Social listening is gaining more and more momentum every year. In fact, according to Hootsuite’s research, it’s one of the most valuable marketing tactics out there:
By using social listening tools, marketers can utilize the power of social media by understanding how their audience refers to them and reacts to their brand. But social listening is more than that. It also allows you to observe how your audience responds to your competitors’ content in real-time and integrate the information into your social media strategy.
Social Listening: A Definition
Let’s get a little more specific. What is social listening, and how do brands use it to promote their content?
Social listening is tracking and tracing social media channels and platforms for any user content directly related to your brand. Through mentions, brand-related conversations, tags, and hashtags, brands can gather data and understand the users’ behavior that concerns their brand.
After that, it’s easy to decide the mention you’d like to act on. Just monitor and analyze the pieces of information you receive through keywords and mentions. Also, the ways users react to your competitors and your content.
Let’s assume that you’re running a social listening strategy as part of your eCommerce marketing, and you’re hoping to make great use of your data. You’ll first need to gather information through social media monitoring. This includes things like branded hashtags, mentions of your competitors and yourself, trends across your industry, and so on.
Social listening begins after analyzing that data and understanding why your audience reacts the way it does. Once done, you dig into why they’re giving positive or negative feedback on your eCommerce brand’s social media.
Essentially, this customer mood is what will set social media trends. It will give you the inspiration and direction you need, especially when it comes to responding to your customers.
But here’s the main question: How can you create a social listening strategy that will do your brand justice? Let’s take a look at some brands that did it and all the tips you can steal from them.
Social Listening: The Brands That Nailed It
From SaaS industries to reaching eCommerce KPIs and from Netflix’s popular online streaming platform to Chipotle’s genius use of new social media channels, social listening is something all brands need. But how can your brand nail this popular technique?
The fast-food chain has one of the most recognizable social media presences, all thanks to expert social listening, especially after the E. Coli outbreak of 2015.
Chipotle’s social media presence — especially its fantastic TikTok content and the expert use of memes — is relatable, funny, and definitely something you’d share with your friends.
The tip to steal here would be to recognize the way your fans talk about your brands and incorporate that kind of talk into your social media workflow. That way, your content will be on-brand. It’ll also be appropriate for your demographics, as you’ll know exactly what it is that turned your audience into fans.
An email marketing and marketing automation platform is still a brand, and social listening can be a part of its digital marketing strategy. As you can see above, social listening is also interacting with and creating content that can speak directly to your customers’ pain points.
The image above is surprising for a mainly B2B company, but it generated engagement and — let’s face it! — it was true, fun, and funny. The main tip here would be to listen to your audience and recognize their pain points before creating content or engaging with them. That way, you’ll create interactive posts, like memes or quizzes, that take your users’ worries into account and turn them into something fun and memorable.
Who hasn’t heard the phrase “Netflix and Chill”? And who hasn’t binge-watched a Netflix original series or hasn’t fallen asleep ten episodes in?
This is what Netflix utilized in this fantastic video. The popular streaming platform listened to its audience and created something that reflected their sentiment. Social listening isn’t always replying to comments and utilizing UGC. Sometimes it’s creating a need out of a pre-existing discussion and having your audience act on that need with your content — much like knitting special socks for when you’re almost asleep on the couch watching reruns of “Friends”.
The athletic/eCommerce giant surely knows how to engage its audience by supporting their causes, voicing their concerns, and engaging in cause-related marketing. Nike’s branding strategy has a soft spot for causes, and the brand itself is vocal when it comes to social justice matters. So much so that it’s faced criticism plenty of times.
The main tip to steal here would be to not just take note of what your users say but what they do as well. What are the causes that interest them? Find out and try not to stay neutral — especially if your audience doesn’t want their favorite brands to do so.
5. L’ Oreal
L’ Oreal is a beauty brand that has a more serious and minimal tone, as opposed to other beauty brands that target younger segments of the audience. Their social listening skills are not focused precisely on developing their marketing strategy. Instead, they’re basing their strategy on reviews and surveys to build their brand online and build their product as well.
The main takeaway from L’ Oreal’s social listening strategy is to listen to your audience. Not just their sentiment or the way they talk about your brand online, but the way they handle their pain points and what they expect from your product or one of the competitors’ products.
This food industry giant has adopted one of the most characteristic color schemes that customers can come across on all touchpoints. From their logo to their app and their physical stores, Starbucks has developed a brand tone that is memorable and that users can trust.
The same can be said for their social listening skills and how they implement their data to replicate the feel of personal customer service in their digital efforts. Starbucks’ Twitter account is full of conversational-style posts that focus on the customers. With human interactions and conversations that make users feel like they’re talking to a barista. Starbucks’ Twitter account is on-brand and ready to interact with the audience.
The main tip to steal here is to be human first and on-brand at the same time. When customers know you’re listening, they’re more likely to talk to you through social media. They’d also refer their peers to your brand as well, helping you expand your reach to your target audience through customer referrals and on-brand engagement. Not to mention that it’s a great opportunity for you to pinpoint issues before they happen and fix them through expert customer care and clear communication.
Social listening is a much-needed strategy for all brands. From eCommerce giants like Nike to Starbucks or your neighborhood’s coffee shop, using social listening to engage with your audience and grow your brand is foolproof.
It’s an excellent opportunity to understand how your target audience interacts with your product and how you can resolve potential issues or even say a simple “How’d you do?” without being annoying. Social listening allows your brand to grow with your audience.