We’ve seen it time and time again: organisations quick to jump into creating social media accounts with the hope of conversing with their audiences, broadcasting message after message, then proclaiming, “mission accomplished” without sparing a single thought at what others are saying back.
What’s wrong about this picture? Well… it’s not really a conversation, is it? Cue, social media listening.
Social media listening goes beyond just trying to interact a tweet at a time. Instead, it paves the way to effective communication, helping us understand real conversations, real people, and real needs and opinions. While there are a number of tools that can assist with identifying these opportunities, the challenge isn’t collecting the data, but in aggregating the results and knowing what to do with them. So what value does social media listening hold for us?
- It helps prevent crises: We’ve seen numerous examples of companies neglecting negative feedback from customers via social media, only to find that individual posts have attracted hundreds of shares, consequently creating negative buzz and harming the company’s reputation. Social media listening allows us to monitor what is being said about brands and respond appropriately to negative sentiments, therefore preventing crises through issues management.
- It allows us to understand the audience: Social media listening is crucial at several stages of campaign planning. Monitoring conversations on Twitter can help investigate the overall sentiments held by different publics, while also giving a sharpened insight into their specific preferences, online habits and other information.
- It simplifies media scanning: By using a monitoring tool, finding media coverage can be done with a simple click. This facilitates PR evaluation in terms of determining the success of journalistic engagement and mentions in the media.
- It helps evaluate and plan future campaigns: Social media listening allows us to measure the success of current campaigns, while helping to plan strategy and tactics for future ones. Tools can be used to analyse key aspects such as sentiment, location and topics, while identifying which channels hosted the most and least interaction, and which topics drove conversation.
- It can turn negatives into positives: We all know that no one can control what is being said about a brand in the online environment and it’s simply impossible to please everybody. Listening in on conversations on social media and responding promptly to negative comments, providing feedback/support or offering information are the right tools for showing the proficiency in customer service and deep concern regarding customer satisfaction.
Social media is too difficult to focus your efforts only on random interactions on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t leave your organisation in the dark. Keep an ear out, you might even find some compliments while you’re at it.