If your childhood was anything like mine, then you were probably told at least once to “listen before you speak.” It’s a near constant mantra that I remind myself when I unwittingly make an old-school “that’s what she said joke” in the presence of diplomats at any of the quarterly embassy parties in Washington D.C. In the digital era, the phrase might need to be updated to “listen before you tweet;” regardless of the exact wording, the meaning is the same. Actively listening and responding with thoughtful communications is something that we should all do, which begs the question, “has social listening become an integral component of your content strategy?”
What Is Social Listening?
If we fail to listen to our audience, then we won’t create content that connects with them on any level. For marketers the latter scenario is a nightmare come true. The good news is that social listening (and to be perfectly clear, I mean social media listening) can help you to understand the who, what, why, where, and how of the conversations that involve your industry and brand.
Social media listening involves analyzing the conversations and trends of both your industry and brand. These insights can and should be used as an integral component of your overarching content strategy. They should also be used to form future campaigns, gain the upper hand within your industry, and of course build more impactful relationships with your followers, prospects, and other brands.
Gather Industry Intel
Social listening can be used to complete product and content research. You can use it to find brand influencers who are ready and waiting to broadcast your messages. It is also vital in understanding why certain industry topics are trending, what makes for viral industry content, and why your audience demographics have changed (or perhaps remained stagnant).
Gain Insights Into Your Competitors
Social listening is incredibly helpful if you want to gain insights into why your competitors are successful, as well as how they communicate with the audience that you desperately want to capture. Come to think of it, without social media listening, would you even be able to properly identify your biggest competitors? Could you conduct sentiment research to accurately establish how your competitors’ social media followers actually feel about them? Are they following for fun, research, or on a whim? These types of questions can be answered, and a tactical differentiation can be established, all thanks to social listening.
Remove The Blinders When It Comes To Understanding Your Brand Perception
Speaking of listening, it’s amazing how it can help you remove the blinders when it comes to your brand perception. Do you actually have a pulse on your brand’s health? Can you effectively understand the customer experience by quite literally (and of course metaphorically, let’s remain sanitary here) putting yourself in your customers’ shoes? Finally, are you able to gather the data that you need to understand the far-reaching positive and negative impacts of your social media and general content marketing campaigns?
Implement The Right Social Listening Strategies For Your Brand
The right social listening tools can help you to answer critical questions about your brand. These tools can also help you to determine which social listen strategies should be maximized in order to achieve the optimal content marketing results. For example, social listening can be used to track your competition. With the right tools you can monitor exactly what your customers are saying about your competitors. Armed with the latter knowledge, you can then create dynamic cross-channel content marketing campaigns that speak directly to the needs of your potential customers. In other words, you can use social listening to fill in knowledge gaps as you peer around the corner to discover your competitors’ social media strategy.
Another social listening strategy is to identify commonly asked customer questions, concerns, and feedback comments. The latter information can be especially helpful as your sales and marketing teams work together to generate new campaigns. This type of intelligence can be aided by industry insights that place your brand at the forefront of innovation. Whether it is creating new products or recognizing niche marketing opportunities, social listening can finally prove to you the value of your marketing campaigns both on and off of social media.
The Bottom Line: Social Listening Can And Should Be An Integral Component Of Your Content Strategy
The key to social listening is to actually force yourself to actively listen. You can gather scores of data, gain incredible insights, and create campaigns that cater to the emerging trends and hot topics within your industry. From competitor to demographic information, social media listening is the one tool that you can’t live without. At the end of the day, when social listening is an integral component of your content strategy, you will gain the visibility that you need to effectively respond to the wants and needs of your customers. Now if only you had a writer (or army of writers) ready to create the content that you need to show your customers that you have been actively listening to them.
Laura P. has written 5,000+ articles, blog posts, product reviews, press releases, and website content for a multitude of clients. In the past 8 years, she has developed written, marketing, video, and web content for clients in the real estate, cyber security, health and beauty, information technology, restaurant, auto, finance, retail, medical, law, equine sales, fashion, marketing (affiliate marketing, digital marketing, in-print marketing, and the entire marketing industry at large), oil and gas, and public relations industries. Laura is highly proficient in SEO optimization, particularly in the real estate and retail industries. She ghost wrote IT white papers, government contract task orders, RFIs, and RFPs that resulted in millions of dollars won.