Whether you have heard of them before or not, social listening tools are a vital piece of technology for modern businesses. Social media has exploded in the past decade and it is only getting bigger. Every day, consumers talk about companies and share opinions. Successful companies know how to listen and take advantage of the information customers are sharing. So what is social listening and how does it work?
What are they?
Social listening tools are software that can analyze online conversations about anything that is relevant to a company. The software can target conversations about the brand. It can target anything that is important, even competitors. It can pull information from anywhere that is public, like other websites, blogs, and forums with the intention of seeing what people think about a given brand or company.
What are they used for?
Social listening works in several ways to help businesses grow. Many industries use them for a variety of tasks such as-
Benchmarking competitors- Knowing what everyone else is doing is crucial to business success. Nobody operates in a vacuum and what happens throughout an industry is important to each business. Companies need to know what their competition is doing and react to it. Social listening tools can help businesses make their products as competitive as possible by understanding market pricing, new product release dates, and new technology coming to market.
Finding influencers- Having a top-selling product is a popularity contest for a lot of companies. Many consumers pay attention to movie stars, athletes, and social media personalities for recommendations when making a decision to buy a product. Finding the right people to recommend products can make selling them a lot easier.
Customer relationships- One key to success is building quality relationships with customers. How customers are treated before and after the sale is critical to long-term success. Social listening tools can help identify pain points that customers have voiced online. Taking action to fix identified problems creates value for customers and solidifies long-term relationships with them.
Marketing campaigns- Advertising success can be measured through the return on investment. To understand the actual return, businesses need to know the impact of the advertising. Social listening can figure out how much brand awareness has changed and what the word on the internet is about a given product or brand. Social listening can show businesses what customers are thinking and how effective marketing is.
How do they work?
By collecting data, social listening tools inform companies about their brand and their competitors as well. Keywords are used to drive this data collection. By focusing on keywords, social listening tools gather the most relevant information available. Companies can also exclude certain keywords to filter out information that may not be useful.
Online mentions of a particular product or brand are classified and tallied. These mentions are evaluated as either positive, negative, or neutral based on the language use and the overall tone, among other characteristics.
Sources of data are the food for social listening. Lots of high quality data is needed to generate accurate results. The more data available, the more accurate the results will be.