Social Media Listening: Everything You Need to Know

social media monitoring

Harness the power of social media for your small business

What is social listening?

More and more small businesses are turning to social listening – but why?

Social media for business is, ahem, big business. These days, likes, tweets, shares and upvotes are common currency, and all good brands should take note. But how are you supposed to cut through the noise and hear what's important for your business? That's where social listening comes in.

So what is it? Let’s look at the basics.

Social listening allows your business to tap into online conversations about your brand and industry. It’s a great way to learn more about what your customers are saying. Tuning into social media can help your business identify what’s working well and what your customers are struggling with. And by mining social sites for opinions, you can engage with the public and influence the mindsets of your customers.

But is it right for you? What can social listening offer your business?

Group of people using their smartphones

Click by click: Around half of the world’s population use social media.

4 reasons to use social listening in your business

1. Build the identity of your brand

Your brand is your business’ identity. Social listening lets you know what customers really think about your brand. Find out how your digital marketing efforts might have affected how your customers feel about your business. Promote your brand values and use your customers’ insights to create better campaigns going forward.

2. Improve the services you offer

Successful businesses are ones that evolve. Listen to your audience through social platforms and you’ll be able to constantly refine, adapt and improve your services. This results in more than just a satisfying experience for the customer. It equates to better results for your business and adds fuel to your growth.

3. Get the edge over your competitors

Struggling to know what’s setting you apart from your business rivals? How they interact with their customers, and what they’re doing better? Understand what the public are saying about your competitors and analyse how you can go beyond them.

4. Don’t miss out on any mentions of your brand

Facebook sees around 317,000 status updates shared every minute, while on Twitter there’s an incredible 200 billion tweets shared yearly. With so many conversations taking place about your business, you can’t afford to miss out on what they’re saying.

Did You Know?

Multinational tech company CISCO reported a 281% ROI after implementing social listening.

How to use social listening: top tips for your small business

So how does social listening work? Let’s look at some of the key methods involved.

Attract the big influencers

Social listening involves identifying and engaging the key influencers in your industry. An influencer can be an individual with a large social media following, a blogger, or a well-connected businessman with a large network. The best influencers can reach an audience of millions. And their impact is clear. 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers trust influencers over traditional celebrities, and over 80% of marketing teams found it to be effective.

Target the right keywords

You’ll need to identify the most relevant keywords for your business. Whether you want to hone in on conversations about your brand, a competitor, or the industry in general, you’ll have to choose the right words. You can also target the names of platforms that offer your product, spelling variations of your business name, and related events.

Engage with your audience

Good social listening practice means responding to what your customers are saying about your business. Start up a conversation with users. Address criticism openly. Boost your public image among those that matter most by responding to complaints and comments. And do it quickly! There’s a proven link between a business’ response time and how much more money the customer would be willing to pay for their service in the future.

Did You Know?

Research has shown that ‘being responsive’ was the action on social media most likely to prompt customers to purchase (48%).

The 5 best social listening tools for your business

Social listening tools are important for maximising the speed and efficiency of your campaign. Target keywords crucial to your trade and tap into the buzz about your business. They’ll also keep you in the loop with regular alerts when one of your keywords or company gets mentioned.

To make the most of what your audience are saying and reap the rewards for your business, you’ll need to choose the right social listening tool for you. There’s a range of options on the market, each slightly different. We’ve summarised our top five picks here to give you a headstart.

  • Yell
  • Talkwalker
  • Crimson Hexagon
  • Hootsuite
  • Buzzsumo

Next steps

Conversations about your brand and industry are happening all the time, so it’s not surprising that social listening is a time-consuming process. And time is money! If there’s not enough hours in the day to monitor mentions of your brand online, thankfully a range of social media management solutions are on hand to help out. Find out which social listening tools are best for you and receive quotes to compare by filling out our short form at the top of the page.

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.