Using Social Listening to Power Up Your Brand Marketing
It’s no secret that social media is the ultimate tool for brand marketing. Everyone’s made the jump to it and has been using it rather extensively. Convenience, audience reach, flexibility, you name it—there are so many reasons for you to have social media in your bag of tricks. However, knowing what strategies to employ is just as important as the tools you use. Here’s one you probably haven’t heard of yet—social listening.
Social listening is an audience research tactic best suited for keeping tabs on three things: your competitors, your space in the industry, and the voices in your sector. Fi Shailes from the Content Marketing Institute maintains that social listening is underused despite most brands being on social media. Their presence on social media generates so much data that can be analyzed and interpreted through social listening, and the same, ripe data remains untouched by most.
Social Listening at a Glance
Before anything else, you need to know and understand what this underutilized tool is. Social listening is an audience research method for monitoring mentions of a particular topic, theme, brand, competitor, product, or person on social media channels, websites, and forums by using tailored query strings. On a search engine, for example, you would need to input a social listening search query. Social listening tools like Brandwatch, Falcon, and Socialbakers can be used alongside manually researching various platforms to achieve the best results.
Social listening is more than just monitoring the web for when specific keywords and how often they show up. You can use it to create better messages for your audience, determine what to do in your overall content plan, and make your brand distinguishable from your competitors. Here’s how you can do exactly that.
Social listening is beneficial in determining your audience’s behavior. By setting your listening tool to capture content with certain keywords, fit certain parameters or specific criteria, you could paint a picture of who your target audience is. This will help create messages that your audience would be likely to engage with. Having a sense of what your audience cares about is advantageous for your campaign to convince them to choose your brand.
Creating and maintaining a connection with your audience should be one of your long-term goals. The data you collect from social listening is helpful to this end. You want to have a good image, so you will need to present your brand with a bit of humanity. Social listening enables you to appear as much and avoid seeming too rigid or too corporate-y.
Social media is a world ruled by trends, and you can use these trends to gain more exposure. Knowing what topics people think about is key to grabbing their attention. However, hopping on a trend is not something to do a whim, and this is where social listening comes in. Do a search tailored to look for results on a recent period with the help of keywords and phrases. Also, you can include data from known opinion leaders in your industry.
Social listening addresses the various unknowns in content planning. It is helpful to plan content, and with the help of social listening, you can be sure that the content you’ve put together is useful in maintaining steps ahead of your competition. Trends, audience expectations, and the current industry situation are always subject to change, and social listening helps you navigate this path of unknowns.
Since everyone is on social media, sounding exactly like your competitors is a possibility. Your campaign could be summed up by Peacemaker and Bloodsport’s first encounter in The Suicide Squad. Unlike Peacemaker, you can’t rely on simply saying that you’re better all the time. Social listening can help you develop your brand’s unique tone and voice. Use your listening tool to create a word cloud for comparing social media content from you and your competitor. By creating a visualization of your activity, you can determine which words to retain and whether the language you use is similar. Also, this can help your graphics and design team create content and make changes to present layouts.
Brent Barnhart from Sprout Social captures the importance of uniqueness perfectly: “What you say (and how to say it) to your customers ultimately defines your brand.” Okay, so you are better, but how exactly? How are you going to show your audience that you are better? By using a different, efficient strategy that screams *your brand here*, that’s how.
Take Advantage of Social Listening for Brand Marketing
Social listening may be what your brand needs to power up your marketing. With it, you can save time and resources by determining what works and what doesn’t, setting priorities on what types of content you will make, and solidifying your place in the industry by convincing your audience to choose you and only you.
There is a ton of data out there waiting to be analyzed. Discover what your brand needs by practicing social listening today. You might have been waiting for your break for a long time, thinking that you’re doing all there is to do to meet your goals, but you don’t seem to have the results to back that up. If this is the case, then strap up and get ready to do some deep diving into knowing your customers, your competitors, and even your brand more than you already do.
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