Saturday, September 23, 2023

What should brands understand about social listening?

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

COO and co-founder at Maven Road.

The proliferation of digital access and its integration into the routines of billions of people worldwide means that there is now an abundance of information about what people want and need. Industry leaders have embraced these developments and are more data-oriented than ever before. They base their decision making on a deep understanding of their audiences, an understanding that is constantly evolving, based on data that reveals insights about their audience’s changing behaviors and preferences.

Social listening is an integral part of that data. It enables brands to tap into the world’s largest focus group: people from all corners of the globe sharing content about their product likes and dislikes, as well as a glimpse of what moves and motivates them. Social listening and traditional research both provide tactical and strategic information, but unlike traditional research, social listening allows you to study millions of individuals at any time and in any location. Its scalability makes it versatile and applicable to multiple usage scenarios.

At my company, we provide social listening services and conduct tailor-made market research for clients by examining how consumers express their views on brands and industries on social media. Because of this, I’ve seen the power of social listening, as well as how brands can leverage it successfully.

How can your brand get started?

1. Develop clear objectives for social listening research.

Social listening data can be used to achieve a myriad of goals. Consider your goals for using this strategy. Are you trying to understand the competitive landscape in a particular industry or identify the most talked about features of a specific product and how they align with your underlying business strategy?

Company X, for example, may want to pursue social listening to gauge public awareness online with its latest social media campaign.

2. Develop clear business questions.

These questions should be based on your goals, and they will guide the specific social listening you are interested in.

For example, in the above scenario, business questions related to Company X’s objectives might look like this: How have online conversations around the company changed after the social media campaign? What caused loaded comment about the brand after the campaign?

3. Identify the metrics you need data for to answer those business questions.

Mentions, sentiment, and engagement are among the most important social media metrics to measure, and each provides a wealth of information.

• Mentions (online posts) can tell you about the amount of conversations around an interesting topic. This is particularly powerful information when analyzing volume changes over time.

• Sentiment (positive, negative or neutral messages) can tell you about the nature of those conversations and whether they help or damage your brand.

• Engagement (such as likes, comments, and favorites) can tell you which mentions on the topic your audience is most interested in.

This data can drive countless business strategies. For example, to answer Company X’s first business question — how business-related online conversations changed after the social campaign — listings for a period of time both before and after the campaign’s launch would need to be analyzed to determine whether the campaign led to more conversations. . Then the topics of those conversations should be analyzed to determine what, if any, are related to the campaign.

In the second question—what prompted loaded commentary on the brand after the campaign—Company X should isolate negative and positive mentions related to the brand and the campaign to determine which topics may have sparked those conversations.

4. Collect and analyze the data for each metric to answer your business questions.

Analysis is often the most challenging aspect of the social listening process. Tools are available online to help businesses create social listening reports that meet more standard, basic needs. Organizations can also assemble an in-house team of data analysts and scientists who can help collect and analyze the data for each business metric to answer your questions. A data analyst is responsible for finding answers to a series of questions in the data, while a data scientist is responsible for creating new questions. Your data analysts can extract meaningful insights from the data and your data scientists can predict the future using patterns from the past.

What are examples of how brands can apply social listening and audience data?

• Crisis prevention: Brands can leverage social media data to power a real-time alert system triggered by certain topics or mentions by influential users. Early detection of these messages can help companies implement strategies to reduce negative impacts or maximize positive impacts.

• Interest identification: Data about social media users discussing certain topics can be used in social network analysis, where users are clustered according to their interests. Network centrality scores are used to rank interests based on the strength of users’ association with them. This intelligence gives brands insight into ways to approach and engage with their target audiences.

• Brand attorney identification: The ranking system used in identifying interests can be used to identify influencers among a community of users associated with a common interest. Brands should use this information to identify brand advocates.

• Online persona development: Social media also provides ample opportunity to explore particular communities in greater detail, allowing researchers to virtually interact and attend events with community members. This research, called netnography, is often used to dig deep into the identities, practices, values, or rituals of members of specific communities that are influenced, created, or expressed by technology consumption.

These are just a few examples of how social media data can be used to inform the development and execution of marketing strategies. Social listening has become a source of invaluable information for businesses. Understanding what audiences think about brands can help companies improve, innovate and, most importantly, give their brands a competitive edge.

While there are many advanced social listening applications, brands looking to develop their own social listening practice can start by setting clear goals for how they want to use it. Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

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