The Benefits of Real-Time Social Listening

The Benefits of Real-Time Social Listening

What you post on social media is only half the story – if that. True, every post has the potential to be worth its weight in interactions and conversions, but instead of ‘shouting into the void’ and hoping the void sends plenty of enthusiastic customers your way, treating social media like the dynamic market research tool it is, makes for a far better strategy. 

What do we mean by this? Listening. Tuning into your target audience(s) on social media, keeping your nose to the ground – your finger on the ever-beating pulse – so that you can gain actionable and potentially game-changing insights into the very people you’re most interested in. 

When should you be doing this? Round-the-clock, live, simultaneous to the action on your screen. Social media are fast-moving worlds; relevance rises and falls like the tide, and only those of us who can master real-time social listening can take full advantage of that. 

Here are the key benefits of real-time social listening – and why a social media listening platform is fundamental to realizing those benefits. 

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It’s the key to elevating customer care 

Almost 30% of customers have used social media to communicate with a company over the course of the last 12 months. That’s a huge cross-section of any market, and most of us can come up with our own stories of brands that have responded well to social media queries, and brands that have flopped in their own comment sections. 

Omni-channel customer support is becoming the norm – if it isn’t already. While most brands offer more traditional routes to customer service agents (or bots) through their sites, it’s inevitable that the social channels will be the more obvious choice for many. 

And why not? Social media feels far more direct. It’s a lot more convenient, too, since most of us spend a significant amount of time each day on social media. Gartner found that 96% of customers who experienced high-effort customer service were later disloyal to that brand. Simplicity, convenience, quick responses, and clear understanding of the problem (and how to resolve it) are vital, but how do you offer that if you’re only checking in on your mentions some of the time? You’ve got to be listening in real-time.

What’s more, social listening takes you beyond the most obvious queries from followers. From comments on your posts to indirect, untagged mentions of your brand, products, services, social listening makes it possible for you to go above and beyond in terms of customer service and community management. It enables interactions with customers and prospects that may never have happened otherwise. 

It’s also the secret to getting the edge on your competitors 

So many conversations take place on social media that aren’t directly about your brand, but are nonetheless heavily relevant to you. This is what we started talking about above – the power of indirect Tweets or posts that create opportunities for meaningful interactions with customers or prospects.

Maybe someone is venting their frustrations with one of your direct competitors, or simply venting about the very pain point your product/service is designed to resolve. Finding those opportunities to push yourself forward makes for overwhelmingly positive and memorable first impressions with leads and gives you a far more proactive presence on social media. If you’ve got the right social listening tools to witness those posts as and when they are posted, you’ve got a real edge on your competitors. 

With keyword tracking, sentiment analysis, and round-the-clock insight into share of voice (yours and theirs), you can broaden your awareness beyond the far parameters of your own account – and realize a much higher ROI from your campaign. In time, social listening for competitor analysis will become foundational. 

It’s not just about finding ways to redirect conversations that your competitors would have otherwise dominated, either. Social listening is a fundamental part of competitive research – knowing where your competitors are performing well, what their customers’ frustrations are, and what angles their own social media strategies are taking. The more information you can gather, and the sooner you can get it, the better.

It’s ideal for lead generation…

By now, we’ve made it pretty clear that social listening is about more than dropping in on your existing followers and responding to their comments. That’s really a case of social monitoring – another essential practice if you want to leverage the full potential of social media. 

Obviously, social listening will give you a lot of insights into your existing customer base – your core following who interact with your brand and its social channels more than anyone else. It’s always worthwhile checking in on their own posts, even if they’re not directly about you. 

But social listening also targets people who are currently beyond that scope – people who are not following you (yet), but are in need of what your brand has to offer. For them, a simple Tweet sent their way, a comment on their latest LinkedIn post, often represents a far more personal, meaningful first point-of-contact than the alternatives. 

…Not to mention content creation

Has content creation got you feeling like you’re running up against a wall? Call it an occupational hazard – but not one that has to derail your team each and every time you head back to the drawing board. 

Think of social media like a giant foraging ground for ideas. From witnessing big, sweeping trends to niche discussions between potential customers, social listening gives you constant insight into the conversations that get your audience interested, engaged, and inspired. In that way, content creation doesn’t need to feel like second-guessing what your audience wants – it can be a concrete process informed by social analytics and insights.  

Trends and conversations rise and fall fast on social media. Things come and go in a matter of days – if not hours – but they’re all part of a cycle, rather than moving along on a conveyor belt. In other words, they come back, so having a store of content informed by your social listening practices ready to be posted when the time is right will prove transformative to your channels. 

Combining your content publishing insights with your social listening analytics – engagement, conversions, follower growth, etc. – and, of course, your team’s creativity and industry insight is the recipe for stellar content publishing. 

It’s the key to identifying influencers

Chances are, you know the big names in your industry – a handful of prominent names that have risen through the ranks on social media to represent major B2B influencers. They hold a lot of sway, and it’s no surprise that B2B influencer marketing is now starting to mirror its billion-dollar B2C counterpart. 

But those major B2B influencers are only the tip of the iceberg. For the B2B world, there’s an incredible amount of untapped potential tied-up in the micro influencer – individuals with smaller followings. Why? Because those ‘small’ followings are highly concentrated on whatever niche the micro influencer has made their name in. So, what they lack in quantity they more than make up for in quality – their capacity to send quality leads your way. 

Without social listening, your insights are largely limited to your own channels and your own followers. Social listening is what enables you to get to know your audience, and the best ways to capture their interest. 

Making Social Listening Fit

So, we’ve sold you on social listening. You can clearly envision the benefits it offers in terms of market research, competitive analysis, content creation, lead gen and conversions and, in a much broader sense, honing your brand’s voice and impact on social media. These channels are one-stop shops for so many core insights into the very people you want to get to know, and social listening is the way to gather than information at scale. 

That’s good. Great, even. But social listening isn’t a quick, 30-minute job to tick off the To Do list. If you’re going to make the most of it – that is, by identifying and responding to those actionable insights in real-time – you’ve got to keep that finger on the pulse all the time, at the cost of some manpower, right? One channel would be a big job, so how do you manage it across multiple social channels, multiple audiences, and against multiple competitors? 

The answer is simple: with a robust, scalable, integrative social media management platform that enables you to listen in on your channels – track social media brand mentions, keywords (including indirect brand mentions), sentiment, share of voice, and keep a tight grip on community management – without all that lengthy back-and-forth, manual searching, and hours of scrolling. 

At Oktopost, our platform is tailor-made for busy marketing teams who understand the full power social media holds, but also how time- and labor-intensive audience and competitor research can be without the right social media listening tools. 

With a social listening platform like ours, you can make real-time social listening fit alongside every other aspect of social media marketing. The insights it provides can (and will) come to underpin your entire strategy, and enable you to hone your brand’s digital presence beyond what you could manage to do on your own. All it takes are the right social media analytics, and the tools to curate them altogether.

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