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Social Media Listening: What Does It Mean?


What’s the key to an effective social media marketing strategy? Data.

Gathering social media data is very easy to do — through each platform as well as third-party partners and vendors. That’s not where the journey ends, though. Once you have your data, it’s time to translate what it all means. This is known as social media listening. Not sure what to look for when analyzing this data? Here are 10 social media listening tips to try today.

1. Get to Know Your Audience: The first step to improving your social media listening is making sure you’re listening to the right people. Get to know your audience so you can get the highest quality data from platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. The more details you can gather about your target audience, the better. Find out their average age, their gender, their location, their hobbies, and the social networks they use most often.

2. Identify Pain Points: Once you know who makes up your audience, take that information and dig a bit deeper to understand their pain points. What challenges are they currently experiencing? How can your business’s products or services help them? When you understand your audience’s struggles, it’s easier to adjust your social media messages and make sure you’re addressing them appropriately.

3. Monitor Relevant Keywords and Topics: A key component of social media listening is monitoring the right keywords and topics. If you’re not already, start following mentions of your brand on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. You should also follow hashtags and keywords that are relevant to the products or services you sell. Remember, if you’re not collecting the right kinds of data, it’s impossible to conduct a thorough analysis and use that data to improve your social media marketing strategy.

4. Look for User-Generated Content: As you’re fine-tuning your social media listening strategy, be sure to be on the lookout for user-generated content (or UGC). This is content that your customers create that mentions your brand and your products or services in some way. Not only is UGC great for building awareness and boosting your brand’s credibility, but it also provides valuable insight into the ways people talk about your brand. It can help you learn which products or services people enjoy the most, too.

5. Monitor Your Competitors: In addition to keeping an eye on your customers through social media, it’s important to monitor your competitors. Pay attention to their posts, as well as the types of comments their posts receive. What kind of content do their audiences — remember, there’s likely overlap between their followers and yours — respond well to? What kind of content do they not like? Which approaches work and which ones seem to fall flat?

6. Empathize with Your Audience: Empathy is a powerful tool when it comes to building a strong brand and improving your online presence. Pay attention to the sentiments of people’s comments, then respond in an appropriate and empathetic way. Find out why people are saying what they’re saying, then work with your team to address the matter — positive or negative — effectively.

7. Take Prompt Action: Don’t spend so much time poring over the data you gather from social media that you forget to engage with your audience. Make sure you’re responding promptly to comments and messages, as well as shares and shout-outs. If you take too long to respond or take action, you may end up alienating some of your followers.

8. Get Ahead of Crises: One of the greatest things about social media listening is that it lets you monitor audience sentiment in real-time. If you notice that people are starting to develop negative perceptions of your brand, get ahead of a potential crisis and try to address the problem head-on.

9. Focus on Relationships, Not Selling: People like it when brands engage with them online. They don’t like when a representative from the brand seems like they’re trying too hard to make a sale. Resist the urge to jump right in and recommend a product or service. Focus on offering support, answering questions, and building a relationship instead.

10. Look for Opportunities to Collaborate: After you spend some time gathering relevant data from social media, you’ll likely notice that certain influencers’ names and posts come up over and over again. If it seems like someone’s content and values align with your brand, consider reaching out to them to collaborate. When people see you working with an influencer they follow and admire, they might be more inclined to try out your products or services for themselves.

Level Up Your Digital Marketing Strategy Today

If you’ve been confused about social media listening best practices, keep the tips listed above in mind. They’ll help you make the most out of your online reporting and see the best results from your social media marketing strategy.