As a communicator, you’ve likely heard some variation of “The reason we have two ears and only one mouth is so that we may listen more and talk less.” Listening to your audience couldn’t be more essential for social media as part of your media monitoring plan.
What is social listening?
“Social media listening is about finding and tracking online conversations. Conversations around keywords, phrases, and events. Conversations about your brand and business, about your industry, and your competitors. Listening to conversations will help you find patterns and trends you can use to your advantage,” as described by our partner, Talkwalker.
Social listening begins with monitoring, which alerts you to what’s being said; however, that’s only part of the process. Social listening looks beyond the mentions, likes, and engagements to the meaning behind the mentions and what intelligence can be gleaned from those conversations.
Why is social listening so important?
In the guide referenced above, Meg says, “Brands can join conversations, and because they’ve listened, they can provide real help and advice, rather than thinly disguised sales messages. Brand visibility will improve, trust will increase, and this will lead to an increase in qualified leads.”
A valuable social (and media) monitoring and listening tool will provide useful insights for your brand (or client or organization) — and key competitors. It should help you identify the sentiment or mood around a topic being mentioned across social media platforms. It can improve customer service by being able to react quickly. It should also make it easy to track patterns, trends, share of voice, and identify your influencers. In doing so, you may even be able to address potential reputation crises before they ‘go viral’ or get other unwanted attention.
By combining printed news magazines and newspapers with online news, blogs, TV, radio and social media, you get a “360-degree view” of your communications (including measurement analytics).
The difference between collecting (monitoring alone) and genuinely listening is best described as “Monitoring sees trees; listening sees the forest.” Or, “Monitoring finds symptoms; listening finds causes,” as Dan Neely wrote for Marketing Profs.
How are PR pros using social listening?
According to a recent Talkwalker-YouGov report* on the State of Global PR, more than three-quarters (77%) say social media management and campaigns are a part of their PR offering. Interestingly, or perhaps alarmingly, fewer than half (48%) are using social listening and analytics tools. Yikes!
The same report showed the majority of respondents also say content marketing (77%), influencer marketing (67%) and link-building for SEO (56%) all part of their responsibility.
*The report was generated by the survey results of 3,700 respondents from 82 countries.
For more information on how the increased global use of social listening is impacting PR today, along with five steps you can use to win with social listening & analytics, sign-up for this free webinar on Thursday, February 4, at 1 pm EST / 11 am PST.
We think you’ll agree, there’s a lot you can learn about the ever-growing importance of including social listening as part of your media monitoring plan!