You may have heard the phrase social media listening, and wondered:
What is social media listening?
The answer is fairly intuitive; social media listening is the process of discovering what is being said about a business, individual, product or brand on the Internet. This is particularly important when you want to engage and respond to those comments. But the phrase actually tells you what you need to know — it’s really more about listening. Understanding what people are saying about your company or your product is the key to unlocking more useful information you might imagine. Everything from your business’s marketing to customer service to product development stands to benefit from what’s being said by customers. Social media can be a gateway to valuable feedback and customer insights if you only know how to listen.
What should you monitor?
Some of the things you might want to monitor are fairly obvious: your brand name, product names, variations (and any common misspelling of any of these). Other things are a little less obvious but equally important: names of any campaigns you’re running, catch phrases or taglines, or the names of some of the more prominent or active members of your company. While these phrases are directly linked to your company, brand and/or products, you might also want to monitor phrases pertaining to your industry as well as any industry terms frequently used as hashtags.
Once you start monitoring you’ll begin to receive a lot of data. The tricky part is making sense of the data in the way that can be useful to you. Consider all the information as a form of feedback on your company, brand or products – you will likely be able to determine whether people view you in a positive or negative light, generally. You might also want to read between the lines a bit, be able to determine where you can improve your services or the products themselves. Understanding how the public views you can be invaluable because it can help you to correct mistakes and move in the right direction toward giving the people what they want.
Social Media Listening Tools
So how do you know if you’re listening effectively? One thing you don’t need to do is try to sift through tons of unfiltered data for any form of a mention; clearly that would be time consuming and inefficient; it would likely be un-enlightening as well. There are various tools you can use to monitor social media; some are free, others require a subscription. Google Alerts is a basic tool that monitors when a website mentions you but, it doesn’t cover social media channels. Social Mention is an example of a more robust free tool; it scans Facebook, Twitter, and other important social media platforms for mentions of your phrases and provides some analytics that are supposed to help you determine whether the chatter is favorable or negative. Other free tools include Icerocket, Mention, Topsy, and Hootsuite. While determining which tool is right for you is important, equally important is determining exactly what it is you want to listen to.