Almost every business today understands the need for a strong presence on social media. However, to really succeed today you have to do more than simply promote your Facebook and other social media pages. In addition to producing strong content, you need to actively listen to the many conversations taking place across social media. Let’s look at the top reasons social listening is essential to grow your business and stay ahead of the competition.
Helps You Understand Your Audience
One of the most crucial requirements for any business is understanding your target audience. Social media, when used properly, can provide you with a wealth of information in this area. It’s always helpful to identify which social media platforms your customers are using. It’s probably not necessary for you to promote yourself on every site. By studying demographics data and following discussions you can determine where your audience is most active.
A simple way to track popular trends on social media is to follow hashtags. Hashtags give you a simple way to track popular trends relevant to your industry. In some cases, you can even leverage hashtags that aren’t directly connected to your business. For example, you may be able to use celebrity gossip, major sporting events, and news stories in some of your posts. Hashtag inform you about what people are talking about.
Helps You Generate New Leads
Monitoring conversations on social media can help you identify promising new leads and customers. Discover topics, keywords and questions that are relevant to your business. You can answer questions on forums and social media sites that can help you attract new customers.
For example, if you’re a real estate agent in Orlando, Florida, you might monitor social media for questions about the area you cover. An obvious example is “How much are homes selling for in the Orlando area?” However, you can also benefit from discussions about attractions and leisure activities in Orlando. Someone asking this question may only visiting the area for a vacation. Others who read it, however, may be thinking of buying a home there. Discussing benefits and attractions could even spark the idea in readers’ minds that Orlando might be a good place to relocate.
The same principle can be applied to any business. As you identify relevant conversations, you can find ways to shift them in a direction that highlights the benefits you offer. This can be a powerful strategy for generating leads.
Keeps You Informed About Your Competition
You always need to stay informed about what your competitors are doing. Social listening and social analytics tools can help you discover which platforms your competitors are using most. This can help you form your own social media strategy. For example, if one of your competitors is active on Pinterest and is getting good results, you may want to focus on this platform as well.
Spy on your competitors’ social analytics. You want to see what kind of content is getting the best results for your competitors. This can provide you with clues on what kind of content to share yourself. Are they getting the most engagement with text posts, images, videos, or memes? What’s the tone and style of their content? You can also observe your competitors’ paid advertising strategy. Are they advertising on social media sites or focusing mainly on organic content?
You should also monitor reviews for your competitors. Both positive and negative reviews provide you with important insights into your own business. Look for pain points that your competitors aren’t solving and find ways to provide solutions. Make sure you aren’t making the same mistakes that are causing your competitors’ customers to complain. Pay attention to positive reviews as well. If people are praising a competitor, you want to make sure you’re up to speed in this area as well.
Improves Your Customer Service
Customer service is one of the key components for differentiating yourself and attracting loyal customers. Listening to conversations on social media can help you improve your customer service in several ways. When customers have a question or problem with your product, they’ll sometimes post about it on Twitter or Facebook before contacting you directly. If you find these queries you can insert yourself into the conversation and provide help.
You can also use social media as part of your customer support, either formally or informally. That is, even if your official customer service options are restricted to phone, email and online chat, you should also monitor your Twitter, Facebook and other social media pages for customer queries. Younger consumers in particular prefer to interact with businesses via social media.
Informs Your Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the most powerful strategies for engaging with your audience and building your brand. Yet it’s always a challenge to consistently create the kind of content your audience wants. How can you find the most compelling topics? If you’re paying attention, the myriad conversations taking place on social media provide many clues.
What is your target audience talking about that relates to your business? If you’re in a fitness related field, find out about what diets and exercise programs are trendy. If you have a restaurant or other food-related business, track the latest culinary trends. If you sell clothing, jewelry, or accessory, keep up with fashion trends. In addition to keywords and topics, it’s helpful to monitor images and other visual content.
Helps You Connect with influencers
Influencers, who are experts and leaders in their fields, can lend credibility to your brand and help you build a wider audience. Social media monitoring and listening are useful for identifying such potentially valuable contacts. If you want to build relationships with influencers, a good way to start is by sharing their content. You can mention and link to them in your blog, social media posts, and other content. Then you can start discussing partnerships. The first step, however, is to listen to social media to identify the most appropriate influencers for your needs.
These are some of the most compelling reasons to use social listening for your business. It’s one of the most powerful and cost-effective ways to learn about your target audience, monitor the competition and better serve your customers’ needs.