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Listen up! The Value of Social Listening

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Listen up! The value of social listening is something we talk about constantly at B Squared Media. And with good reason, because it’s what will set your business up to succeed.

Social listening is one of the key pieces of the social intelligence puzzle. So read on to learn more about the value of social listening.

What’s All This Talk About Listening?

Social listening can be described as the process of monitoring social media channels beyond your owned channels. We are listening for mentions of your brand, competitors, products, industry trends, and more.

If you’ve been working in social, you already recognize customers that are talking directly to you via your platforms. But what about everyone else? They mention it all.

Like the people who don’t remember the brand name from a “cool” commercial that they saw on TV last night. Or the potential customers who saw a video on TikTok during rush week that you want to engage with online.

The internet is vast – people are talking about you. You just need to learn how to listen.

If you think about it – social listening tools take everything from the internet (Twitter, and blogs, and Reddit – oh my!) and filter it into one inbox. The very first step is to narrow down what you are listening for.

Journalism 101

Let’s start by going back to Journalism 101. And by that, I mean, let’s bust out the basics – the 5W’s:

  1. Who are you listening to? Do you want to listen to competitors? Customer feedback? Potential new customers?
  2. What are you listening for? That depends on your first answer. Are you listening for complaints, product innovation, things people don’t like about your competitor set? 
  3. When should you be listening? All the time. Well, kind of. “Listeners” (the list of keywords, tags, and users you are listening to) are non-stop listening in your tool,  always collecting the data. (Tasty, tasty data) How often you dive into the reporting will depend (again) on the previous answers. 
  4. Where do you go for listening? Everywhere. Using a listening tool (we use Sprout Social) helps to funnel all that conversation into one space instead of hunting and pecking over the entire internet for conversation around a particular topic. 
  5. Why are you listening? You know what I’m going to say here, right? Each type of listening report has a different set of “whys”. It could be anything from finding a new location for a brick-and-mortar store, searching for feedback about a new product, doing recon on a product you may want to launch in the future. The reasons you want to listen can be endless. 

Listen to Your Customers

Your customers are telling you what they want. Which means you need to be listening.

The first thing that happens when setting up a listener is that we talk to the brand. We want to know about all the brand handles, special hashtags, the names of any products they want more information on, and even common misspellings of those things. 

As an example of this, for B Squared Media, we have multiple variations of how we have seen people refer to the brand in writing. 

bsquaredmedia sproutsocial social media listening

Listening, along with tagging, helps take a community manager’s  “gut feelings” and back them up with data. Thus allowing it to become an actionable insight.

For instance, it’s not helpful to tell a client, “I notice a lot of people want X”. What is helpful is to report that “over the last 30 days, there has been a 65% increase in people asking for product A”. Or, “72% of the conversation around product B is that they don’t know how to ______”. 

Speaking of your customers, you think you know who they are, right? Sure you do! But do you know who is talking about you online? They may not be who you think. Listening helps you drill down on who is talking about you in terms of volume, reach/impressions, and even by age or location!

Are you looking to add a new brick-and-mortar location for your brand? Using listening under your brand health, you can see where people are talking about you the most. In the example below, if I were looking to build a new restaurant under my chain, I  would look to Vernon, CA, or Holden Heights, FL as my first choice.

Listen to Your Competitors

This is the super-spy portion of social listening. We want to start listening for more than just the names of the competition, but their products (especially if it is a 1:1 comparison like in the Chicken Sandwich Wars

When you dive into the conversation this way, you can focus in to find not only the biggest wins for those competitors but also, their weak points. 

Listen to Your Heart

Listen to your heart and create your routine for analyzing your reports (daily, weekly, monthly). It takes some time to begin to notice the slight changes in the data that the client will really want to see.  Sometimes, the strange turns out to be the most valuable.

Recently, we were going over a competitive deck and had to have an incredibly awkward moment. I dove into the part of the presentation where I had to talk about one competitor who had a series of affiliate links coming from XXX sights.  The subject matter was definitely not something you expect to have on a weekly call. The client was able to share that with the internal affiliate links team to help them avoid the same fate.

Listen up! The value of social listening will be beneficial to your customers, your marketing and product teams, and help lead you in the right direction for a successful future.

How has social listening helped your business? Let us know in the comments below!

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Carrie Keenan

Carrie Keenan

Carrie was a ‘cool’ geek before being a geek was cool. She's obsessed with travel, podcasts and pop culture, and a known abuser of puns, hashtags & emoji. You will likely see her with a cup of coffee in hand and will always be playing with any dog within reach. As a notorious klutz with a penchant for accidental misadventure, she's formed the mindset of “As long as it makes a good story, in the end, it’s all going to be ok.”
Carrie Keenan

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