August 31, 2017
Do you crave knowledge about what your customers think, feel, and how they view your company?
What business owner doesn’t? If only we had this information, we could solve every problem related to selling and amplify our ROI tenfold.
Well, guess what.
Yep, I’m about to flip the tables.
You can absolutely discover what your clients think and feel about your brand. Then, you have to leverage that knowledge into content with immense potential for traction.
All you have to do is listen.
This, my friends, is called social listening.
Social Listening: What It Is and How to Do It for Better Content Traction
Social listening is as simple as it sounds.
It’s all about listening to what your customers are saying through the various avenues available to them for feedback.
You collect this feedback, analyze it, and pay attention to what your audience is trying to tell you.
QuickSprout says this is the best determiner of virality for your content. You listen to your audience, note what worked in the past and got lots of engagement, and follow suit with more of the same.
Social listening is the tool you use to find out exactly what resonated – and what didn’t. Then – and this is doubly important – you respond based on what you gleaned from paying attention.
You comb your metrics and you learn from them.
There are lots of ways to carry out this technique, not to mention plenty of tools to help you. Let’s explore!
How to Do Social Listening So It’s Most Effective for Your Brand
Social listening isn’t just about paying attention to stats. It’s also about getting down in the trenches and engaging with your audience in real-time.
1. Listen on Personal and Statistical Levels
Social listening can actually help humanize and authenticate your brand if you do it right.
The key is to listen carefully on two levels: personal and statistical.
Example: You’re responding to comments on a post, but you’re doing it by rote. You fly through your responses so fast, you fail to notice one of your commenters had a question you could have answered. Instead, you give them a bland “thanks for commenting” reply.
This is a fail overall, and not only because you neglected to listen on a personal level. It’s also a lose-lose situation because you missed an opportunity to build trust with your readership.
You can scour your metrics over and over, but you’ll never imbue your brand with a personal touch if you fail to stop for a second and be a human being.
More than ever these days, customers want to see that warmth and personality suffusing your brand and your content. You have to listen and genuinely act on opportunities if you want to get that across.
When you build trust with your readers, you’ll naturally build traction for your content simultaneously. It’s that simple.
2. Use the Right Tools
When it’s time to scour your metrics to discover what your customers are responding to, use some good tools to help you do it right.
Here’s a quick list of ones that are easy-to-use and highly effective. They’ll assist you with data collection and analysis. This is information you’ll use to curate your content’s success chances.
- BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo is a notable tool for its trend-tracking abilities. It’s your one-stop-shop to discover what kind of content is trending, who’s publishing trending posts, and to find influencers in your industry. Use social listening to find out what’s popular right now, then jump on it and score.
- Google Trends – If you want to see what’s trending all over the world, Google Trends is your guy. Do some digging and you can find pretty relevant information, including what interests people the most right now in your industry.
- Mention.net – Mention.net can tell you when and where somebody is talking about your brand on the web. It will collect all your social mentions in one place and alert you about them. Seeing it all together is fantastic for analyzing the chatter and feedback about your company.
- HootSuite – If you want more powerful social listening, you need HootSuite. It not only lets you manage all your social networks in one place, it also analyzes the data and pinpoints trends. You can also track messages, mentions, and comments, so you’ll never miss a beat for priceless opportunities to interact.
3. Give Them What They Want
For social listening to truly succeed, you need to show your work.
You can’t just listen; you have to do something about it.
Your customers and audience want to know you’re listening, that you care, and that you’re human. Acting on the information you take in from social listening is how you do it.
This is information that will boost your content and your brand as a whole.
Marketing Profs say, in particular, this is how you cultivate superb customer journeys. You listen to what’s happening, and you respond appropriately.
This can take many forms:
- Tweaking your content so it matches up better with your audience’s expectations
- Jumping on a hot topic with a piece of content that addresses it from your unique point of view
- Intervening with assistance when a customer is having a problem
- Genuinely engaging with and responding to customer comments
- Adjusting your services to better fit with the customer need
Work on Your Listening Skills for Higher Success
As you can see, social listening is all about finding out what works and running with it. In the end, this will position you for success with the content you produce. It will also contribute to your long-term goals as a brand and a company.
Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.