Social listening: When it pays to be all ears

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Social platforms give businesses the opportunity to connect with their audience in ways never imagined. Instead of sitting on the phone trying to “speak to a manager,” consumers can now hop on any social media site, create a post, tag the company and get a reply. If that company is using social media to its full potential, they’ll be monitoring these comments to make a speedy response.

While social monitoring is necessary in any social strategy, it’s only one small piece of the puzzle. You’re probably thinking, “I’m constantly checking notifications and replying to comments with lightning speed, what else could I possibly do?” If accounts are strictly being monitored, a goldmine of insight from people talking about the industry and brand are being missed. Here’s where you’ll want to “listen” up.

Social monitoring vs. listening

Although they seem similar at first glance, stark differences exist between each strategy. Social monitoring focuses on metrics, like engagement rate and number of mentions. When using this method, information is gathered from what’s already taken place versus collecting it for future actions.

Social listening presents the big picture. Instead of looking at situations individually, data is used to spot trends and track brand sentiment. The mountains are beautiful from the ground, but the view is limited. How marvelous a sight from the top, where you can see it all, right?

Why it’s important

Problems arise in personal relationships when someone feels like they’e not being heard. This is no different in the business world. In a survey by Pegasystems, one of the three top customer service complaints is when companies fail to listen to the needs of their consumers.  Social listening tracks and analyzes data so action can be formulated. If done correctly, it can even divert a crisis before it happens.

How to apply it

Brand sentiment

Social listening is applied to gain an overall consensus of brand sentiment. If the eyes and ears are always open, there’s a constant opportunity to determine how positive or negative sentiment affects the brand on social media. Since social listening includes tracking data for competitors too, you’ll find important details to help determine where you fit in customer perceptions.

Customer service

A business that doesn’t listen to their customers can be viewed as one that doesn’t care. A lacking customer service strategy equals demise for you and a win for competitors. By monitoring what people are saying, businesses have the chance to communicate a rapid response (monitoring) and develop strategies to predict and prevent frustrations from happening in the future (listening).

For example, if a customer posts an innocent tweet about inventory issues with product, you can respond to let them know their voice is being heard. This approach is considered social monitoring, because you’re responding on a case-by-case basis.

When social listening is applied, you can gather information about the specific product, the process of ordering and pinpoint larger trends to establish ways to correct the problems in the future.

Content generation

Content has catapulted its way to the top of social media strategy. It can’t just be any form or subject, though. The key to content marketing is making sure you’re publishing the right kind of content to the right people. With social listening, you no longer have to depend on trial by error, because the audience is telling you exactly what they want to see.

When using social media, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking promotion is king. However, stepping up listening efforts leads to a wealth of information that improves brand health and encourages proactive customer relations.

In need of a little listening help? Let MultiView’s experienced social media strategists lend you a hand and your audience an ear.

Bianca Gibson

Bianca Gibson

MultiBriefs Executive Editor

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