Hey, Hey Anybody Listening?

Marketing on social media is about posting great content. It is also about listening. In fact, effective monitoring and listening is probably the factor that separates good online marketing strategy from great online marketing strategy.

With so many conversations happening online, it is very valuable for brands to listen in and stay in touch with sentiment around their brand, their competitors and their niche.

Social listening doesn’t just happen. You need an intentional plan – a strategy – to make sure you are regularly taking time to assess what’s happening among your target audience.

Focus on Your Goals

You should have goals behind your social media strategy. Your listening program needs the same.  Define what you want to achieve with social listening in order to maximize the effectiveness.

Your goal might be:

  • Reputation monitoring
  • Market research
  • Identify influencers
  • Search engine insight

Know Your Target Audience

You need to get a deep understanding of your target customer. Yes, you want “everyone” to love you and your brand, but that isn’t going to happen. Who do you really need to reach?

Define everything you can about your target audience. Go beyond basic demographics and understand their behaviors and motivations. Where do they hang out online? What motivates them to read, comment, share?

Take a look at the people you are connected with as well as the people who engage with competitors. Gather as much intel as you can. The more specific you are about your target, the more effective you can hone your listening.

Track Trends

Most trends are born on social media these days and are heavily discussed there.  Monitor social channels, discussion forums, news, and blogs with an eye toward identifying emerging trends.

Use Tools

Once you know your goal, who you are listening to, and what you need to find, you can identify one or more tools that will help you listen. Many of my favorites are free:

Act When Needed

As you listen you will come across questions and comments that need your immediate attention. You can listen and show you are engaged at the same time. Just don’t forget the listening part.

People use social media as a way to communicate their questions, desires, and complaints to a brand. Further, they assume that brands are on social media, and tuning into such comments.

  • Respond to complaints quickly
  • Answer questions
  • Respond to positive mentions



Fix Your Social Media Thinking

Social media is not a new marketing tool. You think you have got it figured out. Best practices have changed over time leading some marketers to use outdated tactics that are actually working against success.

Followers Don’t Equal Success

Followers and on-platform engagement alone will not help grow your business. Marketers who are tracking the number of followers and/or the amount of likes they get on a post are making a huge mistake.

Metrics such as impressions, website visits, time on site, conversions, and bounce rate are more insightful. These show you how social media activity helps you meet your business goals.

Lots of Posts, No Impact

Posting is not enough. The content needs to be meaningful to your audience. Provide information about why your brand exists, how you do what you do, and the benefit to customers. Content should speak to audience interests and be easy to understand.

Learn from Every Post

There is no one way to find success on social. Your brand, your goals, your audience and your story all add up to define a unique path to success. Look at your data to learn about what works, what doesn’t, and to find opportunities.

Social Media Isn’t the Whole Answer

A big mistake that a lot of brands make is thinking that social media alone makes a great marketing plan.  You need a complete online presence: a high-quality website, email marketing, and a solid search engine marketing approach. All of these elements need to work in concert to advance toward your goal.

Elements to Consider for Your Instagram Strategy

The potential for connecting with customers on Instagram grows as the number of users and features steadily increase. Here’s a look at some important features to consider in your Insta strategy.

Instagram Verification

Take the steps to apply for a verified account. Users with a larger following can request verification. This increases credibility and also helps to stop copycat accounts.

Add Hashtags to Your Profile

Instagram now allows clickable hashtags and mentions in your profile bio. Brands can promote campaign hashtags in the bio, enabling followers to click on it and see all of the content posted.

Engagement Tools

Instagram offers likes, comments, and story view metrics. There are also interactive stickers, including the emoji slider, polls and questions. Use all of these to get engagement and gather feedback from your audience.

Long Form Video

Research suggests that people  increasingly watch  long-form videos on their smartphones. Instagram’s IGTV gives users a chance to share longer vertical video on Instagram.

Ads in Stories

Instagram Stories is one of Instagram’s most popular areas.  Stories ads allow businesses to insert full-screen promotions, sandwiched between the stories of the people a user follows.

Sharing for Stories

Previously if someone mentioned you in their story and you wanted to share that update with your followers, you had to take a screenshot. Now there is an “Add This to Your Story” option. This makes it easier to repost mentions from other users.