Insights are at the nucleus of a successful marketing strategy; understanding your market, your audience, the sentiment behind your brand, is all essential to optimising your marketing and growth strategies. And the only way to get these insights is through social listening, monitoring your niche and brand, as well as your customers.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you why social listening is so important to your business.

Why social listening is that important to your business

What is social listening?

So, what exactly is social listening? It’s similar to monitoring – but it’s actually quite a bit more than that.

While many use social monitoring to stay on top of brand mentions and relevant conversations, in many cases so they can engage with their audience as necessary, social listening is more complex; it’s a way to track specific topics, keywords, brands, niches, audiences across social platforms so that you can gather data.

Basically, social listening is all about seeing the big picture so that you can identify trends. It allows you to better understand your niche and your target audience, see what types of content works best for your audience, and build better performing marketing campaigns, among others.

Why is social listening so important for SMBs?

Why social listening is that important to your business

As I mentioned earlier, one of the most important aspects of a successful strategy is knowledge. And that is what social listening offers: a tool to help you gather knowledge about your niche and audience.

You can use social listening to:

Create better content

Do you truly know what your audience likes? What information do they need? The best way you can truly understand what content resonates with your audience is through a combination of social listening and experimenting – creating different types of content to see which perform best.

Social listening helps you find out exactly what topics and hashtags your audience uses most; meaning that you’ll then know exactly what you need to talk about and which hashtags to use in order to reach as many people as possible, while also offering them the type of content they want to see or read.

Track your brand

One of the biggest benefits of social listening as a brand is that it allows you to track your brand across social channels and make sure you catch all mentions of your brand name and associated parties.

And this is essential because you need to respond to mentions as soon as possible; for example, you need to acknowledge positive mentions and comments, as well as respond promptly to any negative mentions and especially to customer service questions or comments.

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Identify brand advocates and relevant social influencers

Finding the right social influencers from your niche is not always easy; in most industries, there are a plethora social influencers with audiences of all kinds of sizes. The best way to identify the most influential people in your niche is to monitor the conversations happening surrounding relevant niche topics, as well as the most shared content.

This helps you understand who are the most influential people, based not just on their number of followers, but also based on the engagement they get online.

Another important use is to identify your brand advocates – the people who are talking about your brand, who are using your products and talking about them online in a positive way, and who are consistently sharing your content. It’s important to identify these brand advocates so you can reward them for their loyalty and, in some cases, so you can collaborate with them.

Learn about your audience

How much do you really know about your audience? Social listening can help you learn important information about your target audience, such as:

  • Discover where they are most active online and which social networks they predominantly use
  • Understand what they think about certain topics and keywords (and what the overall sentiment is)
  • Understand what needs, interests, and questions they have based on the content they’re reading and sharing, the questions they’re asking, and their sentiment towards different topics/keywords

Build better social media marketing campaigns

Learning all of this information about your audience – the topics they talk about, the hashtags they use, the content they read, and so on – helps you build better digital marketing campaigns.

That’s because top-performing marketing campaigns often focus on topics that are of huge relevance to their target audience. Social listening helps you uncover these topics by analysing all of the social conversations happening around a particular keyword or set of keywords.

Identify social selling opportunities

If you’re using social media for social selling, social listening is a must.

If you’re not familiar with the term, social selling is finding and connecting with leads and potential prospects in order to build relationships and, ultimately, sell to them. In other words, social selling is all about finding leads and increasing your sales.

So, where exactly does social listening come in?

Simply put, listening is how you find these leads: by listening to conversations happening online about your competitors, your niche keywords, your products and services, and so on. This is how you find potential prospects which you can the connect with and start building a relationship to move them along the funnel.

But, enough about why social listening is so important; now, let’s get into how exactly you can start listening like a pro.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might have seen me talking about Brand24, a social listening and web monitoring tool. And since they’ve recently introduced a couple of very useful features, one in particular which I’m very excited about – tracking your mentions locations– I really want to tell you all about it. Because whenever I needed a social listening tool with geolocation, I found myself endlessly searching and never finding one that either had this feature or was accurate enough – which is why I find myself so excited about this new feature.

And the other feature is just as exciting: the Live Customer Testimonials widget that allows you to demonstrate social proof and built up your credibility in a unique and highly engaging way.

But if you’re not familiar with Brand24, here’s a bit on what it can do for your SMB:

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What is Brand24?

In short, Brand24, is a pro social listening tool. You can use it to look up any keyword you want in order to track different topics, conversations, keywords, people, and/or your brand in order to gather insights into your mentions and data.

To start using the tool, you can create different listening “projects” based on the keywords you want to track:

Why social listening is that important to your business

As you can see, you can add multiple keywords to monitor, as well as select required keywords (every mention must include these keywords) and excluded keywords (no mention should include these keywords). You can also select which language you prefer and even what sources:

Why social listening is that important to your business

As you can see above, you can listen beyond social media and find out what people are saying on blogs, forum, in videos, as well as other web publications. And, if there are any websites or social media accounts that you want to exclude from your search, you can easily do so.

