The importance of social listening for understanding your audience and improving your marketing efforts.

Digital marketing is important. As technology continues to evolve each year, we find ourselves more and more plugged into digital experiences. Successful marketing strategies often must incorporate digital channels as well as offline channels in order to best connect with customers, clients, and partners.

In order to best optimise digital campaigns, many organisations rely on vast amounts of data that help them inform decisions regarding new directions to take the campaign. One type of data is often overlooked; what people are feeling, based on what they’re saying. Whether in a B2G sales strategy, a B2C strategy, or a B2B strategy, it’s important to understand what drives your audience.

Social listening is the name of the game. This oft-overlooked and highly important practice can help marketers better understand what makes their audience members tick, inform marketing decisions, and–importantly–make their audience feel heard.

What is social listening?

So social listening is an important skill for marketing teams. Great! Now, what is it? Generally speaking, social listening is thought of as the monitoring of social media to better understand what types of conversations are happening around your brand, and make relevant changes as needed to your strategy.

Isn’t that ‘social monitoring’?

Yes! Social monitoring is the practice of monitoring social media and seeing what people are saying about your brand, and it can also involve replying to comments, reaching out to users, and more. But, it can differ from social listening in a few important ways.

What makes social listening different?

The most important difference between social monitoring and social listening is that through social listening you might take a much broader approach that aims to understand not just what users are saying, but why they’re saying it–and across many users. Not only that, but social listening is very active–it’s a strategic practice which involves not only gaining a better understanding of how users feel, but also making changes to strategy informed by that understanding.

While social monitoring might involve checking on comments on social media and replying to some of them, social listening often involves taking into account not only comments on your brand’s posts and about your brand, but also conversations that pertain to your brand less directly–for example, conversations about your entire industry.

Social listening aims to help you get your finger on the pulse of your audience. But how is it done, and how exactly does it differ from simple social monitoring in practice?

How does it work?

There are a number of ways to engage in social listening–and if you’re trying to develop the best b2g marketing strategy, you’re probably wondering what they are.

The manual way might involve scouring through all your brand’s social media accounts, finding relevant conversations that seem to appear again and again, tracking the appearance of certain keywords, searching for conversations related to your industry, putting all the data you’ve gathered in one place and analysing it for actionable insights.

Fortunately, that isn’t the only way–though it isn’t a bad place to start. The truth is that, without tools helping you, this can quickly become an arduous and lengthy process.

Instead, many organisations opt to enlist the help of services that provide advice and third-party tools that can enable organisations to quickly and efficiently gain insights about conversations happening online around their brand. There are a number of ways tools may be able to do this. Some of the features and methods through which organisations may be able to engage in social listening include:

  • Keyword monitoring: Social listening tools can monitor social media for relevant keywords and help organisations understand where and when they tend to come up. What’s more, some tools may also be able to help organisations identify new keywords to monitor.
  • Sentiment Analysis: In the context of social listening, sentiment analysis is the process of analysing online chatter related to your brand or industry and determining the sentiment behind it. In other words, how people are feeling about it. Social listening tools might use AI to aggregate common sentiments and help organisations better understand how users are feeling about certain topics.
  • Topic Detection: Organisations can use AI and machine learning to process vast amounts of data and learn about topics that have become important on social media. Topic detection can help organisations better understand the types of topics that their audience is interested in.

The Importance of Social Listening

We’ve explored the practice of social listening a lot, but one thing we haven’t discussed at length yet is its importance–and it really is important. Here are some of the primary reasons why social listening is so important:

  • Your audience is sharing their thoughts–you really might as well hear them out: Online engagement isn’t a one-way street. While traditional marketing such as television adverts and signage might have been, social media allows us to have a discussion with our audience. They’re perfectly willing to share their thoughts, and that represents an opportunity to organisations that want to understand their audience better.
  • This can be an amazing opportunity to understand your reputation and maintain it: One particularly important insight you may be able to glean from social listening is what your brand’s reputation looks like. Social listening can help you monitor your reputation, and, if needed, can help you with early engagement–meaning finding problems ahead of time and addressing them promptly.
  • Keep your eye on emerging opportunities: Social listening can help you stay alert for not only potential problems that might arise around your brand’s reputation, but also help you identify opportunities. For example, you may notice that your audience is particularly interested in not only products that you currently sell but also products that you’re equipped to but currently do not sell.
  • Offer the best customer experience possible: Social listening isn’t just about monitoring your brand’s reputation. It can also help you understand your customer or client experiences better. By better understanding how your audience feels, you may be able to offer them a better experience with your brand.

The Bottom Line

Social listening is important. Whether you’re a business to government oriented organisation looking to implement the best B2G marketing strategy, or you’re a consumer-facing organisation looking to underscore your brand as a reputable authority and trustworthy supplier of goods, it can be important to hear what your audience is saying–and derive insights about how the feel. This can help you better inform your strategy moving forward as well as better understand what your target audience is feeling about your brand, your industry and your offerings. And, for more help with your digital marketing efforts, be sure to reach out and schedule a meeting. At Cadence Marketing, we have the expertise and the tools to help you create effective online campaigns.

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