Social Listening: Beyond Brand Monitoring

David Berkowitz David Berkowitz, Former Contributor

By now, most agencies appreciate that they need to have access to social media monitoring software. Marketers expect agencies to be their stewards, especially for any agency that handles social media marketing. The use cases for social search and social listening are more diverse than that though.

Win pitches: Business development teams should be some of the most fervent and most frequent users of social search. To start, it helps to understand what has driven the most conversations about a prospective client over the past year, and see how a brand compares to its direct competitors. Beyond that, business development teams can work with strategists, planners, and others to better understand the category and market where the prospect operates. For a home improvement retailer, then it would be helpful to see the kind of language people use when buying a new home. For an auto manufacturer, one can research how much consumers care about certain attributes such as safety versus technology features. Pitches are often won by empathy – how much does the client feel you truly understand and care about their business? Social search is one reliable way to achieve that.

Search what’s beyond marketing: Use social search and listening to derive insights about approaches for marketers that extend beyond marketing. Unearth ideas about merchandising, such as which products to keep in stock when. Discover inspiration for how to design stores or showrooms. Get a direct line into the product development teams to funnel specific product feedback, and also alert customer service departments of issues. You may have thoughts on what marketers could do beyond the scope of a given campaign, so ground those ideas in data.

Protect your clients: Beyond the standard scope of monitoring what people say about a marketer, agencies can use social listening to set up alerts for posts threatening your clients. This protective alerts can be used to deepen relationships and improve retention, and it can potentially lead to new work for projects that would be out of the current scope. Agencies can set up keywords to provide details about potential product recalls or negative product experiences spreading socially, leaks of confidential corporate information, and security threats directed against members of a client’s executive team (such threats could be monitored within a geofence around where such executives work or live).

Market yourselves: Marketing firms typically underinvest in marketing themselves. Social listening can augment the work of the marketing team, allowing agencies to identify conversations to participate in, find influential people to interact with, source new business opportunities, track conversational themes with the agency’s competitors, and rapidly respond to press requests.