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.
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.
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