Communication is a two-way street. The biggest aspect of communication is being able to listen to what the person is saying and processing that information to react in an informed and empathetic response. This is no easy task during a normal conversation and countless therapists would agree that listening is imperative to a healthy conversation. As social marketers, this is no different. We must be able to listen before we respond at a larger scale. But, how do you listen socially?
Listen to me
According to one of my favorite social tools, Sprout Social, social listening refers to “analyzing the conversations and trends happening not just around your brand, but around your industry as a whole, and using those insights to make better marketing decisions.” This allows you to analyze chatter and be reactive and possibly proactive about your social brand strategy.
At times, these may be confused. According to Hootsuite, social monitoring monitors metrics like engagement versus social listening to monitor moods and audience temperature readings surrounding the social brand presence.
Why is social listening important?
You may ask, why is this even important? Social listening can provide real-time insight about what consumers and your customers really think about your product and want from it. It can help spark internal conversations and ideas on product innovations, service modifications and shifts in overall brand strategy. Other than engaging with your audience, you can also consider it kind of like an unintentional survey of your audience.
Besides getting an understanding of what your audience is saying about your brand, if you set up your triggers correctly, you can leverage insights about what consumers are saying about your competition. This can provide valuable leverage over what is working for them and what you can do better.
Although your entire brand strategy shouldn’t completely shift over social listening or sentiment these are great indicators of what your customers may want and they are not directly telling you. What have you heard of me lately? Share your thoughts about social listening and comment below. And don’t forget to read up on other marketing-related geeky stuff on my blog.