Everybody appreciates a good listener, but sometimes we have to learn the hard way that being a good listener is about more than just passively hearing what’s being said. In an interpersonal scenario, active listening means you’re really trying to understand the person speaking to you, and it’s no different when we’re talking about social media marketing. Keeping an eye out for mentions and Google Alerts and the like is just social media monitoring, and you can miss out on a lot of nuance and context.
Social listening means monitoring feeds and platforms for references to your brand, products, competitors, and related keywords, and then taking the extra step to analyze and comprehend what’s being said, who’s saying it, and why, so that you can take action based on that information. That might mean proactively reaching out to convert a potential customer, or it might mean fixing an issue with your product or business operations that’s been pointed out to you.
The Benefits of Listening
Social listening also helps you keep tabs on the social media sentiment toward your company and products. Often, when companies become aware of a burgeoning online controversy about themselves, they jump into the fray with statements and responses that seem misguided or out-of-touch because they haven’t taken the time to understand the background issues and context informing the controversy. If you’re really listening, you have a better chance of defining and steering the conversation.
Customers like responsive brands, and more than three quarters of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they follow on social media. When you listen to your customer base, you can engage in ways that feel authentic instead of forced, increasing acquisitions and gaining valuable insights along the way. You might also discover influencers in your market and industry while they’re just starting to make a name for themselves, giving you the chance to develop beneficial relationships with trusted voices.
Ten Great Brand Monitoring Tools
The difference between social media monitoring and listening isn’t just in the mindset you approach it with, however. The technological tools you employ can make a big difference in your ability to filter the signal from the noise and focus your analytics on the messages that really matter.
If you’re ready to really listen to what your customers (and critics) have to say, here are ten social media listening tools that can help you.
Awario can help you find and participate in conversations about your brand across a wide range of platforms, promising prompt discovery by crawling over 13 billion web pages every day instead of relying on third-party monitoring services. Awario includes dedicated features for influencer marketing and reputation management, and its users have lots of positive things to say about how it facilitates market research and customer engagement.
Oktopost specializes in social media management for B2B companies. What this actually means is that Oktopost is capable of tracking conversions back to social media engagement and enriching lead generation data with social media engagement and profile data. For B2B companies, which often overlook social media marketing, Oktopost can help them them not only track brand mentions but also demonstrate how those mentions and social engagements impact sales opportunities.
Oktopost seamlessly integrates social media data with marketing automation and CRM platforms, making it easy to expand your reach and share not just more content, but more engaging, relevant content that will actually drive conversions. In addition to that, Oktopost includes all the monitoring, tracking, and analytics features you could hope to expect from a social listening solution.
Used by over 2,200 global brands including Microsoft, Unilever, and Walmart, Brandwatch offers a full suite of social media marketing tools that can help you plug into emerging trends, cool down public relations snafus before they can boil over into a full-blown crisis, and maximize the ROI on your influencer marketing strategy—just to list a few use cases. If you’re looking to shape specific customer experiences, Brandwatch has the features to deliver the information and insights you need.
4. Brand 24
The developers of Brand 24 understand that the price of a good online reputation is eternal vigilance, so they’ve created a sophisticated automated platform that monitors social conversations for tone and content, analyzing customer sentiment in real time and sending out instantaneous alerts when something is happening that requires your attention. Their tracking and reporting features can give you plenty of information to analyze for actionable information, too.
With a focus on content generation and influencer marketing, BuzzSumo’s platform consists of four primary components: discovering high-performing content to engage with and share, researching across billions of data points to refine and optimize your marketing tactics, monitoring the topics and comments that represent opportunities to expand your reach, and identifying the influential voices that have the power to introduce you to new audiences.
As the top hashtag tracking and hashtag analytics platform in the world, Keyhole is a great resource for determining the effectiveness and value of your online marketing campaigns. They offer engagement and reach metrics in real time, along with fast and easy reporting services, and a suite of tools for finding, tracking, and collaborating with influencers. They’re used by some of the biggest internet brands around, including Google, Alibaba, and Spotify.
If your company or its marketing activities are impacted by daily news and world events, Meltwater might be the solution you need. In addition to the expected tools for social media listening, conversation tracking, and engagement analytics, they put a special focus on print and online news stories and the conversations that spring up around them—including the ones that are hidden behind paywalls for subscribers only.
By tracking topics and conversations across a wide range of social media platforms, Mention can keep you dialed in to the prevailing attitudes and opinions about your brand and products. Their monitoring and filtering tools can help direct you to relevant conversations as they are happening, no matter where they’re hosted. With over 750,000 users, Mention knows how to deliver the data and insights businesses need to grow.
I know I mentioned that Google Trends is not enough but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. If you’re not familiar with Google Trends then what Google Trends does is it tracks keyword mentions in the Google News feed and provides email notifications of those mentions. In other words, if your brand gets mentioned in a publications that is indexed in Google News then you’ll get an email notification. In addition, some social media platforms (Reddit for example) get indexed in Google News. Best of all, Google Trends is free.
Another solution that is more than “just” social listening is TrackMaven by Skyword. TrackMaven is about tracking marketing efforts from all channels and providing better attribution for spend and ROI. If you’re a large consumer facing brand, then TrackMaven could be worth a look.
Join the conversation
Keep in mind, listening should only be the starting point. You should be ready to help you find and join in conversations, stay abreast of complaints and callouts before they snowball into a catastrophe, and engage your potential customers with custom-made content that speaks to their deepest interests based on your social media strategy.
All of these tools have the necessary features and resources you need to monitor, track, and gather insights from social media conversations about the topics that matter to you. They differ primarily in their specific areas of focus and the specialized features they offer to various types of businesses.
Oktopost developed around the needs and concerns of B2B companies, who often have to engage with leads and broader social media conversations in different ways than retailers selling directly to the public. If you’re not seeing great success in getting your social media engagement to land the way you want it to and interest the right audiences, it might be a question of using the wrong tools for the job. You can always book a demo with Oktopost to see how their particular expertise can help transform your B2B marketing endeavors.