Social media is a 2-way communication platform.
As you put out content targeted at your audience, social media platforms are flourishing with close to 3.48 billion social media users speaking constantly.
Keep your eyes and ears open on these platforms. You wouldn’t want to miss out on vital leads.
Notice that this Twitter user does not mention McDonalds’ Twitter handle in the given conversation.
A smart brand such as McDonald’s knows how vital it is to listen in on audience conversations because you never know when you may end up finding a potential customer for your brand.
Not listening to what your audience is saying about your brand and other subjects relevant to your business is a missed opportunity you cannot let go of.
Social media offers a great channel for you to get the word out about your brand. The audience will always have some form of opinion about your brand. No matter what the goal is behind your social media marketing efforts, you need to get a sense of how the audience reacting to your content.
Diving into the analytics behind your social media performance helps you understand your position on social platforms. Strategizing your social media efforts on the basis of relevant social media KPIs helps you in building an optimal social media strategy.
At the same time, as you market your brand on social media platforms, your audience is also using these channels to express their opinions. In fact, social media offers a channel for you to tap into audience conversations and derive vital insights for your business. As such, listening to what your audience has to say can allow you to find potential leads to target.
Besides helping you find leads, social listening also offers great scope in helping you maintain a strong rapport with your customers as well.
When big brand names such as Apple and Amazon launch key products, it generates a lot of conversations, both before and after the launch. Digging into these conversations can reveal very important insights for the brand.
There will always be some positive and some negative audience sentiment online.
So, you will find people saying good things about your brand and come across negative feedback, as well. But, as long as you have an eye on what is being said about your brand, you can work towards enhancing your brand image on social platforms.
With the help of the right set of data, you can stay on top of all that is being said about your content as well as your brand in general.
Employing a multi-oriented tool that encompasses several features at once, is the key to a high-ROI yielding social media strategy. Knowing what is working for your brand and what isn’t with the help of analytics is as essential as tapping into what your audience has to say about your brand.
Before we look into the different ways in which you can use social media intelligence, let’s quickly take you through social listening as a smart way to capture audience opinion.
What is Audience Intelligence?
Audience intelligence is the ability to track and obtain valuable audience insights. These audience insights help to develop targeted marketing, improve audience interactions and engagement.
Audience Intelligence also gives you a view of audience demographics, their location and to identify channels where they are most active. Using audience intelligence brands can do personalised targeting to provide better products and services.
What is Social Listening?
Social listening is a key audience research technique that allows you to capture and analyze audience conversations on social media. With the help of a reliable social listening tool, you can monitor all your brand mentions and get a sense of what is being said.
A good social listening tool also allows you to grasp the audience’s opinion around relevant topics and subjects in the industry.
To put it in a nutshell, social listening is a technique for capturing important data about your audience. In fact, social listening can actually help you discover several segments of the audience that you may not have even considered tapping into. So, keeping your ears open and listening to what your audience has to say is the key to building an effective social media strategy.
Now we’ll look at the different ways in which you can leverage social media data to hear what your audience is saying.
1) Capturing Audience Feedback
You cannot discern how your audience perceives your content or your brand by simply looking at your likes and comments. You need to capture the bigger picture.
Audience feedback is an integral part of audience research. This intelligence is very important and will feed into your brand strategy at multiple levels.
One way to get a sense of the audience’s feedback is by looking at relevant social media metrics including reach and engagement.
How many people actually viewed your content?
How many people interacted with your content? How many people reacted to your content? Did your content start any conversations?
A reliable social media analytics tool helps you get the data for all these metrics and in the process, gives you a clearer picture. Depending upon how your audience responds to your content, you can take a call as to what actions you need to take to meet their expectations.
But, this is only half the battle won. With analytics, you know how your social media activity fared. You also need to look into all the conversations happening on social media around your brand. Besides the segment of the audience that is interacting with your brand, there are various other untapped sections that you need to look into.
There are segments of the audience that may not be interacting with your content but are talking about your brand on social platforms.
Listening to what these segments of your audience have to say about your brand is akin to getting audience feedback without having to ask for it. So, if you aren’t already listening to your audience on social media, you need to get started now.
Social listening helps you capture all the conversations happening around your brand and the sentiment underlying these interactions.
2) Maintain a Strong Rapport With Customers
Social media has become an integral pathway to deal with customers. As per research by Mckinsey, 70% of the customer’s journey depends on how the customer is being treated.
Customers prefer brands that are more responsive. The more immediately your brand responds to their queries, complaints, and feedback, the more satisfied are your customers.
You need to keep up with the who, what and when of the customers’ constant feedback on social media. For effective monitoring of all the feedback that you receive from your customers on social media channels, you need a reliable social listening tool.
Use social listening data to inculcate an efficient customer service management system on social media. This will help you build a loyal community of customers.
