According to Hootsuite, out of the over 4.4 billion people with access to the internet, 3.7 Billion are active social media users. This should tell you why the majority of the brands across the globe are eager to leverage various social media platforms to position, communicate and market their brands.
Over the years, social media has proven to be a force to reckon with when it comes to brand communication, marketing and positioning, unlike the period of its emergence where most brands and the many people in society thought of it as just a socialization arena for the youth.
Due to the high patronage of these platforms to drive businesses, the need has come for brands to strategically monitor and gather feedback to inform their communication and marketing strategy, and this is where Social Media Listening comes to play.
Social media listening or social listening is the monitoring of a brand's social media channels for any customer feedback, direct mentions or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by an analysis to gain insights and act on those opportunities.
Wondering why it’s necessary for brands to invest in social listening? Check out some key reasons below.
1.Online Reputation Management.
Online reputation management popularly referred to as ORM by most social users, I will say is the foremost reasons for brands to pay close attention to social media listening. Not every social user that likes what you share or post is a customer or brand sympathizer. The least opportunity majority of these social users get, they will speak ill of your brand, therefore there’s always the need for brand handlers to listen and ensure the reputation of their brands are kept intact.
Just recently, a customer of a beverage company mistakenly read the expiry date on a drink and immediately shared a picture of the drink claiming it had expired and guess what, other social users without paying close attention to the image jumped on the post and started to badmouth the brand.
Fortunately for the brand, a representative from their office saw the post and paid close attention and realized the social user misinterpreted the expiry date, and then went ahead to draw the attention of their official account to comment and the user in question had to pull the post down. Imagine if the brands representative in question did not see the said post, this could have gone a long way to dent the reputation of the brand and affect sales as well.
2. It keeps brands informed.
As a brand, it’s quite important to know what people within your online community think and are saying about you to influence what you communicate. Most at times, brands feel the most important thing is just signing up for social media platforms and sharing content, forgetting that they need to know what is working and what is not working for them. By listening to social media conversations, brand handlers get to develop working strategies based on the feedback they gather from their online community. Most importantly, this gives them the opportunity to monitor the growth of their brand and also gather insights from key competitors to always stay ahead.
3. It makes brands highly responsive.
Social media users always want to be heard as quickly as possible and are pleased to get quick responses from brands. Unlike first where telephone calls were the quickest way to reach out to brands, social media has gradually become the first point of call for customers whenever they want to enquire or request for information from brands. This is one of the key reasons why brands must invest in social listening because you get the opportunity to satisfy your customers and retain them as well. Imagine as a customer, if you message a brand on social media and it takes them more than 2 days to respond, would you take the brand in question seriously? I bet your answer will be “No”.
Social listening tools
To make social listening very convenient for brands, some useful tools have been developed to keep track of brand mentions and generate reports as well. These tools include Hootsuite, Brand24, Buffer, Sprout Social, Keyhole etc.