Most of us know by now that measuring our social marketing activity and drawing insights from that data is the key to driving success. But how often do we think about metrics in terms of real people? Every engagement is a human being saying something about a brand.
If we visualize the numbers that turn up in our charts and leaderboards as people standing in a room together, a whole range of new possibilities comes to mind. What if we could ask these people questions? What if we could discover the “why” behind their engagement?
This is possible with a robust social analytics program, and social listening is one vital part of the process. Listening gets its answers from the data: comments shared on social.
Measure, Listen, Attribute, and Respond
Every good marketing strategy should include measurement, listening, attribution, and response. Together, these four functions relate back to how we communicate as humans. We measure body language, listen to what is being said, interpret what it means, and then respond.
While we may not see the people we interact with over social media, we can gauge their attitudes from the language they use in their comments. The rest can also be analyzed with the right tools and strategy.
What Is Social Listening, Exactly?
If we were to pool together all the Tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram pics, Pins, and Snaps in one place, we’d be hard pressed to find anything meaningful. By using algorithms to segment comments into different groups, however, a social listening solution enables marketers to categorize, filter, and visualize their data in a meaningful way.
Why It’s Important to Level Up with Social Listening
Social listening gives context to the metrics we’re collecting. Instead of hearing that 20% of our audience hates our brand, for example, we can dig deeper into the conversation and uncover the reasons behind the negative sentiment.
Often, brands identify one reason behind the negative feedback, but sometimes there are multiple unrelated issues happening at the same time. Social listening helps identify these individual issues so that you can direct attention to the problems with the highest priority.
With these filters, marketers can also manipulate the data to focus on a specific campaign period, identify new influencers, measure the sentiment of conversation, and get alerts for spikes in conversation.
There are a number of use cases for social listening that can be applied using various data sources:
Metrics are the black and white facts of your social activity, but social listening, as a part of a broader analytics strategy, adds color to your marketing program. The possibilities that insights offer are limitless, which is why they’re becoming more important than ever to ROI-driven brands seeking new tactics to drive conversion.
Are you struggling with this conversion process? Download our Social Marketer’s Guide to Social Media ROI, below, for a helping hand.