Social media can become a free and effective focus group for businesses and brands when done properly. Social Listening helps you better understand your audience; their opinions on you, your competitors, and your market, eventually helping to uncover the mysteries of who exactly is your audience.

Many organizations strive to understand their audience to help focus their product, outreach and campaigns properly. However, to truly do that, is a task that is a lot easier said than done. In today’s world, consumers are more diverse than ever before and finding the similarities and commonalities between them has increasingly become harder and harder to do. This is where Social Listening comes in, as it can help brands that have been challenged with sifting through massive amounts of global Social Data to find quality insights about their consumer base.

Here are a few simple approaches where Social Listening can help brands understand who their audience is, what they care about and where they are.


Audience Demographics

People readily share massive amounts of information about who they are online, maybe even without knowing it. Location, age, gender, etc. All, some or most of this information is out there on most of your consumers, you just need the proper tools to gather it. We often see customers refine their campaign material when they find out even the most basic demographic information about their audience – their age, gender, languages. But you can delve even further into more sophisticated analytics like interests and affinities. You may find out, for example, that women 25-35 who you are targeting for a cosmetics campaign also are mums or even more specific, soccer mums, and are as active around associated topics. This can help target your message, your approach and your channels or engagement.


Trend Identification

To truly know your consumers, you must know what they talk about when they are discussing your brand or product. In other words, you must be able to quickly and easily identify topics that your audience is discussing around your own topics, so that you can get ahead of the conversations, and be a part of the trending conversations that matter to your consumers. This is something that is easy to do through Social Media Analytics, as you can use a tool’s Insight Tree that provides you with the keywords, terms, phrases, etc., that are being used around the specific topics and subtopics that you are tracking.

This is one of the most useful tools for brand’s to understand what their consumer’s concerns, hesitations and excitement are for a product. For example, you might be an automotive manufacturer and you learn that while your audience is concerned about the cost and the drive-quality of your products, those that are actual customers are praising your drive-quality. Furthermore, through Social Listening, brands can also get an understanding of associated conversations. In other words, while monitoring what is being said about a specific product of yours, you can discover what your audience thinks about the entire genre of that product. This can help brands refine their messaging, get consumer advocates involved and help push potential customers to become actual customers in the most effective way possible.


Influencer Identification

Any Social Listening tool worth it’s salt will have some form of influencer identification that puts together a list of top influencers around your queries and the topics and subtopics that you are tracking. Each different tool uses different algorithms to determine who the influencers are, but the end result is the same for any brand, you get a list of people that you need to be engaging with.
Influencers are not only a way to increase the reach of your message, but they also can help sway the opinions of your consumers and potential customers, positively or negatively. This is why it is crucial that you know who your influencers are, what they care about, and how you can use them to positively affect purchase decisions of others around your products. You must tailor your outreach to please your influencers so that they will, in turn, use their influence in a positive way for your brand.


Content Sharing

The most important thing that brands can do is to create content that will resonate positively with their audience, but with such a diverse consumer base it can be hard to know what type of content they will enjoy. This is why one of the most important insights you can learn using a Social Listening tool, is what content does your audience identify with and find the need to share. What are their collective top retweets? What are the URLs that they are sharing the most? What content are they sharing from your competitors?

Using Social Listening is a great way for brands to tailor their content to match what their audience is interested in, and make sure that it will resonate well with them. This takes the guessing game out of whether or not a piece of content will be worth the time and effort that goes into creating it, and will it drive positive engagement. Knowing what your consumers share can change your content creation for the better in ways that marketers have always dreamed.

While you can get even deeper into ways of using social data to derive insights around your audience, these are a great start. It is key to know who you are targeting, where to target them and what they want to engage with, before you spin cycles on the wrong content and campaigns. To learn more about how to use Social Listening for your audience insights, request a demo and we’ll be happy to show you how it works!