The internet brings us so many things. The possibility to reach huge numbers of people, for instance, or the possibility to observe what all these people do- and say online.
This last possibility is called ‘social listening.’ Through smart artificial intelligence-driven tools, brands can now follow precisely what their (potential) clients say about them. And this is incredibly useful.
In this blog, we will take a closer look at social listening. We will tell you exactly what it is, how it can help your brand, and which tools work well not to miss any detail.
Social media listening is simply tracking the way certain words are mentioned online. Think of, for instance, your brand name, your competitors, your new product, or relevant keywords.
With an excellent social media listening tool, you will see a list of every time one of your keywords was used on social media. In posts, in comments, and even (depending on the tool, of course) on other websites like blog comments or fora.
This information can then be analyzed and used to improve your products, services, and online communication.
An interesting segment of social media listening is ‘sentiment analysis.’ With this form of analysis, you can measure the overall ‘opinion’ from the online public on a certain keyword, brand, or topic. Do people feel excited about a new product? Do they mention the product name in combination with positive or negative wording?
Recognizing sentiment is a real skill, that sometimes goes beyond what a machine can interpret. Therefore, most analyses are correct, but some sentences are currently still too hard to be understood by a tool. Think of, for instance, the sentence “My bus is late. Great!”. We will quickly understand the meaning and 'tone' of this sentence, but for a tool, this is a hard one.
Artificial intelligence tooling is developing quickly, though, and through machine learning, online analyses in the field of social media listening and sentiment analysis are becoming more and more accurate.
Before we tell you how social media listening can help your brand grow, we will first quickly list three of our favorite social listening.
Awario may be the most well-known and most accessible social listening tools around. The tool does everything you need. It tracks your brand name, product name, or keyword 24/7, offers sentiment analyses, recognizes multiple languages, and helps you find the most critical conversations.
What we love about Awario is the fact that it is complete but affordable. For $29/month you have access to Awario’s Starter Package, which offers enough features for most smaller companies.
For the specific features Awario has to offer, you can take a look at their website here.
Do you need more, and can you afford a more costly contract? Then Brandwatch could be the right solution for you. The list of features offered by this tool seems endless. It offers all the features that Awario offers, topped up with extra features like historical data, location data, influence statistics, charting, a very high flexibility in setup, and a lot more. Brandwatch is available for an unlimited number of users, for a price from £500/month.
To set up your Brandwatch account and customize it to your business, you need to contact Brandwatch to request a quote. Want to know what can be included in your contact? You can find Brandwatch’s list of features here.
Is paying for social media listening still a bit much for you? Then Mention could be the way to go. The great thing about Mention is the fact that the tool is very customizable. The free version offers fundamental social listening features, like alerts when someone mentions your business on social media.
Do you want more? Like more comprehensive analyses? Or sentiment analysis? Then you will have to go for the $25/month, or even the $83/month plan.
If this is the case, we would suggest Awario as the better option, because it offers more features for a similar price. You can find Mention’s features and pricing here.
So why go for one of these tools? Why use social (media) listening? Here are four great reasons:
Getting an alert when someone talks about you is just incredibly useful. It allows you to immediately jump into conversations you would otherwise most certainly miss.
This could help you do some ‘customer support’ on the spot, and makes your community feel heard. People love it when a brand reads what they have to say and takes this seriously. They love talking to a brand and grow trust in this band significantly when they notice a personal approach and quick responses.
How does this grow your business? That’s simple. The more connected you are with your customers, the more they will buy and recommend your business to others.
With your social listening tool’s analytics feature, you can structure the data you collect and analyze where you can improve your work.
Through social listening, for instance, you can learn how people react to your new product. Is the general sentiment in conversations about the product positive? Are there certain topics that come out as more negative?
By tracking these outcomes, you can improve in a way that will make your fans appreciate your brand even more.
Besides building a community, social media listening can help you to handle your customer service on social media. More people turn to social media nowadays to share their opinion or talk to a brand directly. As a brand, the number of comments, questions, or direct messages on social media can be overwhelming. When you manually keep track of all of this communication, it is easy to miss something. And this can be harmful. A missed comment on social media can quickly turn into a complaint, and even in a negative discussion that involves more and more people.
On top of this, every nice and friendly comment you share will help your brand grow a good name and may prevent someone from complaining in other ways.
By having a clear list of every time your brand gets mentioned, you won't have to miss any comment. You can immediately jump into the conversation and help out before this conversation goes in the wrong direction.
How happy would you be to immediately be contacted by a brand when sharing online that you are not happy with their services? A quick and friendly reply can be the best way of 'damage control.'
The last and maybe most important advantage of social media listening is the fact that it helps you find leads.
By tracking certain keywords, you can find out who might be interested in your brand. With a simple comment, you can get in touch with these people, and a lead is created.
Think of, for instance, a question like ‘where can I buy [product]?’ or a mention of your competitor’s name. The chances are good that, between a long list of results, you will find questions like ‘where can I buy [your product]’ or ‘what should I buy? [competitors brand] or [your brand]?
These are golden opportunities that can help you grow your brand immensely.
We think social media listening is incredibly important for brands to fully use their online potential. Are you looking for help making sure you don’t miss any important mentions? We would love to help you set up your social media listening.
Feel free to contact us for a FREE strategy call so we can discuss the possibilities for your business. Are you interested in learning more about social media, then our Social Media Gids Community may be a great place for you. Here you can find many helpful resources and join the conversation with other students and experts. Our FREE e-books and our Social Marketing class, for instance, are great resources for everyone looking to learn more about the endless possibilities of social media.