You may not even be aware of some of the most important conversations taking place about your small business. If that concerns you, as it probably should, then it is worth your time to take a look at social media listening, a technique for monitoring and tapping into social media mentions of your company or its products and services. With the use of social listening, you can take advantage of a whole realm of opportunities to enhance and protect your brand identity, and to engage with customers to build network connections and stronger customer relationships.
What Is Social Listening?
Social listening is a valuable tool to incorporate into your overall social media marketing strategy, as it can enable you to increase your online reach and engagement, raise your company’s online profile, and enhance your brand image.
Social listening is simply monitoring online mentions of keywords related to your business. At this very moment, someone you’re not even aware of as a customer may be giving a rave review of one of your products on his or her Facebook page. Social listening tools enable you to tap into online conversations about your business that are taking place outside of your company website or Twitter feed, and use them to facilitate building customer relationships and making new sales.
Popular Social Listening Tools
There are a number of social listening tools to consider. Among them are some of the most widely used social media management platforms that can assist you in implementing all of your social media marketing.
Hootsuite, used by individuals and businesses in more than 175 countries worldwide, is one of the most popular social media management programs. It offers the ability to centrally manage all your social media publishing across a very wide range, approximately 80-plus applications, of social media platforms. In addition, Hootsuite provides social media analytical data to measure your levels of online reach and engagement. For social media listening, Hootsuite monitors more than 100 million sources for mentions of your specified keywords, and in addition to more detailed reports, it offers a handy visual tool that rates the overall sentiment of comments about your brand, and shows you what percentage of comments are positive, negative, or neutral.
Sprout Social is another social media management program that offers services similar to those provided by HootSuite. You can view all your social media account activities on your Sprout Social dashboard, access complete past online conversations with customers, and share customer contact records with other members of your team. Sprout Social enables you to monitor keywords and relevant Twitter hashtags, access Google Analytics data, and run comparisons of your company’s online presence with that of your competitors.
For more in-depth social listening designed to encompass industry and socioeconomic trends, customer feedback, consumer sentiments on a wide range of issues, and various analytical tools for evaluating your products and customer base, consider using a service such as Brandwatch. Brandwatch is more expensive than tools such as Hootsuite but offers substantially more in-depth analysis and services, and as the name implies, strong monitoring and evaluation of your brand image.