The importance of social listening

While many brands are reviewing posts and engaging with people who directly mention their Twitter handle or post on their Facebook wall, they are only seeing a fraction of the conversation. Using social listening to uncover indirect mentions will help you see the bigger picture.

Social listening can be confusing. So let’s break it down.

Why is social listening important?

Setting up a social listening program can allow you to do many things, including:

  • Determining the overall health of your brand.
  • Finding fans, advocates and influencers.
  • Identifying sales opportunities.
  • Developing ideas for future products.
  • Keeping risk under control.
  • Finding quality issues faster.

Is it expensive?

Some brands believe that social listening is costly and choose to avoid it altogether. While there are plenty of paid tools on the market like Salesforce Radian6 or Sysomos, there are free options as well. Google Alerts, Socialmention and Icerocket are great, no-cost tools that can help you find the conversations you’re looking for.

Ok, so now… where do we begin?

Determine what exactly you’re looking for and which words or phrases might lead you to that conversation. If you’re interested in product quality or customer service, your brand name plus “sucks” or “broken” would be a good starting point.

What happens next?

Dig through the weeds. You may find some spam or mentions that aren’t relevant. Focus on the keywords bringing you results and filter out those that don’t.

Continue to refine and recommend. Don’t be afraid to look deeper into the data you’re seeing. If you find a lot of quality issues with a product, tell your product team so they can learn and adjust. Are your customers asking for a product or service that you don’t offer? That’s valuable information to share as well.

Finally, don’t be afraid! Social listening will only strengthen your social media presence. You may be surprised at what you find!

— Sally-Anne Kaminski is the digital marketing manager at Milwaukee-based 7Summits

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