From community management to content strategy and everything in between, social listening is a powerful tool that every area of social media marketing can (and should) leverage. Why? It’s simple: the data! Social listening tools provide a treasure trove of metrics and insights that give your brand the clarity they need to stand out and stay ahead.
With its value in mind, it’s no surprise that many marketing departments are already using some kind of social listening tool to monitor, measure, and track their online conversations. As a B2B-focused digital agency, Social Tribe has had plenty of interactions with social listening vendors, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that not all tools are created equally. So, the question becomes: are you really using social listening effectively? Starting from the capabilities to look out for to actually getting into the tool and making full use of its features, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow list to help you unlock its full potential.
If you’re starting from scratch, you’re in a great position to get specific with what social listening needs to help your team achieve. Remember, the heavy lifting you do now will pay off once you’re inside the platform.
Here’s what you need to consider with any social listening tool:
- How many user seats are included?
- How many saved searches or queries are included?
- What are the API integrations?
- How many reports can be made per month?
- Is the data sampled or the full ‘firehose’ of content?
- How far back in time can the tool go to pull data?
This is just a starting point, but enough to get you thinking about how making the most of social listening starts by asking the right questions. Let’s say you’re part of the marketing team of a large enterprise. You need a social listening query for overall brand health, but you also want to see what your competitors are up to, what industry thought leaders are saying, or which trending topics you should weigh in on … but your package only includes one user seat and a maximum of five listening queries. This doesn’t leave a lot of room to scale! This is often the point where brands consider turning to outside agency support to cover social listening services, but if you’re set on keeping things in-house, you can save yourself time and money by understanding exactly what you’re signing up for. After that, it’s time to enjoy the full benefits of the software itself.
Boolean, Sentiment, Entities – Oh My!
If you’re a first-time social listening user, picking up the lingo might seem like a daunting task. Struggling to write your own Boolean query? Trying to understand the difference between entities and keywords? Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a novice marketer, there’s a lot to take in when you’re looking at social listening data. Fortunately, the best vendors are there to help you along the way. Our tool of choice, Meltwater, offers custom training in addition to a library of on-demand resources and tutorials to help master all things social listening. Be sure to check in with your customer success manager to find out how they can help you harness the tool in the best possible way. Once you have a good handle on the language, it’s time to explore the reporting capabilities further.
There’s a Widget for That
Although the interface of social listening platforms may differ from one vendor to another, they often offer similar data points and views. This means for any query, you should expect to be able to see the number of mentions, sentiment, top conversation drivers, top keywords, top hashtags, and top entities. Here’s a closer look at some of the widgets that Meltwater offers for social data in particular:
Your choice of widgets will likely vary depending on the content source, so be sure to make full use of them. The right widgets mean the right data, which means the right insights for your brand! With these widgets, you can drill down on and analyze your data in so many different ways.
Here’s some of what we can do for our clients using listening data:
- Overall brand health assessment and report
- Industry trends, influencers, and topics
- Competitor and industry landscape
- Event monitoring
- Content analysis
Once you know how your reporting or monitoring widgets can help to guide your marketing strategy, the sky truly is the limit.
Social listening has a lot of potential to get brands the insights they need to stay ahead – but understanding how and when to use it properly can be challenging. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about social listening here at Social Tribe, it’s that every brand can draw value from social listening, but not every team has the time to run a robust program alone. Still unsure if you’re making the most out of social listening, or curious to learn more about how we could step-in or even complement the work you’re already doing with it? Our team is here to chat!