What if you had the incredible superpower of reading people’s minds? In your personal life, although it may be a questionable one; but the benefits of listening to people’s thoughts about your business are infinite.
Imagine this: someone just posted a comment on Twitter about one of your products or services. On the other hand, in another part of the world, an article featuring your company about being one of the most socially responsible organizations of 2020 was published that garnered many plaudits. A thousand miles away, a Reddit user started a thread complaining about your customer service.
You and everyone on your team (from public relations to social media to marketing) can access all this data and information in real-time with a few clicks on your computer with the help of social listening. While it is not exactly about reading people’s minds, it is as close as it gets.
Hence, as digital channels proliferate and consumers find myriad ways to share their opinion, feedback, and experience about your business and its products or services – both directly and anonymously, social listening helps to monitor and analyse such data and information.
What Is Social Listening?
Social listening goes by many different names: buzz analysis, social media measurement, brand monitoring, social media intelligence, and social media monitoring. While these terms do not exactly mean the same thing, you will often see them being used interchangeably.
Social listening is the monitoring of your brand's social media platforms for customer feedback, direct mentions of your brand, and discussions regarding related keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by an analysis of this data to gain further insights and act on these opportunities. It is a two-part process. The first part is social monitoring that keeps track of social media mentions, discussions, and conversations. The second part is the analysis and actionable responses that help you make improvements to meet the needs and requirements of your customers.
Why Do You Need Social Listening?
According to a recent survey about the use of social listening tools, it says that among marketers and business owners,
83% use it to improve their brand’s exposure
69% use it to boost their website traffic
65% make use of it to give them better insights into their targeted markets
Hence, social listening gives business owners and marketers access to what people are saying about their brand, industry, or competitors across social media and the web – often without people being aware that they are listening. It also finds root causes for social conversations and helps to implement changes to improve social media strategies. They can also create appealing offerings for your target audience - both in the form of products or services and content and advertisements.
Here are five benefits of using social listening for monitoring and analysis:
1. Help understand the market – It can help you gain a better understanding of the market such as prevalent needs for new products or services, industry trends, market demands, etc.
2. Help understand your competitors –It can provide a good competitive analysis and monitoring system of your competitors, enabling you to have an overview of what they are doing. This will give you a clear advantage over your competitors.
3. Help understand your customers – You can help your customers by knowing and understanding their needs and requirements with the help of social listening.
4. Help understand your prospects – Social Media can be a powerful tool for generating leads and engaging with your potential customers. Although, most of these prospects will not immediately convert into paying customers as they will need to gather more information and insights about your products or services before opting for them. This is where social listening steps in!
5. Help provide better customer services – Your business must provide efficient customer service and retention programs, to generate consistent repeat purchases.
Top Ten Social Listening Tools
Now that you understand why this process is vital for your business, let us look at the following social listening tools so that you can choose the perfect one for your business:
HubSpot provides more than just social listening; it lets you manage all of your social media from one platform. You can build marketing campaigns, share content like blog posts and landing pages, automatically distribute content to various social channels, and discover the best times to post, all in one tool.
Hootsuite offers a wide range of tools that helps you to manage and monitor your social media activity. It allows you to view all your messages, comments, and brand mentions across several social channels in one concise dashboard from which you can respond to them all. You can also track influencers and leads that can be imported and shared with others in your company.
Buffer is a popular social media management tool that lets you post content and engage directly in the replies from one centralized dashboard through a shared inbox. It makes it easy to find the conversations that matter the most, to join conversations right away, and to delight your audience.
It is a great tool to analyse the Twitter reach of your brand as it can tell you exactly how many Twitter accounts have reached your selected keyword, person, or hashtag. It gives you analytics on impressions, what users are mentioning when these tweets are being posted, who are the most impressionable followers that you should be targeting with your tweets and other such information.
BuzzSumo has a content discovery tool that identifies your most popular posts across different social media channels; it allows you to see the number of impressions and shares certain posts have with a domain. It helps you to gain insights about each post, as well as what types of posts garner the best results. It can even go as far as telling you what days and times of the week to post and what the ideal lengths your posts should be.
6. Sprout Social
Sprout Social has a social media management software that offers solutions to improve your interactions with users. It offers Twitter Listener dashboards and reports to analyse your Twitter presence. Furthermore, the platform uses real-time brand monitoring to track direct messages and brand-specific keywords.
Keyhole allows you to track hashtags, mentions, usernames, etc. on Twitter and Instagram. It offers impressive heat maps that show how mentions and engagement with your brand differ in different areas across the globe that allows you to understand your target audiences and interact more with those demographics.
SumAll is a great tool for businesses as it helps you to analyse how your social channels are related to each other. The tool offers many metrics related to engagement on each platform. You can even receive a brief, daily email updates that compare previous weeks' metrics with current weeks' metrics to efficiently track your growth and make any necessary changes at that moment. It also provides an array of automation tools that makes scheduling a social campaign easy and convenient.
Mention helps to monitor your brand mentions all over the world. You can also select what content you would like to omit, to pay attention to those trends that matter. It also has a crisis management feature that can help your team endure a social media uproar.
Awario is a social listening tool that focuses on building brand awareness and is great for companies that are trying to grow their international customer base through social media engagement. It tracks keywords in all languages from all over the world, helps to monitor and respond to comments and build meaningful relationships with the target audience.
Pricing of Social Listening Tools
The number of social listening tools that are available in the market has increased rapidly as new tools are emerging now and then, many of which offer new features that are not available in the older ones.
Although free tools are available in the market, there are specific functionalities and features that are missing in them. To make maximum utilization of social listening tools, you need to opt for the premium versions or get a fully customized one. The pricing of the tools also depends on the features and functionalities they offer. Usually, the pricing for such tools starts from approximately Rs. 2 lakh per annum for each account.
The Bottom Line
Social media is still relatively new and is continuously evolving, affecting many aspects of businesses. Social listening provides the tools that you can help you get a better insight of what targeted audiences are thinking – so you can be in a better position to deliver what they need when they need it.
If you are interested in monitoring and analysing your brand's social media presence, let us know —we can help you. At Turiya Communications LLP, our team uses a wide array of social media tools for better SMM.