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Why it pays to monitor and listen to your audience on social media

Social media has become such an essential tool for businesses to interact with their customers. And while you might like to think you’re engaging with audiences on a human level – what you’re really doing is trying to bump up those sales numbers. So how can you use social media better? By social listening! Here’s how.

What is social media listening?

No longer is social media only about staying in touch with friends, family and long-lost school mates. It’s a place where businesses and consumers interact on a daily basis. So as a business owner, how do you leverage those interactions for increased profits?

The solution: by listening to what people (whether they are your customers or not) are reallysaying about your brand. That’s not just what you thinkthey are saying, but how they truly perceive your brand by their actions online.

In a nutshell, social media listening is a way to identify and then analyse what people are saying about your brand. And when you combine the right social media listening strategywith the right social media monitoring tools, you could very well see your sales skyrocket.

4 reasons why it’s so important

Ask any social media expert why it’s essential that you have a social media listening plan and you’ll likely get dozens of reasons why it’s so important. And they’d be right – if you’re using social platforms, you need to know what people are saying.

But as a business owner, there are a few hard-hitting benefits that make social listening so worthwhile:

  • Measure your campaign’s performance: Social media listening allows you to measure how your short-term campaigns are performing online. This gives you the ability to analyse certain metrics (such as the volume and sentiment of conversations), which can influence whether your paid investment is worthwhile.
  • Tweak your strategy in real-time: Whereas previously you’d deploy a set-and-forget strategy, now you can listen to what people are saying about your brand and tweak different elements accordingly. This saves you time and – potentially – valuable clients.
  • Jump on problems before they get out of hand: Social media listening can help you uncover major pain points. This means you can tackle any issues that are in the burgeoning phase, and therefore prevent additional backlash against your brand.
  • Discover influencers: Want to know who reallyloves your brand? Now you can. Listen to who is advocating for your brand and discover influencers you can potentially partner with.

Brands that are really listening to their customers

Some brands are simply brilliant at managing their social accounts. Take, for example, QantasDelta and Porsche on Twitter.

But social listening goes beyond just responding to customers in real-time. It’s about taking actionable steps from what you learn. Jeff Bullas compiled a pretty insightful write-upon how some brands have created entire products based on what they heard people saying on social. These include:

  • Netflix creating smart socks to pause your show when you fall asleep.
  • Fitbit creating ‘reminder to move’ push notifications.
  • L’Oreal revamping their entire product strategy based on social interactions.

If nothing else, social media listening is the great equaliser in marketing – you don’t need to have a corporate budget to do it right.

Quick and dirty tips to listen on social media

  1. Select a few social platforms to listen on – just one or two to start with!
  2. Get the right social media listening tool. Some are free, some are paid. If you’re inexperienced, play around with some free trials until you find an interface that matches your abilities.
  3. Set up real-time alerts so you can stay abreast of any important conversations.
  4. Keep in contact with customers, responding to their requests as quickly as possible.
  5. Use the data to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to make major changes if that’s what the people want.

Want to know what people are saying about your brand on social but don’t have the time to manage your own social media listening strategy? Contact usto find out how we can help.

You can also read more about content, social media and all things marketing at The Beat.

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