Whether you’re looking to drive more conversation about your brand or you’re getting overloaded by Twitter mentions, comment notifications and/or google alerts, social monitoring and listening tools can improve your brand management and social workflows immensely.
The problem social monitoring addresses is making big data useful– specifically social conversation data which is growing at an astronomical rate. To illustrate my point:
- In the 12 months from October 2014 to September 2015 there were 656,131,192 blog posts published on WordPress
- Every minute more than 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube
- Each day there are almost 60 million tweets published around the world
At face value, this kind of big social data can make finding the conversations, communities, insights and individuals that are important to your brand seem like a needle in a haystack endeavor. Moreover, how social conversations should impact a business is still poorly defined by most organizations. Big Data without insight is meaningless. But with the right social monitoring and listening strategy, social data can help you efficiently and effectively manage your brand.
Here are 4 ways to improve your brand management with social listening:
Start monitoring more than just your notifications
Between Outlook, Facebook and all the other services we use, we’ve all been guilty of paying more attention to the information that buzzes rather the information that matters. And while notifications can be very handy for managing some of the real-time aspects of your social media, it’s important to recognize that vanity metrics aren’t inherently valuable.
Notifications are reactive. They only trigger once a specific, pre-determined criteria is met – for example, being tagged on Instagram or mentioned in a news article that’s monitored by Google’s alerts. This means that you will only ever see a conversation if people follow a specific and structured path when they talk about you (or a topic relevant to you). And if there’s anything we know about online conversations, it’s that they’re far from structured – So you’re probably missing a lot of them.
Social listening enables you to take a proactive approach to the conversations that impact your brand’s goals. By searching conversation terms that are important to you, and analyzing the filtered data, you can get deeper insights about consumer behavior, their attitudes towards your brand and your competitors (more on that later), and inspire innovation.
Understand your community and the context you operate in
One of the biggest advantages of social media compared to channels like email or traditional marketing is that listening tools give you access to all public data, not just your own data. This means that you can understand the context your company operates in, the other interests that your audience has, what drives conversations and also how your competitors are faring.
This kind of context is essential, because you can’t measure success without it. Let me briefly illustrate how: You got 1000 mentions on Twitter? That’s great. Your competitor got 10,000. Feeling down? Well, don’t worry because yours were all positive, and theirs were all negative. You see how the significance of data can quickly change with a little context?
What’s important to your customers and your brand will differ from company to company, country to country, and industry to industry. So the best way to approach this is by testing and refining your approach to listening. To start you should try listening to a topic for a little while and determine how valuable the conversation is to you. If it’s proves to be important then probe deeper, if it’s not then move onto then keep moving. Once you start finding you’re groove here, you’ll start to understand what makes your audience tick and begin using that to become more engaging and relevant.
Think outside Facebook and Twitter
These two platforms are synonymous with “Social Media” but there are lots of online conversations that never pass through a Facebook or Twitter server. While these channels are certainly important, what we’re seeing more than ever is that with the number of apps and social platforms available, people are using them in specific ways – Facebook is for connecting with friends, Twitter is for real-time activity, WordPress is for sharing longer ideas and stories. While each platform is certainly capable of more, they are used much less in other contexts.
With that in mind, there are lots of destinations outside Facebook and Twitter that are equally relevant. For example, if you sell products, you’ll find forums, message boards or other communities where people discuss your product or the problem it solves in more detail than they would with their friends or in 140 characters. For the services industry, reviews sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp might be more important to your bottom line. SDL Social Media Monitoring in fact, accesses over half-a-million unique data sources so be sure to explore conversations outside of the social media comfort zone.
Inform your resourcing decisions
Finally (and arguably most importantly), you can use social listening to inform the resourcing choices that set your brand management strategy up for success.
How, you may ask? If you follow points 1 – 3 here, you should really be starting to understand of how your customers use social media, and how to best interact with them. This provides answers to the “who, how, what, where, when and why” questions about your marketing and operations. For example, the quantity, quality and destinations of conversations can help you decide into things like where the best place(s) to put your ad spend is, or how many people you managing your social presence, or what messages are resonating best with your customers.
By using social listening to quantify and qualify conversations and customer behaviors, you can start to make more informed choices about how you run your business and how to better tailor it to their needs.
What do you think – Have you tried any of the strategies above? Have others that you’d recommend? Tell us in the comments below!