How Social Listening Works?


May 2, 2020

Social media listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of identifying and analyzing what is being said about you on the Internet. Social media listening should be the first thing you do when constructing a social media strategy. Here are 10 ideas to get strated:

  • Research where people are talking about you.
    • Facebook page, twitter, hashtags, LinkedIn groups…
  • Go beyond Facebook and Twitter.
    • Remember major social groups are not the only places people are talking about you. Here are few other places you could use: Blogs, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, Review Sites, Social bookmarking sites, Comment sections on industry websites, Mobile apps…
  • Create Keyword list that extends your listening reach beyond profile mentions.
    • People won’t always mention your name by talking about you. They may spell your name wrong or they may talk about your industry without mentioning your name. Put together a list of words people use to describe you, your industry, and your competitors, and track conversations around those keywords across the social web.
  • Make listening a company-wide endeavor.
    • Everyone in the company should be on alert for mentions both positive and negative. Create a reporting and communication plan for employees. For example have everyone email online brand mentions to one email address.
  • Listen carefully in your industry.
    • In every industry, there are those people who have established themselves as influential contributors. They often have large social followings, publish regularly to blogs, and speak at conferences. You want to create a list of these people and closely monitor what they are saying and how people are responding to them. Because they are regularly talking to your customers and potential customers, they are in a position to deliver authentic feedback on a consistent basis. Create a listening schedule that includes their blog posts, Twitter chats, Facebook mentions, LinkedIn forums, and so on.
  • Create categories to organize mentions.
    • Any number of topics may become part of your social media brand conversation. You’ll likely find this information flows into your stream in one large, unstructured mass. By assigning categories and manually (or automatically) moving content into categories, you’ll have a far better time reporting and understanding what people say about you. Keep your categories flexible to account for any changes you may need to make to your organizational structure.
  • Draft listening reports to help shape future marketing endeavors.
    • When you’re listening to dozens of sources across social media, you’ll likely find yourself sitting on a mountain of data. Creating solid reports is the only way you’ll be able to extract useful information. Try putting together the following information:
      • Sentiment analysis
      • Total mentions
      • Active networks
      • Pain points
      Ask data-related questions such as, “Are mentions going up or down over time?” or “Is positive sentiment increasing?” Doing this on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis will help present these insights to your team and shape current and future campaigns. Don’t let your organization be deaf to the way people perceive you in the marketplace; you can effect change through social listening.
  • Create crisis management plan before it’s too late.
    • Have you considered that social media adds a whole new level to the crisis management model? In today’s social landscape you may pick up the beginning of a crisis while listening to social channels, and you should be ready to act immediately. Creating a plan requires a lot of coordination and involves many departments within your organization, including PR, legal, product development, and any number of executives. It wont be easy, and getting everyone in one room to plan for a hypothetical situation can be challenging. But, when the alternative is an evolving crisis and no plan of action, you’ll be glad you put something to paper and prepared in advance.
  • Automate what you can, but don’t remove the human element.
    • The social listening process may be overwhelming depending on the size of your company. Social listening tools can help by automatically tagging certain keywords and assigning mentions to users based on subject matter. These automation steps can improve efficiency and allow you to spend more time engaging with people. But, you can’t leave it all to computers. Figure out what automation techniques work for you and allocate human resources where it makes the most sense. You’ll be more productive and your employees will be happier doing work that can’t be done by a robot.
  • Sentiment analysis is mixed bag, so fine tune the results.
    • Sentiment analysis refers to how you determine a consumer’s attitude toward your brand. Sentiment analysis tactics continue to improve over time, but there are some posts that simply won’t be properly tagged. Sarcasm, in particular, really trips up sentiment analysis programs, and for good reason. Keeping this in mind, you should always take a sample of your analyzed content when conducting sentiment analysis and make sure it looks properly tagged. Depending on sample size, you may want to manually switch over mentions that are not properly tagged. Note that doing this for every post is not realistic and defeats the purpose of using a tool, but you want to make sure you feel comfortable releasing your results.