.
Now, it’s time to reverse the negative trend. 2019 will all be about rebuilding trust, and bringing social media back to its roots – actual human interactions, exchanging ideas, thoughts and, from time to time, funny cat videos (can you even imagine the Internet without those cuties anymore?)
Where do you start when it comes to rebuilding trust? How do you convince your followers that you’re the real deal and they will enjoy interactions with your online profiles?
Start by listening!
We rely so much on different social media tools that are supposed to do all the work for us that we tend to forget about the easiest solutions.
Usually, the simplest answers are the best and this case is no different. Start just with listening to your potential and existing clients and your social media followers.
To make this process a bit easier, let’s get acquainted with a social media monitoring tool. For this purpose . I am going to use Brand24, not only because I use PRO plan, but because it’s one of the most robust and affordable tools on the market (at least, according to Buffer).
What Is Social Listening?
You’ve probably already heard the term “social monitoring”. Many people confuse social monitoring with social listening, whereas those are two completely different approaches to digital marketing.
So, what’s the difference between social media monitoring and social listening?
Social media monitoring requires finding and responding to individual mentions on the Internet. It’s a passive approach where brands wait for individuals to mention their brand in social media posts. Brands then react to their mentions.
Social listening, on the other hand, is a much more proactive process.
Social listening involves not only gathering mentions from online sources but also analyzing the data and drawing insights to make better decisions for your business.
Think about social monitoring as a micro solution where you respond to comments and online mentions. You solve customers’ problems, monitor the number of online mentions, etc.
Social listening is a bit more complicated process and it requires an operation on a broader scale. It not only analyses what is being said about your company but also how it’s said, where people are talking about your business and many more.
Let’s take a look at all the benefits that social listening will bring your business in 2019!
What Can a Social Listening Tool Do for Your Business?
If I answer these questions with “wonders”, that would be only a slight exaggeration. Social listening might not be a panacea, but if used correctly, it can get close to one.
It all starts with a project set-up.
Enter all the relevant terms you want to monitor in the project creation wizard.
Are you struggling with coming up with the most pertinent keywords?
- brand name
- product name
- service name
- branded hashtags
- campaign specific hashtags
From now on, Brand24 will start gathering all the publicly available mentions on the Internet (remember that social listening tools, in general, don’t provide historical data).
What exactly are the benefits of a social listening tool? Let’s find out!
Social Listening and Audience Insights
Knowing your audience is a fundamental aspect of every successful marketing campaign. Broadcasting into the void is a waste of time and money.
What does social listening tell you about your audience?
You can go right to the most reliable source of your knowledge – your customers. You no longer have to guess what they think about your company as you can read all their online remarks and queries organized in one neat dashboard.
Social listening tools will go a step further and prepare a graph with the total number of mentions within a specified time frame. You can further subdivide the mentions according to specific social media platforms, location, or sentiment (which is a crucial part of social listening and I’ll discuss it more in-depth in the next chapter).
Benefits: easily spot which social media platform or website your clients use and tailor your messages to the particular channel. Identify seasonal changes in the total number of mentions and adjust your communication tactics accordingly.
Social Listening and Sentiment Analysis
The volume of mentions is only half of the story. If you want a holistic view of your online presence, you have to analyze the sentiment of the posts as well.
There are many definitions of sentiment analysis, but my favorite is from Brandwatch:
“Sentiment analysis is the process of determining the emotional tone behind a series of words, used to gain an understanding of the attitudes, opinions, and emotions expressed within an online mention.”
Sentiment analysis is the peanut butter to the jelly sandwich of social listening.
Social sentiment analysis provides a much-needed context to all the numbers generated by the social listening tool.
Imagine you run a marketing campaign, and you want to analyze the results. Initially, you might think that a high number of mentions is a good thing.
But that’s not necessarily true.
A high volume of positive mentions is a reliable indicator of success.
Online mentions in which negative sentiment prevails, should be a strong incentive to twist your marketing campaign and try out new approaches.
Benefits: Accurately assess the results of your online marketing campaign by analyzing the sentiment around your project and implement changes in your communication strategy, if necessary.
Social Listening and Engaging Your Audience
Social media are going back to social which means algorithms will be redesigned to favor human interactions instead of bots. After all, bots won’t be interested in your message.
That’s why it’s vital to build a real community around your brand.
That won’t happen overnight, but this long-lasting process will pay off in the future.
The first step toward building an engaged community should be interacting with people mentioning your brand, product or service, even if they don’t use your branded hashtag or an @mention.
Just like here:
That’s the beauty of social media interactions with brands – everybody asks questions or leave opinions, but no one expects the companies to answer.
Providing excellent customer care is not that common. Many of the interactions between brands and customers go viral ensuring a rise in brand awareness.
Literally millions of people will know about your company if you grab a chance and use social listening right.
Benefits: Surprise your clients with exquisite customer service and don’t miss any mention containing your brand’s name. That’s the best way to go viral and raise your brand awareness.
