Elevate Your Social Media Strategy: A Guide to Social Listening
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Elevate Your Social Media Strategy: A Guide to Social Listening

What do you always need more of? 

Insights. Insight into your market, the challenges your target audience is facing, and the ways your competitors stack up against you. 

All of this – and more – can be solved by a commitment to social listening. Social listening should be the foundation of your strategy, shaping your entire approach to create content your audience wants to see. 

Let’s dive in to learn how it can help you transform your content, bringing the customer’s voice to the forefront of your strategy.

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What is social listening?

Social listening refers to the practice of actively monitoring social channels for insights into your target market, your competitors, and your brand’s reputation. By monitoring keywords, competitor brand mentions and conversations online, you can gain a stronger understanding of what is being said about your brand, how you can solve your target audience’s pain points, identify new potential prospects, and engage them in conversation, even if they don’t directly contact you. 

Social listening has always been a key (yet overlooked) part of formulating a strong social media strategy. However, it grew particularly valuable in 2020, as the pandemic altered B2B  spending habits. Now, 61% of businesses now have a social listening system as part of their social media strategy. 

Is it the same as social monitoring?

No, although the two terms are sometimes confused.

Social media monitoring is great for keeping an eye out for those times when you need to be reactive, such as a negative shift in sentiment. It specifically refers to keeping tabs on direct mentions of and interactions with your brand so that you can go into crisis management mode as soon as possible.

Social listening is about keeping an eye out for situations you can (and should) insert yourself into. It’s a much wider net and, if you do it right, it’ll give you a 360° understanding not just of your brand’s performance on social media, but of your entire industry – any topics that relate to you, any news or trends, and any situations that could inform your strategy.

The key difference is that good social listening is proactive, while social monitoring is about being reactive. 

What is the purpose of social listening?

In short, to hone your social media marketing strategy to fit with trending topics relevant to your audience and industry.

So many valuable insights can be found beyond your audience’s direct interactions with your brand. Consider the wealth of insights to be found on competitors’ channels, under relevant hashtags, or between customers or leads who aren’t necessarily talking about you, but about your area of expertise.

This is why social listening is such an important part of utilizing social media. It’s market insights, customer intelligence, and competitive research all rolled into one – and, with the right social listening tools, it’s a lot easier than it sounds.

Any good social media marketing strategy will be built to evolve. Social media is a fast-moving and, at times, unpredictable environment, so fluidity and adaptability are key. Social listening helps you keep up with industry trends, understand your audience’s needs, and maximize your share of voice.

Social Listening in Practice

Social media holds a lot of potential for customer intelligence, but, without the right tools, it’s impossible to leverage these critical insights.

Refreshing pages and hashtags until something valuable pops up won’t bring you the insights you need quickly enough. In contrast, the right social listening platform will draw these insights for you and streamline it with daily social media management workflow.

Oktopost’s social listening tool makes tracking trends, social posts, and other relevant industry news simple, and displays that information alongside other valuable metrics and insights like share of voice and sentiment. The right social listening software can enable you to identify key influencers – great for embracing the strong potential of B2B influencer marketing – as well as other key individuals or brands to monitor.

Key Social Listening Benefits

Social listening for competitive research

Understanding your own brand’s share of voice, analyzing sentiment from followers, and gaining insights into your brand’s popularity are all vital, but it’s just as important that you’re taking in the broader picture.

How are your direct competitors performing with your target audience? From sentiment to share of voice, utilizing social listening beyond your accounts is the key to honing your strategies on different social networks, and ensuring everything you post is purpose-built for your audiences.

How do you decide what content to create? What to publish, and when? Creating strong content for social media can feel like a shot in the dark. Trends are largely unpredictable on social media, and once you notice a trend is gaining momentum, it might be too late to create and post content around it. However, social listening can help you spot rising trends easier, and at an earlier stage, so you don’t miss out.

Provided you can complement your social listening with a healthy stock of ready-made content, you can be equipped to jump on emerging trends, and consistently position yourself at the very front of relevant conversations.

Using social listening to create content to extend your social posting strategy is truly game-changing. From curating strong UGC (user-generated content) to identifying key areas for thought leadership, it’s the best place to gather ideas and resources.

Social listening for improving customer care

Social media is one of the best ways to reach your customers (or potential customers). Why? Because you’re meeting them right where they are, instead of waiting for them to come to your website. 75% of B2B buyers are actively looking for solutions on social networks, so it’s a great place for some extra interaction. Most importantly, social listening can give you an advantageous head-start to proactively solve any challenges by being able to address customer issues or needs quickly. 

By keeping an eye on relevant conversations about challenges or pain points, you can jump on opportunities to address customer needs, respond to issues, and create a better overall experience for your customers. An added benefit to this strategy is that your enhanced customer care can increase customer advocacy. A happy customer who receives prompt and responsive customer support will become your best cheerleader, recommending your business to others and speaking of your brand highly.

Social listening for market research

Long gone are the days when market researchers had to head out into the world with a clipboard and a list of questions. These days, social media represents the key field of research for market understanding and consumer insights.

Instead of posing direct questions to customers through surveys, you can find your answers on social media. Listening in on relevant discussions on pain points and other needs and requirements can yield some truly invaluable results, enabling you to perfect your product offering, customer support, and marketing campaigns to surpass customer needs and expectations.

Leverage Social Listening to Boost Your Social Strategy

Every day, your customers, followers, and target market fill social media with insights that could (and should) prove instrumental to your social media strategy. The only way to avoid wasting these valuable insights is by embracing social listening.

With social listening, you will be able to gain an edge over your competitors, create a compelling content strategy that speaks to your audience’s interests, improve your customer care, and discover valuable information about your market and target audience. Uncovering all of these insights will significantly enhance your social strategy and make your business more attractive to your target audience.

If you’re interested in learning about how Oktopost’s social listening tool can help you harness the power of social media, contact us today.  

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