Social Media Marketing isn't always just about publishing content.
Sometimes it's about monitoring what users post about your brand. This is what social listening is all about. But, you can't just watch for people to mention your company online; you need to be able to listen to what they are saying and extract insights from those conversations.
If you haven't been including social listening as part of your social media marketing strategy, here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Look beyond the notifications.
- Watch for trends.
- Identify opportunities.
- Respond…no matter what.
Lets elaborate on each of these, shall we?
Look Beyond The Notifications.
Sure, the "ding" of an @mention is great but there are much larger conversations taking place. Make sure to look for important brand-related keywords and hashtags as well. For example, if you are a restaurant that specializes in vegan cuisine, you'll want to look for #vegan as well as any location specific mentions for your area.
Watch For Trends.
It's become common for people to both praise and complain about brands through their favorite social media channels. In the moment of the post, you have the opportunity to respond in real time to fix an immediate problem. Beyond that, you can look for trends of a much larger issue. For example, if your patrons complain about the salad dressing being too thin, you can look to see if that's on a specific day of the week. If so, then it could be that the person responsible for making the dressing on that day needs some additional training.
Social listening also can present business owners with the prime opportunity to solve problems. Be familiar with pain points that your ideal customers face and then be prepared to offer them your solution. Using the restaurant example, if someone posts a complaint on twitter that they can't find a vegan restaurant that uses a particular ingredient that you use, then you can respond to that user to let them know you're able to meet their needs. In short, you have the chance to help them in real time as they are experiencing an issue which only helps to boost your business in their minds.
Respond - NO MATTER WHAT.
Sometimes people will complain about your brand online. Sometimes they will have nothing but positive things to share. You need to respond to them no matter what position they take. Even if their post is negative, you have the opportunity to make it right – the opportunity to shine and turn the negative around. Failure to respond only makes you look unresponsive which can reinforce a negative outlook on a brand.
Social listening is not an exact science but it is a skill that companies today need to be utilizing if they want to stand out from the competition. Your ability to respond in real time to customers and prospects can have dramatic impact to your bottom line especially when it comes to bringing in new customers.
Holly Kile - Marketing Assistant