How to Improve Your Marketing with Social Listening

Apr 7, 2015

Social listening (sometimes referred to as social media monitoring) is a new method of market intelligence gathering that is rapidly replacing the traditional focus group research study. Marketers are monitoring online conversations on blogs, forums, and social media networks to gain insight and feedback about their customers, products, and marketing strategies.

social listening improves marketing

This process allows brands to hear about criticisms and problems with their products that may never see the light of day, and can even provide astute marketers with fresh insights into new product and service opportunities. Unlike traditional focus group research, social listening provides real-time consumer comments and opinions untarnished by the influence of moderators and other focus group participants.

The Benefits of Social Listening
Social listening is an important part of a broader social media strategy. Many marketers post updates every so often, respond to any direct questions or comments made by their audience, and call it a day. Social listening goes one step further – actively tracking conversations between audience members for the purpose of gaining an insight into how a given brand is perceived in the marketplace. Typical benefits of a social listening program include:

  • Marketing campaign performance tracking.
  • Identification of brand influencers.
  • In-depth understanding of customer needs and wants.
  • Early-warning notification of potential problems with your product.
  • Feedback on product pricing and promotional strategies.
  • The opportunity to build and strengthen brand loyalty by listening and responding to customer comments and criticisms.

How to Create a Social Listening Strategy for Your Business
Before setting up a social listening program, you should identify as many of the key influencers for your particular niche as you can find, along with the URL’s of their websites and blogs. The top three sources for finding the most influential bloggers for practically any niche are Klout, Kred, and PeerIndex. Be sure to check out Technorati – it’s the premier blog search engine, and can help you find the top blogs and bloggers covering your niche. Create a spreadsheet for this information, along with a list of the action keywords for your brand and niche.

1. Organize your notifications. Create a dedicated Gmail account for your brand. Gmail is free, it enables you to receive all of your notifications in one place, and allows you to create filters to automatically sort your incoming messages by topic or social media channel. If you’re just getting started with social media marketing, use your Gmail account for all of your social media profiles. Existing social media accounts should be updated with your Gmail address.

2. Organize your blog updates. If you have a Gmail account, you can set up an account at Feedly.com to organize and track all of your blog updates via RSS feed. Feedly allows you to create categories that will help you sort your content according to blog type. Be sure to set up a category for “RSS Mention Alerts,” which you’re going to be using in the next step.

3. Organize your social mentions with an account at Mention.net. Mention monitors millions of online social conversations, and provides real-time alerts whenever someone mentions your brand. Once your account is set up, import your Mention feed to Feedly.

4. Organize your social listening program for monitoring multiple conversations. A Hootsuite account allows you to create custom conversation streams around your keywords for each of your social media channels, and monitor everything from one convenient dashboard.