THE BLOG
02/03/2018 06:14 SAST | Updated 02/03/2018 06:14 SAST

5 Ways Your Brand Should Be Listening On Social Media

It's important to find out what exactly the conversation that surrounds your business and industry consists of.

Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images
It's important to keep up with what is being said online about your brand.

The amount of data that is shared online every second of every day, across all corners of the world, is now as hard to comprehend as the size of the galaxy is. Every hour, millions of Tweets are sent and Instagram and Facebook posts uploaded, leading us to an amount of information available on social media that is impossible to keep track of.

Widely referred to as "content shock" or "information overload," this bombardment of data is making it increasingly challenging for brands to get themselves heard on any platform at any given time, let alone make sense of all the customer information at their fingertips – it is just too much.

Okay, okay, we get it. So how do we make sense of all this information?

The rate at which the amount of available data is increasing is staggering, but not all of it is relevant to everyone. This means there needs to be a system in place to firstly, automatically collect and analyse the data, and then to decide whether it's relevant to you.

Media intelligence uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to gather and analyse online editorial and social media content. This content is extracted from a variety of different sources such as digital and news media, print and broadcast, blogs and social media.

But in addition to just social listening, you are able to use the data to measure the performance of your PR and marketing efforts, monitor patents and job listings, and even track social influencers, discover journalist databases, and manage your social media engagement.

Naturally, it's important to find out what exactly the conversation that surrounds your business and industry consists of.

You can't manage what you can't measure

With a little effort and creativity, brands can go beyond just monitoring their name and mentions to using social media listening tools to enhance content marketing, customer support, product development and public relations. These are just five of the many ways you can use social media listening to benefit your business:

1. Find and solve pain points

One of the primary functions of social media listening is to choose and track specific keywords that are relevant to your business or industry. You can track your own business' name, a relevant hashtag, your slogan, the name of a campaign you're running, or the name of an event you're attending or sponsoring. Then zero it down to geographic location, date range, language or whether you want to track the keyword on social or editorial media.

To find pain points, use your competitor's name as a keyword and track it on social media alongside the words "can't" or "don't," for instance. Once you've identified what the problem is, contact the person who posted it (publicly, if possible, to get more eyes on it) and tell your new potential customer what you do and how you can solve their pain point. Remember to provide a contact number or link to a demo.

2. Join the conversation

Naturally, it's important to find out what exactly the conversation that surrounds your business and industry consists of. Brainstorm a couple of industry-relevant and product-related terms that your customers might be using in chatter around your business. Track these terms in forums, comment sections and social groups.

Join the conversation to find out more about what peoples' expectations and experiences are. If there's any talk of a need for what you have to offer, reach out, let them know what your business does and how you think you can help. Be genuine in your interactions.

With a powerful social media listening tool, it's possible to instantly identify positive and negative feedback and even get alerted to it in real-time too.

3. Identify influencers and ambassadors

There are a couple of effective ways to discover who your micro-influencers might be:

  • After a product launch or update, track the title of or link to the press release, to see who's shared it;
  • With a social influencers tool, create a search based on an industry, however niche or broad – for instance, "tennis shoes" or "lifestyle blogger." You can then narrow it down to how many followers you want your influencer to have (ranging from normal to celebrity) or purely based on their engagement (the ratio of followers to the number of likes and comments they receive);
  • Reach out to them to start building relationships.

This is one of the most effective ways to grow brand advocacy, generate new leads and stay top-of-mind of potential clients. Identifying and working with influencers and ambassadors is also paramount to maintain authenticity and humanity in a fast-paced digital world.

4. Improve customer service

With a powerful social media listening tool, it's possible to instantly identify positive and negative feedback and even get alerted to it in real-time too.

Monitor your brand name (on social, both with and without the @ symbol, as it's commonly forgotten or left off) and common misspellings of it, as well as your website domain. This will give you the opportunity to discover and highlight (by liking, sharing, retweeting or thanking) positive comments – and to respond to disappointed customers, thereby extinguishing potential fires before they exist.

5. Product feedback and innovation

Social media listening also helps you to determine any conversation around product features, updates or ideas. While monitoring your brand name, if anyone mentions a bug or problem about a product, assign the issue to your development team so that it can be rectified as soon as possible, before it affects too many other people. Depending on the size of your business, consider responding directly to the customer on your personal email address to nurture transparency and trustworthiness.