Social listening - man connecting to social on an ipad

Social media has completely revolutionised our lives in the last couple of decades, and also the way in which we do business. Entire businesses have been built off the back of a nice looking Instagram profile. But while most small businesses are well aware of the importance of a strong content marketing strategy and of bringing more focus to the question of understanding your customer, social listening may be something new to you.

What Is Social Listening?

The social media universe is full of conversations taking place – some of which will concern your product or service or the sphere in which you operate. Companies now have a great opportunity to listen in, get to the heart of what their existing and potential customers actually want, and offer a great solution.

Interpreting Trends And Themes

With so much information available literally at our fingertips, customers tend to do a fair amount of research before deciding to make a purchase.

Frequently, part of that involves asking the opinions of their online community, and that equals a lot of free and important information for you. The hardest part can actually be sifting out the bits which are actually important to you, and that you can act on.

Customers place far more weight on the recommendations of others than they do costly advertising. Seeing this conversation gives you an instant insight and a testing ground for new ideas. You can also use it as a form of competitor analysis, monitoring what is being said about others in relation to your own brand and using those strengths as key points in your marketing strategy.

Any keywords that are especially relevant for your industry are also useful for wider monitoring – they can help you to understand what industry trends are forming and put you ahead of the curve. You can also use social listening to test out ideas for promotions and giveaways and gauge how popular they would be – do the research before committing to a purchase, then find the best deals on your promotional items here.

Find Your Champions

Social listening will also enable you to identify brand advocates, key influencers within your sector and valuable user generated content that can all be used to your advantage. It’s a worthwhile idea to invest in access to a decent social media monitoring tool, which can help you track these individuals and can conversation which are happening about your brand or in your sector.

The challenge is then to connect with valuable community members in a meaningful way. Using an influence ranking system, the context of size of the poster’s following, their level of engagement, and the frequency with which they post, you can draw a picture of who will make the most impact for your brand and approach them about a potential collaboration.

As these individuals are trusted by their followers and already a fan of what you’re doing, it’s organic way of promoting your product or service that, crucially, has the authenticity factor which customers seek.

How Social Listening Can Help You

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