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7 Reasons Why You Need to Do Social Listening

Social listening is really no different than in-person listening. It’s like walking into a party, approaching a group of people, listening to what they’re saying and then joining in with valuable insight or a question. Instead of doing it in-person though, you’re doing it online.

Here’s what you need to know about it, including how it can help your business grow.

What is social listening?

It’s using keywords to listen in on what people are saying about a particular topic, your brand, and the products or services you sell.

How does it work?

It’s pretty similar on each social media channel. Type your keyword or hashtag into the search box, and the latest tweets and posts for that keyword/hashtag will appear in your search results.

Look at the comments, questions, and overall sentiment. This is raw data that needs some love. Spend some time analyzing what you’re seeing so you can create content that resonates with your target market’s current challenges.

Beyond understanding what your target market cares about, social listening can also become a very important part of your sales or customer service processes. If your company, product, or service is mentioned, you’ll know – and you can respond right away. If people are talking about the types of products or services you offer, join the conversation – not to sell, but to be helpful (more on that below).

7 reasons to do social listenings

I would argue that social listening is most helpful for companies that are not face-to-face with prospective clients all the time. In a retail store, you can simply ask customers. Many B2B or e-commerce small businesses don’t speak in person with dozens (or hundreds) of customers every day (Jansen Communications included).

We do social listening for ourselves and for our clients. These are the seven benefits we see over and over again:

1. Learn what your audience is actually talking about

What you think people talk about and what they actually talk about aren’t always the same thing. This is why social listening is so helpful.

Say your target market includes female golfers. You might think they care most about finding LPGA pros for lessons, but social listening reveals they’re also talking a lot about finding other female golfers to play and travel with. Having that information opens up a lot of new opportunities!

2. Get the dirt on what works for your competitors

It’s always good to know what the competition is up to so you stay ahead of the game and avoid missing out on anything (like a new best practice). Go ahead and check out your competitors online to see what they’re posting and what people are engaging with.

3. Find – and jump on – the latest trends

New trends can pop up and gain steam unexpectedly. Think cronuts, classic Adidas sneakers, man buns, zip lining, and white subway tile with black grout.

Because it’s hard to stay on top of trends when you’re busy running your business, use social listening as a shortcut. Of all the social platforms out there, Twitter and Facebook make it easiest to find new trends that people are actively talking about.

4. Uncover new keywords and hashtags

If your audience is using a new keyword or hashtag, you want to know about it. Remember how hot the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday was a couple of years ago? It was easy to join in, have fun with it, and engage new (and more) people.

Likewise, new keywords come into use as our technology-driven first world changes. Internet of Things, or IoT, was a term little-known outside of the tech world until the last year or so. Now it’s pretty common in industries as varied as consumer appliances and smart houses.

5. Join conversations

As I mentioned above, being able to join a conversation, provide helpful information, and increase your visibility is a huge benefit of social listening.

And don’t forget that you’ll be able to ask people directly what their biggest challenges are, what they care most about, what confuses them, what makes their lives easier – all great intel.

6. Find prospects

When people are actively talking about what you sell, it’s likely they are doing research before they make a purchase. You can absolutely use it as an opportunity to introduce yourself and quickly explain how you can help them.

7. Increase your visibility

It’s pretty obvious by now, but the more you listen online, the more you can help others, get to know people, become a known quantity, and attract more clients. It’s a very nice feedback loop.

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