Social media listening begins by examining customer feedback, discussions, or mentions involving your brand regarding certain topics or events. This monitoring is followed by analysis to learn insights or react to opportunities or threats.

The action of listening, analyzing, and responding builds the concept of social listening. Being an active listener will allow your brand to understand your audience’s needs better, react to situations, and, most importantly, gain a competitive advantage over your competitors.

In this post, I will discuss some of the best tools for social media teams to do social listening, best practices to be active on social listening, and finally, real-life examples on the use of social listening.

Tools for social media listening

There are multiple programs that can fit your brand depending on its needs. Overall, you want to make sure that your app can:

  1. Firstly, have visibility of all incoming messaging in an easy to use platform where your team can participate.
  2. Secondly, allows you to track keywords, hashtags, or even other accounts like a competitor.
  3. Thirdly, allows you to build reports across time, including an analytics platform easy to understand.

To summarize, there are multiple programs that you can use; some will have a good free version but its probably best to invest in one of their premium packages to get the job done. They can range in prices from 120 to 200 dollars. My recommendations without any order are:

  • Social Bakers
  • Sprout Social
  • Hootsuite
  • Brandwatch
  • Mentionlyrics

How to do active social listening

Once you have selected your tools, you should get your team to get some training on how to make the best of it. Some of the best practices when performing social media listening are the following:

  • Define key players to monitor: This includes competitors, key opinion leaders, promoters, journalists, industry specialists, keywords, hashtags, among others.
  • Build a dashboard to easily compare your analytics evolution.
  • Periodically monitor search trends and topics on your industry. You can use tools such as the google trends tool.
  • Engage with your customers, no matter if it’s a negative, neutral, or positive comment.
  • Analyze reports with your team periodically, apply learnings, and adapt.
An example of social listening
An example of a failure of an Airline to listen to their customers, making them take it out online, and harming the brands reputation.

Customer complaints and crisis management

Social media listening can prevent public relations crises and improve customer retention. Let’s start will small cases; for instance, a customer complains of a late flight in the airline industry.

According to research published by Harvard Business Review show that just by having their issues responded, customers were willing to pay a 9-dollar premium in comparison to brands that didn’t answer their complaints.

The study also shows that if the response is fast, or under five minutes, that premium can go up to 20 dollars, that’s could mean a 5% price increase on the average flight ticket price in domestic flights in the United States.

On personal experience, I once worked in a PR agency with an airline client. We faced a crisis with a plane crash, in which luckily there were no casualties. Nonetheless, this generated quite the buzz on social media, blogs, news outlets.

For example, in this case, by listening, we were able to identify the government response, syndicates response, and overall public opinion. Using this, we were able to develop key messages to bring calm and professionally respond to a crisis. Sales were not affected after the incident, so we can claim that the crisis was contained.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s article. If you like this post, you might want to check out last week’s article  How to create social media content. If you have any questions, please leave a comment on the section below.

Photo by Avery Murray on Unsplash