Social listening is the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about your brand online and if you’re a social media manager or PR agency then you may be in the 24% of brands already be doing this for your clients…. Or you may be in the 76% who are not! The question is how much social listening should you be doing and how can you manage it among the million other tasks you have to complete?
Why Is Social Listening Important?
- Peer To Peer = Power – As a marketer you need to remember that the word of your customers is more significant than the advertising you are doing. This is because 90% of internet users trust peer recommendations and only 14% trust advertisements. You need to know what people are saying about your brand.
- Analyze Campaigns– If you are issuing press releases or campaigns then you need to monitor the public reaction. Do people like your campaign? Do they have questions? What is their feedback?
- Monitor Influencers– We have talked a lot about influencer marketing this year and that’s because it’s super important. Social listening helps you to keep track of what your industry influencers are saying and gives you opportunities to jump in and join key conversations.
- Know What’s Trending- If like me, you are tasked with directing a content strategy then understanding what’s trending is key to producing shareable content. If you don’t listen then you don’t have your finger on the pulse.
- Watch Your Competitors– You need to be aware of your top 5 competitors and their online activities. This doesn’t mean you have to stalk them however you can garner useful tit bits. For example, BuzzSumo allows you to discover your competitor’s most popular content… useful right?
- Become More Data Driven- 2017 is going to be an interesting year for social marketers as decisions on spend and strategy now need to be backed up with cold hard facts. In fact 76% of marketers say they need to be more data-focused to succeed, and 74% agree that “capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality.”
Make It a Habit
Have you noticed that it’s easier to keep your house tidy if you do a little cleaning each day rather than leaving it all until Sunday night? It’s also a lot less stressful right? OK, so social listening is the same. The key here is to do a little each day — even 20 minutes so that at the end of each month you have hours and hours of listening knowledge to show your clients.
Use Smart Tools to Help You Listen Better
I once worked with a CEO who actually said “Can’t you just sit and check Google for media mentions?”
If only. Google search often doesn’t drill down into the social media and forum elements of the listening process. You can set up some Google Alerts but that’s not the end of your listening. Let’s take a look at 5 smart tools to help you to manage your social listening and fast!
Best for monitoring Twitter influencers
One of the best tools to monitor influencer interaction on Twitter is TweetDeck. Here you can create lists for people you want to pay special attention to.
Check out my “Love their social style” list below which features Agorapulse’s own Emeric!
By creating a list you are able to constantly monitor what your top influencers are saying, the content they are sharing and see what’s trending in your world. By creating a column in TweetDeck for influencers or brand mentions you are continuously aware of what is happening.
Time Taken Per Day: 15 minutes
Best for understanding the impact of your tweets
If you are keen to know the impact of your tweets then why not also check out TweetReach which measures the actual impact and implications of your social media discussions. Tweetreach helps me to identify who my top contributors are, which tweets were most successful and who’s talking about them. You can also run reports on hashtags you may have used for a campaign to see who’s talking about them and what they are saying! Remember that every interaction you have on behalf of your brand will be counted and will show your clients that you are really working for them.
Cost: FREE Basic account to start
Time Taken per day: 5 minutes
Best for monitoring blogs
Meltwater’s Icerocket specializes in blog searches, blog comments, and social media activity. Incredibly, the search tool is available in 20 languages and this is something you need to remember if you are a large brand… people are not just talking in English!
Use Icerocket for ten minutes each day to search your brand, competitor brands and the keywords for your industry – eg “content marketing” “social media tools.” With Icerocket you can even check the virality of your blog content by hitting Results Trend. Remember to read the top trending content and understand why it’s so hot.
Cost: FREE with no registration needed
Time Taken Per Day: 10 minutes
Best for catching trending chatter about your client
Track your client’s online reputation across social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, in addition to news sites, blogs, and millions more with this neat little tool! Mention offers precise listening tools so you can closely track the activity of your customers, competitors, social accounts and hashtags in all languages.
Mention is ideal for anyone managing PR as it offers team collaboration and Pulse alerts which tell you when your brand name catches fire. This may be a good or a bad thing but you want to be the first to know right? The professional and easily customisable reports offered by Mention are the icing on the cake for this must-have tool.
Cost: Starting from $29 per month
Time Taken Per Day: 10 minutes
Best for monitoring and reporting on social media channels
One of the biggest nuisances as a social media manager or PR agency can be finding ways to easily report on the social listening you’ve been doing. However, like it or not, clients now expect cold hard data to back up what you’re saying.
I can also monitor competitor activity and awareness but most importantly I can pull a report on it! I can show my clients that on Facebook I had 30 conversations, 29 page posts, received 7 messages and responded on average, in 1 hour 3 minutes as shown below. This is pure gold for anyone needing to produce clear and tangible reports for clients. Send your clients a monitoring report along with your invoice at the end of each month to fill them with confidence in your efforts.
Cost: $49 with upgrades available
Time Taken Per Day: 10 minutes
What to Search For
- Your brand name including alternative spellings, eg Agorapulse, Agorapulsed, Agoraplus
- The name of your products or services
- Your name or the name of your CEO or owner (this can throw up some interesting stuff believe me!)
- Your slogans, key messages, or mottos
- Keywords or hashtags that are relevant to your industry
- Your competitors’ names
So how much social media listening should you do for your clients? As you can see above I spend around 50 minutes per day using listening tools for my account. Of course the amount of time you spend will depend on the size of your brand, the number of accounts you have and the strength of your online presence.
Once thing is for sure, your clients will be expecting social listening so turn off your social media megaphone, put your ear to the ground and see what you can hear.