3) Watch Out for Potential Warning Signals
Maintaining your brand image on social media is very important. Just as positive brand references can go viral, one bad brand reference also spreads like fire and puts the brand image at stake.
UK-based mobile phones and broadband services provider O2 faced widespread network issues back in 2012. This affected thousands of its customers and the brand experienced a wave of negative sentiment on their social channel.
But, you have to give it to the brand for the way in which it dealt with the crisis. Many customers went on to express their intentions of switching to other networks following the crisis on Twitter. The brand faced a big PR crisis, with negative tweets circulating on the platform and reaching almost 1.7 million people on the platform.
To deal with the huge influx of negative messages on the platform, O2 chose to follow a positive voice with a humorous tone.
The personalized and to the point tone accompanied by apology messages seemed to have helped the brand weather the storm and win over the hearts of the public. Eventually, the Twitter community came out in support of the brand and left a positive image in the minds of the public.
The O2 social media crisis in this sense stands to be an important example of effective damage control. Brands can draw inspiration from O2 on how to not only deal with PR issues on social media effectively. It is also an eye-opener that reinforces the need for brands to always be on top of what is being said about the brand on social media.
Instead of waiting for the fire to break out and then get in the damage control mode, you can blow off the fire before it spreads. In order to do this, you need to constantly monitor brand mentions on social media.
Employ social listening tools to constantly check for any sparks of negative sentiment or use of negative terms for your brand. In doing so, you can avert a crisis and prevent things from blowing out of proportion.
4) Build a Smarter Content Marketing Strategy
Back up your content marketing strategy with data and insights from social media intelligence tools.
Content is king and drives audiences to interact with your brand. Good content plays an important role in establishing a brand image and bringing new followers on board.
Social media can play an important role in customers’ sales journey. But, in order to attract potential customers, you need powerful, engaging social media content.
It is very important to let your target audience inform your content creation strategy. Instead of blindly pushing out content on your social media handles, you should create content that your audience will engage with.
But how do you understand what your audience likes and what they don’t?
Are your social media likes and comments sufficient for capturing what your audience likes and what they don’t?
You can go ahead and run the risk of relying on the number of likes and comments alone, to frame your social media strategy. But this will only lead to a poor ROI on your social media efforts.
Look at your social media analytics data to understand what kind of content your audience likes and what they don’t. Social media analytics insights will help you get a clearer picture of what kind of content your audience engages with more.
Unbox Social helps you look into post-wise analytics to help you determine which content is faring well and which content pieces aren’t doing so well. Here’s a snapshot of the tool:
You can use these in-depth tool insights to direct your content creation strategy. Take cues from your top content pieces and build content around similar ideas.
Use the social listening feature by Unbox Social to dig deeper into conversations and generate valuable insights that can be helpful in building your content strategy. The feature puts all the conversations into context and captures the common themes underlying the conversations.
Based on what your audience is talking about, you can create content and also build fresh campaigns for your brand. Further, you can jump into insights on which content formats are doing well.
5) Gather Industry Insights Straight From Your Audience
Your brand needs to be well-versed with all that is happening in the industry. Your content should be relevant to the trends and patterns in the industry, as well.
With social listening, you can look up any keywords relevant to your industry and capture all the conversations surrounding it. This vital data will provide you with the very valuable context of what is happening in the industry and what your audience is talking about.
These insights can form the very foundation for your social media strategies and also provide you with innovative ideas for campaigns. Given that this strategy is based on data derived from audience conversations, it makes for an effective, fruitful approach for your brand.
6) Identify Potential Brand Advocates & Influencers
Your audience is composed of various different segments. There will be certain segments from the audience that come with huge social followings. You need to tap into these segments of the audience to find potential brand advocates.
Unbox Social tracks all audience conversations and identifies top content creators on social media who are talking about your brand. The tool also captures relevant insights about these Influencers to get a better sense of who you are approaching.
Once you spot the top Influencers talking about your brand, you can go on to see what they are saying about your brand. Are they helping in spreading a positive word about your brand amongst their followers on social media? Can you possibly enter into a collaboration with one or more of these Influencers?
Entering into a partnership with one of these Influencers can help you expand your target audience. Influencer marketing can be very helpful in creating an effective online presence.
Summing it up
Social media listening allows you to gather insights about conversations happening around your brand or specific relevant keywords. As you are circulating content on your social platforms, the audience is also constantly engaging with your content and also interacting amongst themselves. As the conversations unfold on social media platforms, a lot is being said about your brand, about your industry and so on.
By tapping into these conversations as well as the way the audience interacts with your brand, you can reap the following benefits:
- Gather your audience’s feedback
- Build a satisfied, loyal community of customers
- Avert social media crises by keeping an eye out for negative sentiments
- Build a well-informed content marketing strategy for your brand
- Stay on top of industry trends and updates
- Spot potential advocates for your brand in the form of influential content creators