Should Your Brand Utilize Social Listening?
If someone were to ask you what your customers are saying about your brand on social media, could you answer their question? Do you know offhand what your share of voice is online? If your answer is no, then you might be missing out on key conversations taking place about your brand.
While many organizations understand the relevance of creating and maintaining a social media presence to engage with their audience, many miss out on the conversations taking place when their social channels aren’t tagged or mentioned in a post or tweet. The analysis and interpretation of this conversation is the main difference between social listening and social monitoring.
What is Social Listening?
Brands that utilize social listening keep a pulse on what audiences are saying about their brand by monitoring and analyzing their mentions on social media channels. By monitoring these conversations, companies can measure their brand awareness, spikes in conversation, and share of voice between their competitors.
Should You Be Utilizing Social Listening?
Not every company needs a formal social listening program. Utilizing a social listening platform, such as Meltwater, is an investment, so your brand needs to understand whether it’s necessary before diving in.
A good place to start is with an initial audit. When you search your company’s name on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, what do you find? If your initial search results are low, that could indicate that little to no conversation is taking place online. However, an organic search won’t capture all mentions that you should be seeing.
For a true audit, partner with an agency who has made the investment in a social listening platform to gauge your brand’s level of online conversation. Social listening tools go beyond a manual search to aggregate conversations across blogs and social media channels and identify trends in conversation taking place online about your brand.
Once you understand your average volume of conversation, you can determine whether the volume is large enough to report on and measure on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. If mentions of your organization on social media are scarce, then a regular or ongoing analysis probably isn’t necessary. But don’t write off social listening just yet. Instances can arise where your company will need to quickly and efficiently monitor online conversation.
When is Social Listening Necessary?
While an ongoing social listening analysis might not be necessary for companies with a low volume of online conversation, events can take place at any time where a social listening platform can be a critical tool to measure the online impact.
Crisis Communication - In today’s digital landscape, unsavory news about your organization could be a digital headline within the hour. Say for instance an employee offends a customer at your restaurant or place of business. All the sudden, your company’s Facebook page is full of user comments and posts expressing outrage over the incident before you have time to gather all the facts. You notice users start using hashtags and call for a boycott of your business until they receive a public apology. What do you do?
In a crisis situation, it’s important to gather as many facts as possible to fully understand the situation at hand. This is when social listening can be a powerful ally.
An agency partner can help measure the volume of conversation to help interpret whether conversation has reached a true crisis level. Using listening software, they can also decipher the content of conversation to identify trending issues and top detractors. Armed with this information, your organization will have the insight it needs to issue an appropriate response as necessary.
Changes in Your Organization - Exciting changes within your organization can be share-worthy moments online. Is your company ready to go public or acquire a competitor? Perhaps your company has made a strategic partnership or is about to experience a change in leadership.
As news of these changes begins to spread, you might wonder how it impacts public perception of your company. What are your employees saying? Have industry leaders or peers taken notice?
Social listening can help answer these questions and provide insight into the sentiment of conversation to give you peace of mind and insight during this time.
Events and Sponsorships - Public events can spur mentions of your brand that might not otherwise take place. Looking to measure the impact of a new sponsorship? Understanding the volume, quality, and sentiment of online mentions can help determine whether a sponsorship achieved a level of online awareness that justifies the investment.
Grand openings or special occasions are another great opportunity to measure online brand perception. Social listening can help track whether customers enjoy a restaurant’s new menu or if a rebrand is resonating with a company’s audience. In these instances, it’s important to keep track of what customers are saying.
How to Start Monitoring Online Brand Mentions
Once you make the decision to begin monitoring online brand mentions across social media, it’s critical to choose the right tools and partnerships to set your company up for success.
After an initial audit, you’ll need to select the right tools, keywords, and channels to begin monitoring mentions of your brand online. A successful social listening program will also identify key performance indicators (KPIs), benchmarks, and a reporting cadence to define and measure success.
Learn More About Social Listening with Jennasis
Kicking off and building a social listening program can be a challenge. By partnering with Jennasis and Associates, you can utilize the tools and experts who can set you on the right track.
Jennasis can help gauge your volume of conversation online and set up custom reports that showcase online conversation on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or on an as-needed basis.
Rachael Phillips is a social media and content specialist. She enjoys working with brands to develop social media strategies, influencer programs and compelling digital content to best meet their target consumer. She lives in Atlanta, GA with her dog, Swarley, and enjoys scoping out the best breweries and coffee spots in the Southeast.