Social Listening and Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing, if executed correctly, is an incredibly powerful form of marketing and its importance will only grow in the future. But to get it right, you have to choose an influencer fitting your campaign.
A helping hand is, surprise, surprise, a social listening tool. The tool will analyze the authors, their social media reach, number of posts containing your keyword, influence, and the share of voice – the number of online discussions initiated by the author.
Combine all the data with sentiment analysis of their posts, and you’ve got a match! A perfect candidate for your next influencer marketing campaign.
Benefits: Find the best influencer for your campaign, discover new sales leads, or generate traffic to your website.
Social Listening and Social Selling
Remember when I talked about the difference between social monitoring and social listening?
The main difference between the two terms is that social listening is a more proactive approach. You don’t wait for something to happen, but rather actively look for opportunities to act and achieve the goals.
Social selling is an ideal example.
You can gather all the mentions that contain phrases such as:
- Who can recommend…?
- Where can I buy…?
- Where can I eat…?
And so on.
You can solve problems with just a few keystrokes! Isn’t it great? And the best thing is that there are thousands of this type of questions online and they are hardly ever answered.
The recommendation questions are a great way to promote your business and get your message to the potential customers you wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise.
Benefits: Surprise your likely customers and deliver a personalized message to solve their problems.
Social Listening and Customers’ Testimonials
Your customers rely on opinions of family and friends much more than on paid advertising. Word-of-mouth is the most powerful form of marketing there is, and yet, it’s incredibly hard to get the opinions and share them with others.
Customer testimonials are the answer to your problems. The endorsements from your customers will:
- Boost your sales
- Establish your position as an industry leader
- Advertise your product in a free and efficient way
- Build brand awareness.
All of the testimonials are available on different social media channels; the only trick is to embed them on your website.
Here comes the Live Customer Testimonials Widget, which looks like that:
You can moderate the mentions that will appear on your social media fame wall and display only positive ones.
Benefits: Add credibility to your product and reach new customers’ segment by embedding live customers’ testimonials into your website.
Social Listening and Reputation Management
Once you set up your widget and analyze the sentiment, you’ll notice that, unfortunately, not all mentions in your project are positive.
Don’t worry, that’s a good thing!
According to the Harvard Business Review, negative comments might help your business thrive. The key is to react fast to all unfavorable comments and try to nip them all in the bud.
If you don’t have time to check your social listening project on a regular basis, we got your back.
You can set up two kinds of notifications:
- Storm alerts – every time there’s an unusual spike in the number of online mentions you’ll receive an email;
- Slack notification – you can get an alert when there’s a new mention, but you can also limit the number of popups and only collect mentions with negative sentiment
Maintaining your positive reputation during a crisis requires cold head and a ton of patience, but is not impossible.
First of all, try to react as quickly as possible. Bad news travels fast, and bad news on social media travels with the speed of sound. If you address the issue promptly, you can contain the situation and control the narrative.
Try to stay calm. I know it can be hard, especially if you have to deal with Internet trolls, but being gentle and levelheaded is the best approach.
Benefits: Turn negative experiences into positive ones by having a crisis management plan in place and prevent negative opinions from spreading on the Internet.
Social Listening and Hashtag Tracking
What would we do without hashtags? They make the lives of social media marketers so much easier!
With a campaign-dedicated hashtags, you can easily track the performance of your social media marketing campaign, measure the estimated social media reach or see how your content spreads across social media.
A social listening tool will do all this, and more! The only thing you have to do is to include a hashtag as your predefined keyword. Take a look in the Analysis tab and find all the metrics you need to assess the impact of your marketing campaign, such as number of social media interactions or estimated social media reach.
Benefits: check the results of your hashtag performance; evaluate and adjust your marketing campaign if needed. See who and where is using your hashtags and get to know your audience even better.
The Benefits of Social Listening Tool
I wasn’t kidding when I said that social listening tool would do wonders to your business. All the aspects of social listening are intertwined and will benefit your social media presence on many different levels.
It’s a very versatile tool that will help you with multiple aspects of your social media presence, including:
- Spotting audience insights
- Analyzing the sentiment of online mentions
- Engaging your audience into meaningful interactions
- Finding powerful influencers for marketing campaigns
- Implementing social selling techniques
- Embedding live customers testimonials to your website
- Managing your online reputation
- Measuring the results of your hashtag marketing campaign.
How to Avert a Crisis
It’s important to remember that no one is immune to the crisis. Everyone makes mistakes – some of the packages won’t be delivered on time, servers will be down from time to time, your subcontractors could have problems that will affect your performance, and probably things you couldn’t have imagined will happen.
But you can be prepared for a crisis and decrease its negative effects. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, however, simply listening to your audience is a great start. Your customers will tell you what they need and what problems they encounter while using your products. And that’s the most valuable feedback you can get.
Social listening is an essential part of your digital marketing strategy – it will help build brand awareness, find new sales leads, and bring your customer service to the next level. Discover all the benefits of social listening!
Social listening is looking for mentions around specific topics to achieve your marketing goals. Discover all the benefits of social listening!