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Social Media Listening: how to do it and learn from it

It’s easy to know what users are saying about our brand online, but do we realize the setting where this happens and the way they discuss both our and our competitors’ products? And how can we use that contextualization and semantics to create better messages for our clients and increase sales?

Let us introduce you to Social Media Listening.

What is Social Media Listening?

Social Media Listening is the collection and interpretation of all the mentions and reactions to a brand in digital social media, in order to understand user’s perception of brands and in which context they place it.

Social Media Listening (SML) differs from Social Media Monitoring (SMM), although they are parallel actions. The main difference is that SMM is more concerned about the direct engagement between users and brands and how to react to it.

SML, on the other hand, looks for brand references, to its products and services, and keywords related to its activity, beyond its own channels or direct mentions, in conversation in which it is not involved. The purpose is to comprehend more broadly customers real needs, when they do not adress brands directly.

SML focuses in context, to identify patterns:

  • in which circumstances is the brand discussed?
  • which hashtags (and related phenomena) are involved?
  • what kind of language is used?
  • how do users speak about the brand?

Social Media Listening is more comprehensive, less reactive than Social Media Monitoring, though both resort to the same body of data.

What can you do with Social Media Listening?

Time spent analyzing the conversations regarding brands and their activity can be pretty useful if the data is well interpreted and applied in actions that meet your clients’ needs.

You can invest in a content strategy that uses language closer to the users conversational tone, and discuss topics dear to them. You can share user generated content in which they refer the brand, adding more visibility and value to their effort and experience.
It is also important to identify influencers or core discussion groups related to the brand’s activity, to engage with in the future.

Knowing how to listen is the the beginning of a richer conversation. Brands can start conversations in social media groups – Facebook has a tailored solution for that – and create a community, by learning what makes its members tick and what opinions they have. With SML brands can identify conversation opportunities that would be ignored by SMM and share useful information with the users.

Brands should listen attentively to the social networks where they are present but also to the others, and be on the lookout for keywords related to their activity, their products, brand references and of their competitors. It is listening to understand, not to react.

Knowing how to analyze the conversation should turn you into a better participant. With SML brands can fish for keywords and hashtags used in the conversations they’re monitoring and include them in their content, addressing their concerns and desires, by better understanding the collective feel and logic of the crowd. By speaking the same language, strengthened by a a solid contextual background, you will make yourselves understood and reach users beyond the reactive effect.

By assembling this data together – by using tools like Google Alerts to other more specialized – you will have a refreshed, more global perspective that you can apply in your digital communication strategies, especially on social networks.

Do you want to understand what is being said about your brand? Get in touch, we’re all ears.

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