What is Social Listening? A Five-Minute Explainer

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What is Social Listening? A Five-Minute Explainer

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With the massive expansion of social media in recent years, social listening has become a vital resource for businesses. The number of online conversations increases every day, making it almost impossible for companies to keep track of mentions of their brand. However, in this digital world, a successful strategy will rely significantly on social media as consumers continue to share their opinions on social networks and mainstream media. So what is social listening? How does it work? Why is it important? Here we’ll tell you everything you need to know!

What is social listening?

So first, what is social listening? A social listening tool is a software that monitors and analyzes online conversations about your brand, a specific topic, your competitors or anything else that’s relevant to your company. It pulls in mentions of specified keywords and helps marketers analyze these mentions. It doesn’t just measure social media; it’s able to pull in posts and comments on blogs, forums, and websites where the information is made public. With a large number of mentions and insights, social listening will help you track how well your company is doing and what your consumers think of your brand.

How does social listening work?

Knowing what social listening is, is excellent, but understanding how it works is far more critical. Social listening tools collect data available online about your brand and the brands of your competitors. You can gather data for a specific period or in real-time depending on the needs of your business. You can also choose to only allow for mentions in particular languages or countries.

The research is based on different keywords (your product name, your brand, etc.) or phrases to get as much relevant information as possible. You can also decide to exclude certain words that would interfere with your goals. Next, mentions are analyzed to understand the sentiment of their authors — and classified as positive, negative or neutral — based on tone and other factors. You can also include categories to know what your consumers talk about the most when they mention your product or brand online (for example, packaging, price, and availability).

What is social listening used for?

Building a robust social listening program will help your business flourish – and is used by the vast majority of large companies and industries. Here are several examples of why you need social listening:

Track Brand Health

Analyzing feedback from your consumers will allow you to understand the overall sentiment towards your brand. By comparing the number of positive and negative mentions, you can identify the perception of your brand and contrast these numbers to your competitors’, to compare the health of both. This will help you decide if action needs to be taken to improve your brand image.

Identify Influencers

Consumers look to their influencers when making a buying decision. Seeing your favorite actress or social media blogger with a specific product will consciously and subconsciously sway you in a particular direction. Identifying who those individuals are is crucial for brands when making marketing and advertising decisions.

Measure Campaign Impact

To measure your return on investment, you need to evaluate the impact of your marketing campaigns. Social listening measures how much your brand awareness has improved by, and the increase of mentions following a campaign. It will inform you of what your consumers thought about the content of the campaign, and how it impacted them.

Develop Your Product

Thanks to social listening, you can understand how consumers feel about your products. You can then track the positive and negative feedback to identify any areas that need improvement. This will allow your R&D team to be more focused on consumers pain points and needs, leading to a better product that will further appeal to your target audience.

Competitive Benchmarking

Achieving and maintaining a competitive advantage is crucial for businesses. To do so, you need to know what your competitors are doing and what consumers think of them. Social listening will help you set your price, control your release dates, and ultimately make your products more attractive than your competitors’.

Improve Customer Relationships

To achieve long-term customer loyalty, you need to improve your customer relationships, mostly by providing excellent customer service. One way to do this is to identify their frustrations regarding your product or brand, and answer their needs, hence providing value. A company should take action once they gather enough negative feedback about a specific product or service. It could be announcing an exchange for an unsatisfied customer, a refund, or answering unfavorable rumors. Showing your consumers that you care about them will ensure trust in your brand.

Keep Track of Trends

Markets evolve as they grow. To understand the changes, you need to be aware of the new trends that affect your target audience. For example, imagine that you are a large convenience store chain like 7-Eleven. You know that diets are changing due to the healthy lifestyle trends promoted on social media. You will, therefore, need to be attentive to which food is trending on social media. By analyzing what is being said about a specific product, you will be able to control the marketing strategy, and therefore increase sales.

What should you look for in a Social Listening Platform?

Now that you understand what social listening is, and its advantages, what makes one social listening platform superior to another? The lifeblood of any social listening platform starts with the data sources, and the higher volume of data, the more statistically accurate it will be. The sources should also cover many languages and countries. Automated Sentiment Analysis (ASA) technology is also crucial because it will tell you how your consumers feel with little to no manual intervention. The vast amounts of data are displayed in easy-to-read widgets and charts.

See why Synthesio offers the best social listening tools on the market.

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