Social Listening: What is it and Why is it Important?

Listening is an essential part of communication. Arguably even more important than speaking and writing combined.

A study at the University of Missouri found we spend an average of 70-80% of our waking hours communicating with others. The biggest bulk of communication, 45% to be exact, involves listening.

Now this study was done before social media even existed. Since the dawn of social media, a new form of listening has emerged with it: social listening.

What is Social Listening?

Social media listening is the method of collecting and analyzing data from people who mention your brand via social media platforms.

Because of this, big brands pay big bucks for social listening software. Manually tracking this information when you have thousands of emails, posts, and reviews flooding in each day is next to impossible. And not listening to the feedback of your customers is a big faux pax when it comes to content marketing.

For smaller businesses, these analytic tools can be helpful but not necessarily in the budget. Automation is great, but there are ways to listen to your target audience without breaking the bank.

Instagram insights provide free analytical data for business profiles, one of the reasons why it’s a leading social media platform for content marketing going into 2020.

RELATED: Business Instagram Insights 101

How does Social Listening Help Your Business?

 

Gives you fresh ideas

Because constantly coming up with original marketing campaigns and content sounds exhausting unless you’re a bottomless pit of creativity. And even if you are, don’t discredit the creativity of your followers.

Collaboration is an amazing thing. Businesses supporting businesses, women supporting women, people supporting people…forget the cutthroat culture and embrace the idea of collaboration. We’re all in this together.

So encourage feedback through things like contests and surveys. Ask questions and LISTEN TO THE ANSWERS.

RELATED: 5 Easy Ways to Engage Your Followers

Allows you to personalize content

There’s no doubt about it, authenticity and personalization are IN as we approach 2020 (I know, I can’t believe 2019 is almost over either). Understanding and analyzing feedback from your audience helps you,

  1. better understand the key demographics of your audience
  2. develop content personalized to their needs

Which leads us to the next benefit of social listening.

Connects with customers on a deeper level

Social media allows a line of communication that runs deeper than your traditional advertisement methods. It allows you to think outside of the box and connect with your customers in a way that wasn’t possible before its existence.

Because of these new possibilities, people aren’t simply buying products. Customers are making conscious decisions to support companies that align with their own values. 

As a business, you should have a clear understanding of your core values. But you should also take the time to understand the common values of your target audience, too.

This is what separates YOUR business from your competition. It’s what keeps people coming back for more and wanting to share your products with the people they love.

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Constructive criticism

It would be nice if all feedback was sunshine and rainbows, but then you would never grow. Constructive criticism is one of the most useful tools when it comes to business success.

Bad reviews and negative comments do two things:

  1. Highlights areas of your business that can be improved
  2. Creates an opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer into a loyal supporter of your brand

Both can only be done if you approach the situation with humility and professionalism. We all make mistakes and these mistakes can be amplified in a split second as a business through the viral (and at times volatile) nature of the internet.

Don’t be afraid to apologize and improve. We are all human, mistakes are a part of life. But turning them into a chance to learn? Now that takes thinking like a true BOSS.

Best Social Listening Tools

If you are interested in analyzing data on a more automated level, there are several software platforms that can help. Ultimately, it is up to you and what is best for your business.

Take a look at your priorities. Do you have the time to scan hashtags and mentions? Are you able to respond to comments consistently and in a timely manner? Or are you overwhelmed by feedback, unable to find the time to sort through them all?

If time is more precious than money, social media analytics might be the way to go. There are many different platforms to choose from with the pros and cons associated with each. Check out the article below for a more in-depth look at your options.

RELATED: Top 10 Best Social Media Analytics and Automation Software

Need more customer feedback to listen to?

Having an overwhelming amount of audience feedback is a good problem to have. But what if there isn’t enough feedback to analyze to begin with?

That’s where Localfluence comes in. We partner with businesses and local influencers to boost a brand’s online presence and get people talking.

Learn how to grow your business and schedule a demo today!