What is Social Listening?
Social listening, or social media listening, identifies and evaluates what is being said about a company, person, product, or brand online.
Conversations on the Internet produce vast amounts of unstructured data. Knowing what a company wants to achieve with a social media listening initiative is essential. Depending on the objective, the right tool may be a set of free Google Alerts or a costly software program suite that consists of ad hoc analytics and full integration with existing customer relationship management (CRM) applications.
Both social media and person-to-person intelligence gathering have value, but social listening is quickly becoming a vital customer intelligence tool. There are many other ways to use social media to gain insights:
- Monitoring online customer support forums;
- Using software tools to capture comments on social networks
- such as Twitter and Facebook; and
- Encouraging clients to recommend brand-new item features and vote on their favorites.
Monitoring software converts specific words or phrases in unstructured data into numerical worths connected to structured information in a data source. This way, the data can be analyzed using traditional data mining techniques. Social media monitoring tools can scan text for specific keywords on social networking sites, blogs, discussion forums, and other social media.
Why is social listening essential?
Social listening helps companies understand the conversation around their brand and its products and services. It provides valuable consumer data companies can use to measure brand awareness and improve their products and services.
Companies benefit from social listening in the following ways:
Campaign analysis provides feedback on how a marketing campaign resonates with audiences on social networks.
The competitive analysis provides insight into how competitors perform based on social media conversations.
- Event monitoring allows a company to see how audiences respond in real time to a particular event, such as a virtual conference.
- Industry trends emerge when a company pays attention to discussions about its industry using social features such as hashtags.
Companies can use the conversation data they collect through social listening to change how they handle these things. For example, if the conversation about a particular marketing campaign is negative, a company could change the current campaign to address the issue. It could also use the information to develop better campaigns in the future.
If social media conversations about a company’s competitors are positive, the company could mimic the competitors’ behavior. Gathering social information from social media conversations is a great way to gauge audience sentiment and reactions authentically.
Social listening vs. Social monitoring
Social checking discusses what individuals are saying on social networks. Social paying attention describes why individuals say what they say. Monitoring is tactical while listening focuses on long-term strategic decisions.
Below are examples of both approaches:
Social Tracking: A restaurant keeps track of Twitter for discusses of its brand-new item, a burger with cream cheese on the bun. Once discovered, the company can respond to the mention, but it doesn’t have to. The primary purpose of monitoring is to gather information. There is not necessarily a strategy involved. The company can see how many ways its hamburger is mentioned online.
Social listening: The same restaurant monitors social media for mentions of its new hamburger and collects the data to perform sentiment analysis of the remarks. The restaurant collects information to develop a more comprehensive marketing strategy.
Using the sentiment analysis, it can determine the following:
- Whether people like the hamburger;
- what they like about it;
- what they like to eat with it;
- how long the hamburger should stay on the menu; and
- New ideas for the following particular product.
In the listening example, the company does not address every mention of the product. It doesn’t try to influence the conversation or change people’s minds about the product. Instead, it is trying to read sentiment and gain insights to develop a technique to enhance belief in the future.
Social listening, as well as social monitoring, are not mutually unique. A social listening approach goes further than social monitoring to better understand brand-related conversations on social networks.
How does social listening work?
Social listening aims to monitor relevant conversations on social media platforms, understand the underlying sentiment, and respond with a marketing strategy that positively influences the sentiment.
The process of social listening consists of three main steps:
This involves tracking multiple social media channels for discussions of trademark names, subjects, competitors, keywords, and items in social discussions. A company can manually execute this type of brand name tracking by inspecting social media sites daily or more frequently, or it can utilize a device to automate the procedure.
That is the step that distinguishes social listening from monitoring. Companies analyze the information gathered during monitoring to find out what clients like and do not like concerning services or products, as well as look for patterns and also patterns. Several customer sentiment analysis tools use automated software to give companies insight into the emotions behind what customers are writing or saying.
Companies may then choose to respond. That can be a small response, such as communicating with a customer online, or a large one, such as repositioning the entire brand strategy.
