Social listening tools make it easy to check brand mentions, competitors, industry keywords and more. This information is both valuable and useful for any business, but it’s also easy to spend hours looking at large amounts of data and doing nothing with it.
The difference between social watching and social listening is action.
Social listening isn’t about how many people use your hashtags. It’s about how people feel about your business and what you do with that understanding.
In this article, we’ll cover how to use social listening tools effectively and find the one that best fits your needs.
Social listening is active listening
Before choosing the perfect social listening tool, you need to practice active listening. This is a form of listening mostly used in counseling and conflict resolution.
To listen actively, you need not only to hear what people are saying, but also to understand and remember what they are sharing. You must also respond conscientiously, timely and effectively.
Social listening is like active listening, so effective social listening tools not only collect relevant information, but also provide effective ways to distribute and respond to the information you collect.
Another consideration for social listening is how it affects your budget.
Depending on the scale of your business, it’s important to find a social listening tool that matches the investment your team can make in the insights it provides.
If you’re not sure where to start, these tools can help you better understand where your customers are most active and where your social listening efforts can have the greatest impact.
Note: Some tools offer limited access to platforms in the free version.
Be where your customers are
Another consideration for the right social listening tool is that you should listen to the places where your customers spend the most time. For example, there are loads of social listening tools just for Twitter, including TweetDeck, TweetReach, Twazzup, and Twitonomy.
As interesting as these insights are, if your niche is more active on Facebook than Twitter, it makes more sense to focus your social listening and engagement efforts on Facebook instead.
Start with your most popular channels
Are you selling from a real store? Social listening tools for your online ads like Adview for FB and Instagram Ads may be right for you.
Are you a private affiliate? Do you sell from an online store? These social listening tools for reviews and online forums can be a smart place to start.
Are you active on social media? These social listening tools cover all the most popular social media platforms. Be sure to research what platforms they cover, not all will follow platforms like YouTube or Pinterest.
Hashtags are also useful to watch, these are a few great options:
Do your best conversions come from your blog? These tools include blog posts, press articles, and more.
Focus your efforts primarily on the channel that is most effective for you in terms of conversions.
Next, develop a process for how you monitor, analyze and respond to the social listening data you collect on that channel. As you and your team get used to the process, add other channels for social listening that makes sense for your business.
Follow the correct information
Now that you’ve chosen the first channel you want to watch and what tool can help you watch that channel, it’s time to think about what you want to listen to.
Again, social listening tools make it easy to monitor everything. But if you don’t focus on your listening, you’ll have more data than time to act on.
There are four main questions most businesses ask:
- What do customers think of your brand?
- What do customers think of your competitors?
- What problems can you help your customers solve?
- Who can help you connect with your customers?
What do customers think of your brand?
You’ve created a strong logo and brand guide, but you may not be able to understand what your customers think of your business. Social eavesdropping allows you to eavesdrop on customer sentiment about your brand personality and can give you details on what you might want to change. This process can also help your team prepare for crises and moments of intense change.
What you need to watch for your brand:
- Your brand name and/or business name
- Your products, make sure to include common typos
- Brand messaging
- Names of visible stakeholders for your business
- Brand hashtags
What do customers think of your competitors?
Social listening tools can help you narrow your focus on where a competitor is winning and how you can improve or counter their efforts. These listening queries can give your business a better idea of customer expectations in your industry and how you can respond to those expectations.
Things to watch for competitors:
- Competitor brand names
- Competitor product names
- Competitor brand messaging
- Competing stakeholders
- Brand hashtags
What problems can you help your customers solve?
You can use social listening tools to monitor industry and niche specific topics. This process can help you identify trouble spots and build better buyer personas. Social listening tools can also make it easier to spot new trends early on.
If you’re new to keyword research, this is a good online course. Mastering keyword research can make it easier to spot new trends and long-tail keywords in your niche.
What to watch for your industry:
- Popular industry and niche keywords
- Industry hashtags
- demographic keywords
- target locations
- Industry trends
- Frequently Asked Questions
The best social listening tools for keyword tracking:
Who can help you connect with your customers?
The most important thing to do on social media today is to interact. Posting consistently and creating a good feed isn’t enough. Customers want to feel like they are part of an active community, and social listening tools can help you identify influencers and supporters who can advocate for your business online.
What to watch for influencers in addition to industry keywords:
- Names of influencers
- Political and social issues
- Industry events
The best social listening tools for influencers:
Make social listening a habit
Social listening is a continuous process. It’s important to regularly update and optimize your social listening tools to get the information you need.
Connect with your team
If you are part of a business team, there will be times when you will need help and outside expertise to find the right solution for your client. A single wrong answer or a long delay in response can quickly turn a small issue into a big one, so tools that can help streamline this process are essential.
Check out these social listening tools that can make it easier to share relevant information with other stakeholders in your customer service, marketing, and product development teams:
Take time to apply social listening insights
Set aside time in your calendar each week to act on social listening insights.
If your most mentioned product feature is also the one that receives the most complaints, this could be a sign of an easy way to improve your business. If a critically acclaimed product isn’t making a lot of noise, this might be a good place to set aside your ad spend.
Taking action can mean commenting on related posts, responding when your brand is mentioned, or planning new initiatives or products around customer conversations.
You may also want to choose a tool that sends email alerts and organize your replies around those emails.
These social listening tools include email alert options:
No matter how you choose to approach it, social listening can make a big difference in how your business responds to your customers’ needs. We look forward to seeing how you use these social listening tools to grow your business!