“We have two ears and one mouth for a reason” – while this must be one of the most often repeated sayings in social media, there is a lot of truth in it. However, social listening isn’t as passive as it sounds. While in real life all you need to do is well..listen, in the online world social listening is much more active.
What is social listening?
At its most basic, social listening is the practice of monitoring digital conversations. It is very useful for managing customer pain points, as well as uncovering feedback from customers and getting a general sense of brand perception among an online community. Essentially, it allows brands to evaluate feedback from customers and the public, which can be fed into business intelligence in a myriad of ways.
What does social listening involve in practice?
It involves an element of monitoring – using apps and/or manual monitoring to gather mentions and track brands, keywords, tags and words. The key difference between social monitoring and social listening is that there is also an element of reflection and analysis in social listening i.e. taking the data that has been gathered and giving it meaning and context.
How can you use social listening in your business?
There are many different ways that social listening can help businesses grow and achieve better relationships with customers. These are just a few of them:
- Reputation management – use social listening to find out what people are saying about your brand and head off any potential disasters. By listening you will uncover any issues that customers have with your brand and be able to solve their problems before they escalate. Without the listening element there may simply be no awareness of an issue or crisis, until it’s too late.
- Find new customers – what keywords do customers search when they are looking for products or services like yours? Monitor these words and listen to the conversations around them and you might be able to steer those involved towards your own brand.
- Find out who the influencers are – influencers can be useful in many ways, from helping to highlight who in your industry is effectively a thought leader, to providing promotional opportunities. Social listening is a simple way to discover who is leading the pack.
- Feedback – no matter what your business is based on, feedback can always help to improve it. Use social listening to see what people think of your products or services, and of the competition. You can also use social listening to discover early any potential problems with a new product or service and correct these before they become serious.
- People – finally, social listening is an insightful way to recruit. Whether you do so via influencers or by listening for those looking to make a move, many of the exceptional candidates are easily found online.