How many conversations do you have online every day? What about your opinions on a favourite product – do you share those with your networks far and wide? And when a brand has got you on the back foot, are you quick to write a review, or share your grumbles in a post?
Most of us take to social media in a heartbeat. It’s our outlet for just about every human experience – good or bad. As a brand then, being able to stay on top of conversations, opinions and reviews is pretty crucial for winning trust, inspiring loyalty, and keeping one step ahead of your competition. By understanding your customers’ human experience, you’re already doing better than most companies out there.
And social listening tools are how you do it.
What are social listening tools?
Social listening allows you to track social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors, industry, topics, keywords and hashtags. Through social listening, you can keep up with any conversations relevant to your brand. By listening to what customer are really saying, you’ll get a true picture of what they actually think about you, your products, and your competitors.
However, most of us mere mortals can’t possibly trawl through reams of social media posts, videos, tweets and reviews to find, organise and analyse everything the world has to say about us. Which is where social listening tools come into play.
Social listening tools allow you to research social media content in real time, view historical data, and analyse threads for specific keywords. You can set any topic or metadata you choose, and this clever software will set to work for you – collecting lots of lovely rich data for you to use in shaping your approach to market, tweaking advertising campaigns, improving customer service, and making product iterations.
Here’s why you should definitely use them.
What are the benefits of social listening tools?
Social listening is an incredibly powerful step in your brand development journey: it allows you to monitor consumer sentiment, tailor content and advertising campaigns, stay ahead of emerging market trends, shape your reputation, and connect with influencers.
And social listening tools make the whole thing possible.
This is why it matters.
- Social listening tools give you valuable customer insight
Understanding your customers is a crucial component of growing your brand, and social listening tools are also crucial components of understanding your customers. By continually monitoring social media, these tools allow you to discover market trends and consumer insights, understand what’s driving purchasing decisions and brand loyalty amongst your customers, and see what changes people are rooting for you to make across your entire brand experience.
- Social listening tools allow you to target your campaigns
If you’ve ever seen an ad pop up when you’re browsing Facebook that’s totally out of whack with who you are, you’ll understand the importance of personalised, relevant, and engaging content. Social listening tools make reaching – and really connecting with – a targeted group of consumers so much easier, as you’ll know exactly who you’re talking to, how they behave, what they want to see, and what they really hate. By identifying the latest trends, social listening also allows you to incorporate what’s hot into your marketing and advertising campaigns.
- Social listening tools help you track brand awareness
How well do people know your brand? What do they think about it? Does it stack up against competitor brands? What do your customers think of your complaint-handling processes? Don’t know? You will with social listening. Social listening allows you to measure brand awareness and keep a handle on brand reputation. And because you’ll be alerted to any bad press, you can jump in there straight away, ready to diffuse the whole situation and restore faith in your rep.
- Social listening tools give you an edge on the competition
Because social listening makes it possible to monitor mentions of your competitors, as well as your own brand, you can easily see when one of their customers isn’t happy – meaning there’s an opening for them to become your customer, instead. If you get wind of a competitor complaint, you have a golden opportunity to step in, find out what’s gone wrong and show them how you’re different. Customer, converted.
- Social listening tools mean a more personalised brand experience
We’ve already talked about using social listening to target and tailor your marketing and advertising campaigns, but by doing that, you’re also creating a more authentic, personalised brand experience for your customers. Discovering what makes your customer base tick means you can speak directly to them: factoring in behavioural trends and cultural nuances to connect with consumers. This level of personalisation makes a real impact on brand loyalty!
- Social listening tools lead to better customer service
Nothing puts people off a brand quicker than when a complaint or sub-par encounter is ignored. Unfortunately for some brands, they simply never catch sight of that compliant, or hear the conversation they should be jumping in on. Social listening tools make sure you never miss a chance to make amends, build your reputation, or give excellent customer service. When people complain, they want to be supported through a problem, not ignored – and hearing the negatives gives your company a very clear direction of what to work on.
