Last month we touched based on our 2016 resolutions (and by the way, mine are going strong!), and I promised you a blog on social listening this month.
So, what exactly is social listening?
Social Listening is the practice on monitoring your digital media accounts for activity and engagement levels (sharing, commenting, favoriting, liking and such) to devise a strategy to better meet your goals online (influence consumers, raise awareness about your brand, build loyalty, etc.).
One of my favorite professors and mentors from college, Dr. Abbey Levenshus, once likened social media to hosting a party. Although she said it far more eloquently, the basic gist was this: If you’re having a party, you need to be a good host. On social media, if you’re creating content and posting regularly with cohesive branding, that’s great, but you can’t stop there. If your customers are showing up to your metaphorical party by engaging with your brand on social media, you need to reciprocate that action.
Furthermore, it’s worth mentioning that responding to your audiences on social media can serve multiple purposes. You can say a simple “thank you,” and move on, or you can take this engagement as an opportunity to repurpose user-generated content for your own double-edged benefit. You interact with the customer (satisfying his or her need for affirmation), and you get to use the content if it’s good enough.
It is important to be aware of what is happening with your social media platforms; the “set it and forget it” rule of thumb definitely does not apply to your social media accounts. Here’s what could happen if you employ social listening tactics…or fail to:
- Worst-case scenario (for you pessimists out there): there’s a crisis involving your brand, or a major backlash to one of your posts, and you aren’t “there” to resolve or contain it.
- Eh-case scenario: some positive word of mouth is circulating about your brand on social media or some of your posts are performing extraordinarily well, and you aren’t “there” to capitalize on it.
- Best-case scenario: you use social listening to monitor your social media accounts and remain accountable to your customers online, and have a strategy ready to go when things go really well (or not-so-well).
If you need help developing a social media strategy, or a crisis communications plan, Smarter Searches offers those services, among many others. Please feel free to call us or send us an email; we want to help you learn to stop being reactive online and start being proactive.
Next in this series: Learning to say, “no.”