Owned, earned, and paid.
Three words that should be part of every social media strategy.
Earned media bridges the gap between your organic content and your paid strategy. It allows you to learn what people are saying about you, making social listening queries invaluable for seeing how your brand and products are being discussed beyond your social feeds.
Below you can find 5 ways social listening can be used to gather all the valuable bits of data your brand can use.
1. Campaign Monitoring
Social listening is a great way to get a full picture of how your campaigns are received by the public. You can make the good great and tweak or cut anything that does not appeal to your target audience.
And why would you want to miss out on the big opportunity of having your customers working as part of your marketing team?
Setting up social listening projects that cover your current campaigns (e.g. via tracking your campaign hashtag) allows you to also find all the great user-generated content your fans are already producing across all digital channels and gives you the chance to amplify those consumer voices, thus involving your customers.
Pro tip: Create a word cloud around your campaign to create clarity on what should be monitored and set up an alert to be on top of peaks.
2. Content Inspiration
Use social listening to get inspired by industry trends, competitors, or other brands that are great on social. Evaluate your own content strategy to identify potential whitespace. Instead of mimicking what is already out there, you can put up fresh content topics that haven’t received much love from your industry.
Let’s look at the sports fashion industry for example. Evaluating their content quickly shows us that there are two content categories. Either athletes that don’t break a single sweat or those that climb the Himalaya. As a sports fashion brand, I would now fill the gap showing authentic people exercising including the challenges they might face on their 10k run.
3. Crisis Management
Are you ready in case of a crisis? Social Listening (especially paired with great community management) is one way you can prepare for any incoming 💩-storms.
It can happen to every brand: a missed message, a sub-par customer service incident, or a post that just misses the mark. It does not take much for your brand name to land in the social media hot seat.
When this happens, being reactive and taking quick action can mitigate the blast. Here, social listening can help you avoid the worst of a social media crisis by being prepared and ready for action.
Catch things early by tracking relevant keywords and see how people talk about your brand. Be sure to define what a crisis is and what is just a critique, it can be a team effort to set up social listening. It can be great to start with a workshop, consider inviting people from other departments for an additional point of view.
And if worse comes to worst, remember that your audience wants honesty. Listen to what is being said and what stands behind it. Ask open questions and mirror needs. Avoid standard replies and openly address the mistakes that have been made.
Pro tip: Download our social media crisis mini-guide for easy steps and best practice examples on how to avoid social media crisis. Need more help than that? Book a workshop with our strategy team to kick-off your crisis management strategy.
4. Brand Sentiment
Do you know how people feel about your brand? Monitoring brand sentiment means being able to react to both positive and negative happenings. And using social listening to do so offers you the opportunity to identify where both positive and negative feedback is coming from and lets you dig into what it tells your brand.
Find brand advocates and brand critics to work with and see if there is something you can learn from the reason for their negative sentiment.
And if sentiment does take a sudden dip, it gives you a chance to find the cause and make changes fast. This could mean removing a post, addressing something openly, or even taking a conversation privately.
5. Competitor Analysis
Social listening does not stop at monitoring and understanding what people say about your brand’s activities. It also allows you to dive into what they are saying about your competitors.
Digging into what is being said about others unlocks additional insights. Here the question is, what can I learn from my competitors? What are the topics they are currently posting about? What are the trending hashtags in our industry?. Those are the things social listening can help you uncover.
Pro tip: Choose the 4-6 brands you want to learn from. (Some ideas: direct competitors, inspirational first-mover brands, brands with similar business models or resources, and more.)