- Social listening tools help you to spot gaps in the market
As well as being great for understanding how customers feel about your current products or services, employing social listening software puts you in a prime position for identifying new opportunities, and spotting gaps to be filled. By keeping an ear to the ground for all relevant keywords and topics within your industry, you’re always part of the conversation, and always party to consumer sentiment.
- Social listening tools unlock influencer marketing
Social media influencers and brand ambassadors are big business in marketing, advertising, and brand promotion. One of the many benefits of social listening tools is that they give you very clear data on who is sharing your content, what sort of people follow and engage with them, and exactly how much influence they have on their networks. Brand partnership, anyone?
Difference between social listening and social monitoring
Social listening and social monitoring sound confusingly alike, but they really do differ in some pretty meaningful ways.
While social monitoring focuses on rather specific campaigns and targeted keywords, social listening has a far broader scope – including brand mentions, industry trends, and the tracking of customer feedback.
Social monitoring is great because it’s highly data-driven and allows you to see what conversations have taken place – but social listening goes much further than simply monitoring social media mentions.
Social listening takes things one step further by analysing findings, looking at root causes, and figuring out the sentiment behind the cold, hard data. And that’s the most significant difference between the two. Through social listening, you can better understand what your customers actually want, create well-informed changes to your brand strategy, and influence the future of your products and services with the backing of accurate insight and customer feeling.
Examples of social listening tools being used effectively
Right then, which industry stalwarts are using social listening tools to full effect, and really capitalising on the action?
When Telsa owner Jaehwan Cho was unable to connect to his car, CEO Elon Musk was notified immediately – allowing him to fix the issue and respond personally. How did he know? Through the use of social listening tools, of course. Being made aware of an issue, and taking the time to engage with a customer, shows just how much a brand values the people it serves. It also gives confidence to potential customers who are yet to buy into a brand!
When one twitter user took to the social media site to ask where he could pick up a pair of pictured trainers, Reebok was very quick to respond – and hand over to Adidas. The innocent tweeter hadn’t realised he was shouting out a competitor brand, but by finding humour in the mix up, Reebok might well have bagged themselves a few new customers. The lesson here is that, when you have social listening tools on your side, you have endless opportunities to build your brand rep.
Ah, the giant of the coffee world. Despite its global domination, Starbucks is not willing to sit back and rest on its laurels; instead, it employs social listening tools to ensure the customer experience is on point at every turn – and if it’s not? They’ll jump right in! When this disgruntled customer posted about how quickly brand loyalty can be ruined with one poor interaction, the official Starbuck’s account was quick to step in, ask for more info, and try to resolve the incident. This is where social listening really comes into its own: for a brand to be successful, being able to engage with customers is absolutely key; particularly when they’re not happy.
How can Forsta help?
Now that we’ve convinced you of the wonders of social listening tools (we have convinced you, right?), it’s time to introduce our all-singing, all-dancing social listening software.
Social media can be absolutely chaotic! People are tweeting and posting and snapping and sharing all the livelong day – and honestly, who has the time (or the patience) to sift through the masses? As a brand wanting to strengthen its reputation, grow its market share, and create a truly contented customer base, you just need insights. Targeted, analysed, actionable insights.
And that’s where we come in.
Through Forsta’s social listening tools, we can make the constant noise of social media work for you. You’ll receive instant alerts to any negative reviews (allowing you to swoop in and sweep up), be kept up-to-date on what your customers are saying about you (and why) and see all comments in their proper context (our platform uses analytics tools to break down the data, meaning you can easily spot trends).
Ready to start your own social listening journey? Let’s get going!
Listen to what people are saying – before they stop talking about you
With 3.5b people using social media, and 90% of people relying on online reviews to inform their purchasing decisions, you need to get it right.
Social listening tools put you back in the driving seat. They clue you in to what people are saying, why they’re saying it, what you’re doing well, and what you need to change. That level of brand insight is phenomenal.
Don’t waste it.
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