The Value of Social Listening in B2B Digital Marketing
Somewhere on social media, somebody is talking about a feature they wish your product offered. Another person is making negative comments about your company. They’re not tagging your brand or writing on your page, but thousands of people are reading and absorbing the message.
These posts can be shaping opinions about your brand and articulating exactly what it is your audience wants. But you’ll never know what they’re saying – unless you employ social listening as part of your social media strategy.
Social listening, much like social media itself, was originally conceived as a tool for creating and nurturing B2C relationships. In recent years, B2B marketers have started to see the value of social listening and incorporate it into their marketing strategy. This year, just over half of leading marketers are using social listening as one of their primary sources for timely consumer information.
With the usage of social media platforms up by 44% this year, and more than three out of four consumers saying they are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media over one they don’t? Few businesses can afford a blind and deaf digital marketing strategy without a strong social listening component.
The importance of social listening for B2B marketing
For all types of businesses and target audiences, social listening is the first step in social selling. It has to be—engaging with your target audience on social media can’t be a monologue, but rather a dialogue, first and foremost.
It’s not only about knowing what needs and sentiments your prospects are expressing online, either. For B2B sales and marketing, there are several built-in functions and capabilities that social listening tools bring to the table. Tools that enhance lead identification and scoring, and contribute to the bottom line of your sales revenues.
Especially today, social listening is critical to the process of adjusting to the “new normal” that the entire B2B segment is going through. The COVID-19 crisis has caused massive and sudden changes, leading to new trends, shifting expectations, and an uncertain future for many businesses. At the same time, buyers are shifting to digital to both ingest and produce business-related content. Businesses that listen and adapt are finding ways to maintain and even grow their sales in the chaotic world we live in.
When it comes to employing social listening as part of a B2B digital strategy, there are unique benefits and features to leverage.
Potential customers will often muse about future purchases online. Sometimes they’ll even mention specific brands—especially if their followers show up to debate the pros and cons. These leads may be indicating their receptiveness to a message from your sales team, and the discussion may reveal specific needs and pain points to address.
PR impact evaluation
Whether you’re managing a crisis or pushing a new brand image, you want to be able to measure the results of your PR strategy. There’s no reason (or luxury nowadays) to wait for focus groups and industry op-eds to tell you how you’re doing. Instead, you can listen to voices on social media and gain much more insight much faster.
Granular sentiment analysis
Social media monitoring can tell you in broad analytical strokes how many mentions you’re getting, whether you gained more followers this month over last month and other statistical facts. It can’t tell you how consumers really feel about your new product, your latest whitepaper, or your relationship with your employees. For that kind of granular, detailed information, you can’t just monitor—you have to listen.
The currency of social media influence can change hands quickly these days. Pretending you can follow a few key influencers and consider yourself in the loop is going to leave you a step behind. If you’re really listening, you can find the influential voices at the start of their rise. This also puts you in the perfect position to capitalize on the rise of digital influencer marketing in the B2B world.
Employee satisfaction and sentiment tracking
Social listening can also be an effective way to get an unfiltered look at the mood and morale of your employees. Which can, in turn, impact how your prospects perceive you. Now in particular, with COVID-19 precautions in effect, many workers are finding it challenging to work from home. Before problems get bigger and show up at HR’s door, you may be able to get an early warning with social listening. Moreover, maintaining a positive employer brand online is critical for successful talent acquisition and retention.
Advanced social listening for Oktopost users with Keyhole integration
Unlocking the secret to successful and ROI-positive social media B2B marketing demands the combination of a multi-armed social media management tool and a smart real-time engine for social media listening. To bring that combination to Oktopost users worldwide, we’ve partnered with Keyhole, a leading social media account monitoring and hashtag analytics software.
With this new addition to Oktopost’s social marketing suite, B2B organizations can monitor brand equity, customer feedback, industry trends, and discussions around specific keywords. They can also track influences and competitors across social media channels to better evaluate digital brand health.
With these insights in hand, Oktopost users can adjust and optimize their social media presence and marketing strategies at record speeds.
The advanced social listening capabilities provided by Keyhole will work alongside the features already provided by Oktopost’s social marketing suite, including social media monitoring and analytics as well as tools for managing employee advocacy campaigns.
Social media marketing is becoming increasingly important to the success of B2B sales efforts. With social distancing measures in place and one-on-one meetings postponed until further notice? The intro, pitch and handshake for closing B2B deals often take place in the digital realm, with social media channels at the forefront.
With Keyhole as your eyes and ears across platforms and Oktopost managing and analyzing your marketing tactics and content effectiveness, you can get ahead in understanding the buyers you’re trying to reach. Moreover, you will have the ability to address their needs and questions as they arise—even if they surface a long way away from your corporate website or landing page.