Companies can also use the information gathered through social listening for other purposes, such as:
- To identify potential and dissatisfied customers;
- to assess the quality of the customer experience (CX); and
- to gather the information that can be used to monitor return on investment or to A/B test different campaign versions to compare their performance.
Social Listening Tips
Best practices for doing social listening include the following:
- Understand the target audience: Discover which purchaser personas are drawn into a brand name, services, and products. Understand how to engage the target audience on their platform of choice.
- Determine what you want to listen to: There will be a wealth of data from which to derive insights. Having a clear idea of what your company wants to learn from the data. That helps companies ignore the noise in the data.
- Use keywords to find data: Keywords are a terrific way to filter conversations on social media. They can associate with a company, brand names, items, services, or a significant industry.
- Use a social listening tool: Tools for collecting unstructured social data can provide insights from the data you collect.
- Develop a strategy: After analyzing social data, it’s essential to use the results to develop a strategy. If a company finds social conversation is going well, it should determine what customers like about it. If a company finds customers unhappy, it should determine what’s wrong and look for ways to change. That could mean changing product descriptions, prices, or features. Or it could mean using other marketing strategies to explain its offering better, such as optimizing data-driven content creation.
Social listening process: understand your customers step-by-step
Social listening allows you to keep a close eye on your online reputation management (ORM). Social listening lets you look at what your customers and prospects think about you and your brand, including your product, customer service, and content. You can listen and analyze their social data and act accordingly to ensure you align with your marketing and brand strategy. In this blog, we want to introduce you to the process of social media listening and how an excellent social listening tool can help you grow your business.
The Social Listening Process
The social listening process includes the following steps.
Step 1: Identify your platforms
The first step in the social listening process is to identify the social media platforms you want to target for social listening and select the social listening tools you wish to use. That will depend on your goals and KPIs.
Step 2: Data extraction with Live API integration
With its Live API integration feature, the Social Listening solution allows you to extract all publicly available data, including external pages you have liked or interacted with, as Facebook and Twitch do. They allow you to download user profile information at a very granular level.
In this part of the social listening process, you read all the data through the Text Analytics API and categorize entities through semantic classification – all in seconds so that you can identify common words with their context.
In addition, the Live API integration, which provides you with real-time alerts, offers two key benefits:
- Avert PR issues: Get notified whenever you receive a negative mention or if your mentions suddenly increase. Once notified, you can also analyze all mentions and sift through trending information to resolve the problem. This way, you can get a handle on the problem before it escalates and protect your online reputation.
- Discover new trends: The ability to get real-time and latent data allows you to discover trending stories and articles. That is very important to be relevant and to choose whether you want to participate in specific trends or maintain your niche. Stay ahead of everything around you, whether Twitter threads or tinsel.
In addition to retrieving all user profile information, social media listening includes sifting through thousands of comments and videos for relevant data through named entity recognition (NER) and video content analysis (VCA) capabilities. Since the solution is specifically designed for the social listening process, it also identifies hashtags, emojis, special characters, social media jargon, and abbreviations.
Step 3: Data processing for sentiment
Once the solution has analyzed the information from all the sources you have identified, it processes all the data for sentiment analysis. It processes what your target audience likes and dislikes and assigns a prior polarity to the keywords. The prior polarity determines the positive and negative context of the word.
Sentiment intensity: the emotion-mining task of the solution not only determines the polarity but also calculates the intensity of the polarity. For example, excellent (+1), great (+0.8), good (+0.5), average (0), poor (-0.25), sour (-0.5), disgusting (-1), etc. That gives you concrete information on developing your voice in social media.
Identifying logos through VCA: The social listening process also identifies any logos seen in the background. That includes logos on clothing, mugs, posters, etc., that appear in a video, contextualizing the content of the video with the logos. That is very useful when analyzing videos for competing brands or influencers.
Sentiment analysis for social media data is critical to the social media listing process because it allows you to:
- Identify whether community standards are being met on your channel.
- Prevent cyberbullying.
