7 Tips for Getting Started with Social Media Listening

7 Tips for Getting Started with Social Media Listening

If you’re new to social media listening, it can seem like quite the daunting task; there are so many different social media channels to track, as well as posts, tweets, and pins to consider.

If you’re trying to learn how to get started with social listening on your own, here are seven tips that will help you do just that!

1) Social listening - identify your objective

In order to understand how social listening fits into your social media strategy, you first need to be clear on your objectives. For example, you might want to use social media monitoring as a way to connect with your customers or as a tool for customer support.

You could also use it to measure and monitor your reach on social media. Once you know what you want from social listening, it’s easier to plan and implement.

Think about how to measure your objective: Whether you’re using social monitoring as a tool for customer support or just to monitor trends, success can be measured in different ways.

In many cases, monitoring or listening to a hashtag might be sufficient.

For example, if someone tweets #amazonfail about one of your products, Amazon can respond directly by asking what went wrong and whether they can help solve the problem.

2) Choose social media platforms you want to listen on

Starting your social listening journey can seem like a daunting task. But, don’t stress! The first step is to pick which social media platforms you want to listen on and focus your efforts there. You can always expand later.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to start with where your audience is currently spending their time: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even email and SMS if you want to get more specific.

Some brands are interested in general consumer conversations across these platforms while others might just be looking at one topic (travelers on Instagram discussing travel options, for example).

There are many options—it all depends on what you’re trying to learn about and what kind of insights you think are relevant to your business on a given social network.

Choose channels to listen on: Not all social media networks are created equal. Facebook and Twitter, in particular, offer a lot of valuable data.

But, you might be surprised at how much information can be gathered from other platforms as well.

If you’re looking for some creative options to add to your social listening program, it can be a good idea to start small and think outside of just the big two (Facebook and Twitter).

It may seem hard to believe but even something as simple as Instagram comments can provide valuable insights into what people think about your brand or what they want next from you!

3) Social media listening - design effective queries

If you want to use social media monitoring to support your marketing efforts, you’ll need to learn how to design effective queries and focus on relevant conversations.

A query is a question that asks a computer or another database to search for something of interest (in our case, answers to questions about our brand).

Good social listening queries: Avoid asking questions that can be answered by simple keyword searches. Instead, ask open-ended and specific questions.

For example, instead of simply asking Where can I find people talking about Apple? ask something like Where do Mac users typically discuss new features? The former question would give Google search results where people might mention Apple in passing—for example in reviews or forum threads.

Create a detailed list of keywords to search by: In order to create an effective query, you need to know what kind of content your customers are posting and sharing on social media.

You can find out by using an application like Brand24 that allow you to sort through conversations and identify keywords (in other words, common language patterns) in online conversations.

For example, if you own a juice shop, you might use keyword phrases like fruit juice, spinach juice or mango juice.

4) Approach each query from multiple angles

Does your company have customer support? If so, what does that process look like and how might you be able to integrate social media monitoring into it?

If not, is there an opportunity to partner with another organization and provide a joint customer support experience on social media?

Maybe you already offer customer support through one or more social networks. Does that mean you should also be monitoring other networks (e.g., Facebook)? How might you determine which discussions to engage in on different networks?

What’s at stake if your company isn’t engaged in these conversations, either on your own or in partnership with another organization? Could customers turn elsewhere if they aren’t satisfied by your brand’s participation in these conversations?

Social media monitoring provides valuable information to marketers and sales managers. It can reveal new market opportunities, inform product development, improve customer support, gauge public opinion about a company or brand (and its competitors), etc.

But that means it's important to get buy-in from your organization before you begin to monitor conversations on social media. You don't want to be surprised if people aren't ready to receive real-time social media reports in their day-to-day roles and responsibilities.

Communicate clearly about what kinds of results you're hoping to achieve and make sure everyone is aware of what they should expect as an outcome.

Then hold each other accountable during implementation by holding check-ins along the way and regularly reviewing progress together.

5) Automation - social listening tools

If you are looking to save time, you can use social media monitoring tools to listen on your behalf.

To do so, use a tool like Hootsuite or Sysomos to track mentions of your brand and/or competitors' brand mentions.

You can also set up alerts to notify you when there is an increase in mentions over a certain threshold so that you know when it’s time to take action.

Social listening tools will help filter out some of the noise, but make sure that you don't miss anything important!

Brand24 is our favourite tool as it’s easy to use and has many advanced features. For example, you can easily filter by language and region, set up alerts to notify you when there is an increase in mentions over a certain threshold, or even receive an email summary at a time that suits you.

It also comes with some great training resources such as webinars and web tutorials to help you get started.

6) Listen actively on social channels - social media management software

Social listening tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The functionality can vary, as can pricing models and data sources. Some tools are free to use, while others charge subscription fees.

The right social listening tool for you will depend on your needs, but at least initially, you want to make sure it provides some baseline capabilities like keyword monitoring, sentiment analysis and channel diversity.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – social media monitoring works best when you are listening on multiple channels at once. Using an online tool like Hootsuite or Buffer will help you to manage all of your accounts in one place.

If you’re looking to measure or monitor your social media reach, you’ll want to use a listening tool that allows you to track keywords and hashtags. This will help you identify when someone talks about your brand, product, or service on social media.

However, it’s important to note that there are a variety of different metrics and tools out there so what works best may depend on your industry and objectives.

If you’re using social listening as a tool to provide customer support, you’ll want to monitor your accounts and respond directly when people mention your brand.

It’s important to note that social listening isn’t always about responding. In some cases, it might be sufficient to simply monitor your brand social media mentions without actively engaging in conversations.

You’ll be able to track each channel separately and quickly identify emerging trends among them all. Start social listening by connecting your social media accounts through these tools and listen actively: follow hashtags relevant to your business, set up notifications so that you know whenever a new post from one of your followers comes out, and make sure that as soon as someone mentions or engages with you (say they @mention you in a tweet) that it shows up on your radar too.

Here, you can see at a glance whether any of these mentions include relevant keywords that you’re interested in and can choose to read them all, or only those that are important to you.

If you want to dig deeper into what people are saying about your brand and gain valuable audience insights, look out for a list of brand mentions from your social listening tool.

Understanding social sentiment is another benefit of social listening.

Negative sentiment is often your biggest concern. It’s important to be able to spot and address negative comments early because waiting too long could turn a simple complaint into a full-blown crisis.

Look for cues that customers are upset about something. Things like angry faces or question marks or sarcastic comments usually mean someone is frustrated or annoyed, which could easily become amplified if left unchecked.

Keep an eye on who is talking about your brand: if a customer has engaged with you recently it could be worth responding right away so that they know their voice has been heard.

Social listening is an easy way to improve your social media marketing and help your sales team too!

7) Learn from other social media listeners

The best way to learn how to listen effectively is to learn from others. Check out what other brands in your industry are doing, or check out some of our favorite social listening tools. If you already have a listener set up, take some time to dig into data and identify why people talk about you—or why they don’t.

If you want to build and maintain a great social media presence, you should start by listening to what your audience is saying on various social networks. Social listening is a relatively inexpensive way to stay connected to your customers and meet their needs.

Even if you’re not sure exactly how social listening will fit into your overall marketing strategy, knowing when and how to listen can give you an advantage in reaching more customers on social media.

If you aren’t currently using a listener, think about which of social platforms makes sense for your social media strategy and get started there!