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Imagine you could discover what people said about you in their online conversations, without having to prompt them with feedback questions or cues. Think what it’d be like to learn about real life problems of your target group first hand, or find out who your customers really were and how they communicated on social media.

There’s actually a way of accomplishing all that and much more – it’s called social listening.

What is social listening?

Social listening (also referred to as social media monitoring) is the process of collecting online mentions of a predefined keyword or keyword phrase. In other words, you get notified whenever someone uses the word or phrase that you’re interested in.

You can monitor:

  • Brand or product names (i.e. “Survicate”),
  • Product categories (“website feedback software”),
  • Hashtags (“#survicate”, “#customerservice”, ”#feedback”, or any hashtag of your choice),
  • Or any phrases relevant to your business (“website feedback”, “recommend customer feedback software”, “how to gather feedback”, “online feedback”, “recommend feedback tool”, etc.).

 

How it works

If you want to start collecting mentions, all you need to do is choose your software and set up a project based on the keywords of your choice.

Social listening tools use algorithms which collect mentions (any instance of use) of your monitored phrase. These mentions appear in your Dashboard in real time so you can act upon them before your competitors do.

What’s in it for you?

There are a number of ways to grow your business with social listening, including brand management, reputation management, influencer marketing, social selling, community building, and marketing campaign analytics.

One of the most important things is that social listening lets you understand your existing customers, as well as find prospects to grow your business. This means you can not only improve your product, but also adjust your marketing communication to the way your customers talk.

You can also learn volumes about your competitors by listening to what their customers are saying. You can discover strengths, weaknesses, opinions, compliments, pain points, and concerns of their clients and use that knowledge to get ahead of them.

Take advantage of spontaneous feedback

Most people share their opinions online if they are extremely pleased or unhappy about a given product or service. These spontaneously expressed customer opinions can serve as a great source of knowledge about a product or company.

All you need to do is tune in to find conversations already taking place on the Web – here’s a couple of examples:

You can also learn about pain points typical of your industry, and not your product in particular:

Think you know about the conversations about you? You’re only partially right – you know of the ones you’re tagged in with your official handle. You’re missing the rest. Here’s a classic example of how hashtag monitoring could have helped a lot.

How to choose the right tool?

Social listening tools come in all shapes and sizes – here’s a couple of features you might consider when looking for one.

  • Real-time access to mentions allows you to act upon them before your competitors do (hint: long live social selling!),
  • Buzz analytics, such as reach and sentiment give you a better understanding of who is talking about you and what they are saying,
  • Ability to set filters so you can single out the most important information,
  • Influencer metrics to help you discover who you should be working with,
  • Ability to monitor industry leaders and direct competitors so you can estimate what works for them and what doesn’t,
  • Getting email or in-app notifications to help you stay on top of things,
  • Ability to share projects across teams and departments for easier cooperation.

Author: Karolina Piwiec, Content Jedi at Brand24 – a social listening tool used by over 30000 companies worldwide.