It’s one thing pushing great content out into the world of Social Media, but it’s a two-way street, and you need to be prepared to see what users are saying back.

Enter: Social Listening.

What Is Social Listening?

Social Listening comes in two parts, the first being what people on Social Media are saying about you and your brand, products or services and the second is what people are saying about your industry and competitors. Both aspects of Social Listening are conversations that you can be a part of.

Traditionally, the most accessible platform to conduct Social Listening on is Twitter thanks to the use of hashtags collating conversations together. However, now Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are all fully embracing hashtags; there’s no reason not to be all over it. You can also set up Google Alerts and follow specific hashtags to make it easier to keep track of conversations.

How Can Social Listening Help Your Business?

Although it may seem like yet another task to add to your everyday to-do list, Social Listening can add value to your business in several ways.

Build Brand Awareness

Social Listening is critical to brands as it helps them engage directly with their customers, thus building rapport and maintaining a positive brand reputation. By joining the conversation, you’re engaging with your customers where they are spending their free time rather than waiting for them to visit your profiles or website.

Improve Customer Service

It’s no secret that consumers turn to Social Media when they have feedback, especially when it’s negative. Responding to tweets and comments when you’re tagged is essential, but responding when you actively see posts through Social Listening will take your customer service to the next level.

Here’s a great example from McDonald’s engaging with a Twitter user without even being tagged in the original post. How’s that for Social Listening?

McDonalds Social Listening

Improve Product Offering

You may find that the information your Social Listening exposes helps influence your business decisions in the future. Whether it’s improvements to your existing products and services or a whole new offering inspired by your customers’ needs and feedback, you can learn a lot from taking some time out to engage with your audiences.

Latest Social Media Trends

By monitoring conversations across Social Media, you will be able to stay in the loop with the latest trends and hot topics of discussion. The more relevant your content is, the more relatable you are as a brand, and you will receive better engagement. Trending news is found easily through frequently used hashtags on Twitter, but it’s also worth monitoring other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram for new trends such as memes.

Competitor Analyses

Of course, any information that businesses can obtain about their competitors through Social Listening will help develop a competitive edge. You will be able to get a good understanding of the type of content your competitors share and how their audiences are responding.

Brand to Brand Engagement

Another fantastic style of Social Media content that consumers love is brand to brand conversations, and this is something most of the big players do very well. By engaging with someone seen as your competition, you’re showing your audience that the idea of competitors does not threaten you and it keeps social media all the more social.

Here’s an example of EasyJet and British Airways sharing a little Social Media love. There’s no way British Airways had the EasyJet birthday in their content calendar. Still, through Social Listening, they’ve been able to engage and be super topical with a potential competitor.

social listening mcdonalds

You can also converse with brands who aren’t competitors but link in with your industry to be relevant and exciting to your audience. For example, John Lewis tagging Innocent Smoothie, who is famously active and creative on Social Media, in a topical and fun post, could work in both their best interests. It might be worth dropping the account a quick message in private first to encourage them to play along!

John Lewis Social Listening

Start by monitoring your mentions, comments and shares to see what your customers are saying to you directly. Once you’re in the swing of this, start browsing Social Media platforms for your business name, products or critical hashtags to see what conversations are happening around you. If time is short, there are Social Listening platforms that you can connect your accounts to with monitoring streams.

Take control of your digital word of mouth by listening to what your customers and potential customers are saying about you on Social Media and join the conversation.

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