- Prevent individuals from using your brand for unfavorable promotions or affiliations.
- Determine which populations are sharing your content and in what context.
- Look for potential brand ambassadors who are relevant to your business.
- Assess influencers to determine if they are genuine and not riddled with fake followers.
- Engage with customers in real time to build authentic relationships with your audience.
- Analyze your content and change it as needed to make it more relevant and up-to-date.
Step 4. Visualization of the data
In this step of the social listening process, the social listening tool examines all relevant extracted information using data aggregation. It presents it on the front end via its:
Sentiment Analysis Dashboard: This data visualization is necessary to provide insights like comparison charts. These visualizations help with ROI analysis and tell you where and why your budget needs to be spent. They also tell you where effort needs to be optimized and what special attention is required.
Data segregation and alerts: In this customer dashboard, you can even perform platform-based data segregation and set alerts for the sentiment on any social channels you want to keep a close eye on, such as Facebook, or Twitter. This way, you can track changes in trending data in real time while listening to social media and take action as soon as something important to your brand happens.
This information is essential for product diversification, new locations, service improvements, or demographic changes. That could also mean building better relationships with your employees, gaining HR insights, and promoting content/conferences through social listening channels. The possibilities are endless.
How to get started with social listening
1. Decide what you want to pay attention to
Everyday things to pay attention to include conversations about a product release, industry terms, or a brand crisis.
2. Develop relevant keywords
Create a monitor with your brand’s name, your product, and the events your team organizes.
3. Create filters
Examine social data with keywords that relate specifically to the topic at hand.
4. Use dashboards
Use the dashboard provided by your tool to analyze consumer sentiment, trending words in social media posts, and more.
5. Make use of social listening data
Use the data you uncover to improve your brand experience, customer experience, crisis management, competitive analysis, content strategy, and influencer marketing.
Social Listening Tools
The following social listening tools are available:
- Clarabridge is an AI platform for CX management.
- HubSpot provides software for marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM.
Lately, Social AI content and social media software have:
- Sprout Social is social media management software.
- Hootsuite is a dashboard for social media management and marketing.
These products can function as standalone social listening tools. In some cases, they can integrate with an enterprise CRM system. The tools collect information from Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, and Booking.com. As part of a CRM platform, these tools allow a company to gather CX information from many networks and organize it in one place for analysis.
Some social tools allow users to create custom listening templates that track specific keywords and topics. They can also provide business intelligence dashboards. Another common feature is that it identifies and tracks influencers in relevant industries. Users can track key performance indicators and metrics on their key influencers, such as the number of posts they publish and the number of posts they publish on a particular topic.
Social media listening is an effective way to stay current on current trends, understand customer sentiment, and monitor the success of your advertising efforts. To start with social listening, you must first decide what you want to pay attention to and find relevant keywords. Use the dashboards of your chosen tool to analyze consumer sentiment, trending words in social media posts, and more.
You can use the data gathered in this way to improve brand experience, customer experience, crisis management, competitive analysis, content strategy, and influencer marketing.
Frequently asked question
Q: What is the excellent way to start with social media listening?
A: The best way to start with social media listening is to decide what you want to search for and find relevant keywords. Use the dashboards of your chosen tool to analyze consumer sentiment, trending words in social media posts, and more. You can use the data gathered in this way to improve brand experience, customer experience, crisis management, competitive analysis, content strategy, and influencer marketing.
Q: What are the types of social media listening tools?
A: Some popular social media listening tools include Clarabridge, HubSpot, Lately, Sprout Social, and Hootsuite. These products can function as standalone social listening tools or integrate with an enterprise CRM system. With some social tools, users can create custom listening templates that track specific keywords and topics, provide business intelligence dashboards, and identify and track influencers in relevant industries.
Q: What are the benefits of social media listening?
A: The benefits of social media listening include tracking current trends, understanding customer sentiment, and monitoring the success of your marketing efforts. It can also improve brand experience, customer experience, crisis management, competitive analysis, content strategy, and influencer marketing.
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