Before you finish setting up your keyword search, you can select if you want to be notified of new mentions, as well as how and when:

Why social listening is that important to your business

You can set up the notifications frequency (or you can get notifications in real time, which is very useful for customer service) or only get notifications once you get certain results; plus, you can add as many different notifications you want for each project and select whether to get them via email or directly on your mobile.

And last but not least, you can also select at this stage what kind of reports you want to get and when, as well as add multiple recipients:

Why social listening is that important to your business

And once that’s done and your project is ready…this is when you get to the great stuff:

Why social listening is that important to your business

This is what your project dashboard looks like: an overview of the mentions, reach, and engagement, as well as a list of all the mentions pulled which you can filter through in a few different ways.

As you can see above, you can see exactly how many mentions were found on each channel; and if you scroll down, you’ll see even more filters, such as sentiment, influencer score, number of total interactions (shares, likes, comments), author or domain, and quite a few other options:

Why social listening is that important to your business

And if you do find a mention you want to act on, you can easily engage, see a history of engagement for that user, and save and remove mentions.

But it’s the analytics where you get to the really great stuff; this is where you can see what exactly this information means, especially if we’re talking about a larger project that has a lot of mentions.

First, you’ll be able to see the top-performing mentions, as well as a detailed snapshot view of your monitored mentions:

Why social listening is that important to your business

Based on your search and keywords, Brand24 will also pull up a list of the most influential and the most active social media users. It will also tell you which websites were most active in terms of the number of mentions (useful for understanding where your audience is most active), what the most influential websites are (in terms of their visits), and the most active locations, including their number of mentions and their total reach.

One of the things I love about these reports is that they also give you a word cloud with the most popular words used together with your monitored keywords:

Why social listening is that important to your business

This is very helpful in a number of different ways. For example, if you’re tracking your brand mentions online, you can see at a glance what people are talking about when they mention your brand. Another way to use this is to understand what your audience are talking about online, beyond the topics and keywords that you searched for initially: which topics interest them, who they’re talking about, and so on.

And finally, it can also help you find lead and sales opportunities; for example, if you look at the word cloud above, “help” is one of the words that was used a lot. What I can do is click on “help” to see all the mentions including this keyword (as well as the keywords I set initially) and see what opportunities I can find from people looking for help or who have questions that I can answer.

Brand24 is a pro tool with a plethora of useful features; but there’s one new feature that I’m so excited about: locations.

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Social listening, now with location tracking

Brand24’s latest feature allows you to track all of your mentions based on their country – including Twitter and Instagram. This is extremely great news because this is an incredibly useful feature; it can help you:

  • Discover sales opportunities (that are in the country that you’re operating in)
  • Perform market research and understand audiences based on their locations
  • Analyse your competitors (and understand how they’re performing in different parts of the world)

For every project you have, you’ll be able to see what the most active locations are:

Why social listening is that important to your business

But the best part is that you can filter your mentions based on location; in your Mentions dashboard, go to Filters and choose the country you want, so you can only see mentions from that particular country:

Why social listening is that important to your business

How to improve your social proof

As excited as I am about the new locations feature, there’s one other recent feature that I’m very excited about: the Brand24 social proof widget.

Testimonials and social proof are extremely important for businesses; it’s a way to prove to your leads and potential customers that you’re the best option for them: by showing them what others are saying about your brand and about your products and services.

Testimonials help you establish your credibility as a brand (customers always put more weight on other people’s opinions of your brand and products/services, much more so than whatever you might say about your brand) and because of that, they also help boost your sales.

One of the ways to demonstrate this social proof is through regular testimonials on your website; if you want to stand out and make your testimonials more engaging, though, you can try the Live Customer Testimonial widget from Brand24:

Why social listening is that important to your business

What’s so great about these testimonials is that they appear much more authentic; they are real social media updates from real people and real clients, and they are updated automatically on your feed. And what’s more, your visitors can actually click on these testimonials and mentions and start engaging with that user via social media.

So basically, you’re taking a tool that helps build up trust and credibility and you’re effectively giving it even more credibility and power by being more transparent with your social mentions directly on your website. Especially because people can actually click on a message to see the original one and to engage with that person.

For example, if someone mentions trying out one of your products, your visitors can actually reach out to that client and ask them what they thought of the product or ask them other specific questions that will help them decide if your brand is the right decision for them.

And while sure, they could ask you too, it makes more sense to trust an impartial party more than the person selling you something.

If you have a Brand24 account, you can easily add the Live Customer Testimonials widget in minutes; with a front-end developer, you can customize the widget’s height and width and what’s more, you can also customize the colours to make sure it fits your branding and your website’s design: change the font, background, and mention colour to your liking.

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Conclusion

Social listening has a lot of benefits for SMBs; but, it’s better to look at it as a necessity, rather than an extra growth tool. Because at the end of the day, social listening is essential to truly understanding your audience and creating better digital marketing campaigns based on this knowledge, whether it’s choosing the right topics to talk about or the right social influencers to work with.

Do you use social listening? And if so, how do you use it to your advantage? Let me know in the comments section and please share if you enjoyed the post 🙂

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