There is an old Turkish proverb that says, “If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” Big or small, every business does well to remember this adage by investing in social media listening — it really is “gold.” That is to say, it leads to better ROI and faster business development.
What Is Social Media Listening?
This type of marketing R&D can be divided into two categories: social media monitoring and social research.
Social Media Monitoring: This is a focused, daily monitoring of social media events directly related to your company, product, or brand. Following Twitter hashtags relevant to your company is a good example of social media monitoring. The purpose of monitoring is to track brand mentions with PR, brand protection, and customer relations in mind.
Social Research: This is a wider look at social media, which analyzes what consumers are talking about and what interests them. Think of an anthropologist studying tribes in their native environment. Social research aims to capture candid conversation in order to understand why people do what they do or buy what they buy.
Advantages of Social Media Listening
Listening might be considered the social media marketing equivalent of traditional marketing’s focus group. However, that comparison doesn’t do justice to social media listening, which is far more efficient and effective than traditional marketing focus groups. Social media listening:
- Grants access to quicker results.
- Involves large sample sizes.
- Gathers unfiltered, natural reactions.
- Answers the questions that researchers would not even think to ask.
- Gives marketers the ability to change strategies on the fly.
In short, because social media listening is able to be done subtly and in real time, it allows for a faster and more realistic understanding of candid consumer thinking and patterns.
Social Media Listening Starts With Optimization
Social media optimization is an important first step toward effective social media listening. Social media optimization means making your website content as easy and enticing to share as possible. Obviously, this means having interesting and relevant content that people will want to share on social media. But including widgets or links that make sharing content easy is important as well.
Having content shared on social media not only promotes your brand, it also builds a base for a company’s social media listening program, because it helps establish the type of individual who is interested in the company. Knowing this will help determine the company’s listening objectives and where to listen, which are the first two steps in creating a social media listening plan. After that, the company can begin selecting listening tools and setting up a listening structure, either within the company or by hiring a marketing firm.
Advertisements have always been, and continue to be, a staple for business growth and development. But for the first time, consumers are able to react, and marketers are able to gather feedback, in real time. That is an advantage that cannot be taken for granted. To reinvent that Turkish proverb, “If advertising is silver, social media listening is gold.”
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