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February 19, 2020

How Businesses Can Improve Their Social Listening Strategy

Businesses today must have an in-depth understanding of their specific audience to meet growing consumer expectations. With customers engaging in conversations across social media networks, blogs, and forums, businesses should track and monitor these conversations. This is where social media listening steps in to help.

Social listening is the strategy of tracking brand mentions and keywords or phrases across social media channels and the web. Implementing a social listening strategy is vital as it offers valuable insights into a brand’s audience, market, and competitors.

According to Sprout Social’s Index report, 63% of social media marketers believe listening will become more critical over the upcoming year.

As the new year begins, businesses using social listening should be open to experimenting with new methods to improve their strategy. Here are several social listening tactics for brands to try in 2020.

Protecting brand health

Businesses across all industries should be paying attention to their brand health and what customers are saying about them online. Social listening allows enterprises to gain real-time intelligence and awareness of sudden changes in brand sentiment.

Rather than make assumptions, businesses can know what customers are saying about them. With social listening, they can track conversations, catch emerging issues before they go viral, analyze sentiment changes, and monitor industry events that affect their brand.

By setting alerts for mentions and critical terms they want to track, businesses can stay on top of any negative sentiments that may develop online. Moreover, social listening gives brands time to create messaging to reframe an unfavorable narrative.

Sourcing user-generated content

Building trust with consumers continues to be a significant trend that influences businesses’ social media strategies. Brands must be transparent and authentic when connecting with their target audience. Sourcing user-generated content (UGC) is one of the best ways for brands to boost their authenticity and generate engagement.

Businesses can use social listening to capture original experiences directly from their audience on social media. For example, brands can source original posts related to their product or service from users on social networks and find ways to incorporate them into their content. 

Or, they can give their audience the chance to create user-generated content for a campaign focused on a particular idea, event, or product.

Social listening allows businesses to offer their target audience an authentic experience.

Identifying authentic influencers

Partnering with social media influencers continues to be at the forefront of social media best practices. Research by Twitter and data analytics provider Annalect found that 49% of consumers rely on recommendations from influencers. Additionally, exposure to branded tweets led to a 2.7 times increase in purchase intent versus not seeing branded tweets, but adding influencer tweets to branded tweets led to a 5.2 times increase in purchase intent.

When businesses partner with influencers aligned with their brand, they target not only their own audience but their audience as well.

Social listening is an excellent way for brands to identify the right influencers in their niche. Businesses can find social media influencers by tracking top authors in their industry or the URLs and titles of popular articles in industry-related blogs and publications. They can then determine which influencers are earning the highest engagement rate when sharing content.

Once a business identifies a potential influencer, they can reach out to them to discuss their campaign ideas and ways they could work together.

Monitoring existing influencers

Not only can social listening help businesses find new influencers, but it can help them keep an eye on their team of current influencers. Even if everything is going great with influencers, things can change quickly.

Businesses should set performance standards and use social listening to monitor the activity and engagement levels of influencers to ensure they remain a good fit for their brand. They can track influencers’ performance on each social channel and see how they compare to one another.

Integrating CRM data

Data-driven marketing indeed continues to be a massive trend for the new year. Since social listening offers valuable insights, combining it with CRM data can only take businesses further in their social listening strategy.

Merging social data with CRM data allows businesses to get a fuller picture of the consumer journey. With both sets of data combined, businesses gain even greater insights and benefit from having a single, unified view of the customer.

From conversations online to phone calls with account managers or customer service representatives, all customer data stays in one location so that everyone has access to valuable insights.

Keeping up with consumer expectations via social listening

With social media growing exponentially, customers have become more active than ever on networks, blogs, and forums. A robust social listening strategy is key to uncovering valuable insights about a brand’s customers, industry, and competitors.

It’s crucial, however, for businesses to continuously revisit their social listening strategy and look for new ways to improve it. Consumer expectations are always changing, and experimenting with new social listening tactics can help businesses keep a pulse on insights and trends in customer behavior.


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Adrian Fisher is the Founder and CEO of PropertySimple, a real estate technology software that allows agents to build their personal brand online.

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