How do you usually buy products online?
Most likely, you start with reading a product description, evaluate the price, and go to read customer reviews after that. So do the majority of consumers around the world.
According to the statistics by G2:
- almost 95% of consumers confirm they read product reviews before purchasing
- 93% of consumers also read the general reviews of a business to evaluate its reliability
- 72% of customers won’t take any buying actions without reading reviews
Obviously, consumers largely benefit from doing some social listening before purchasing a product. But they are not the only ones who can take advantage of it.
Brands, too, can enjoy the perks of social listening if they do it right. In particular, social listening can help brands significantly improve their content strategy and make it more customer-oriented.
Let’s take a look.
A Quick Into to Social Listening and Its Benefits
Before we dive into the practical tips, let’s study some theory and look at the social listening definition and advantages.
Social listening implies monitoring social media platforms. The process of monitoring involves checking your own account mentions as well as studying your competitors’ social media strategies.
Doing social listening regularly has a few significant benefits for your content strategy and your brand in general:
- Improve customer engagement. As we already mentioned, social listening can help you make your content more focused on your customer’s needs as it makes you more aware of what they expect from you and are interested in.
- Optimize content marketing campaigns. Doing social listening during the course of a campaign can help you notice the areas that need improvement and fix any problems in real life.
- Get more leads. Since your content becomes more oriented and personalized, you get the attention of the wider public. Thus, social listening can also help you get new customers.
On top of the above-mentioned benefits, consistent social listening also provides you with creative ideas. A good proof of that is Buffalo Wild Wings’ launch of BBQ Pumpkin Ale wings following the recommendation of its followers and the excitement caused by this launch:
As you can see, social listening can supply you with content ideas that get your customers riled up. Potentially, if you make it your regular strategy, it can give a significant boost to brand awareness and recognition, not to mention that your content strategy results will go through the roof.
So, how do you do social listening right?
Let’s take a look.
1. Turn to Social Data for Help
It’s true that your customers can take their feedback to every corner of the internet, and it’s next to impossible to track all of this information. But, if you’re eager to give social listening a try, start with analyzing social data.
Mostly found on social media, social data is all the information that internet users share online. This data includes demographic and psychographic details, but, most importantly, user feedback in the form of likes, shares, and comments.
How to use social data to improve your content strategy?
It’s quite easy – you just need to check user engagement for each content type you’ve uploaded earlier. To do that, just go to the social platform of your choice and check the Insights or Analytics tabs.
For instance, if you want to check how engaged your audience is with your content on TikTok, you can both get the data on audience reach and the average engagement rate for each post:
You can also see that other social data, including views, likes, shares, and comments, is available as well.
This trick will work for other social media platforms. For instance, if you go to Facebook Insights and check the Posts tab, you will see a post-by-post reach and engagement breakdown:
A quick look through this information can help you track and find the most engaging content types and include more of them in your content strategy.
How else can you collect social data?
Apart from social networks, you can also collect social data through your website if it uses some kind of a free WordPress social network theme. Such a solution can help you build an online social community, connect with your followers, and mine social data that you can use during social listening.
You can also do a more active form of social listening and collect social data through polls and surveys.
If you decide to survey your audience’s content preferences, there’s a variety of options to do it. For instance, you can do it directly on social media via interactive polls:
Another option is running a survey through email. In this case, it’s easier to create a survey using special tools that create a separate landing page for your survey and have a URL shortener to organically incorporate the link to the survey in the body of an email.
For instance, here’s an example of a content preferences survey made with SurveyMonkey:
How to choose the right channel for such a survey?
Try to make this choice based on the behaviors of your customers. Check which platform they use most frequently to interact with your brand and send out your survey there. This way, you’ll get more accurate information and responses.
2. Do Keyword Research on Reddit and Quora
When it comes to checking what people are saying about your brand, the first place you probably go to is Google. Indeed, it’s very convenient – you can read each customer’s story and personal experience with your brand and even leave a reply.
But is Google the most reliable channel for social listening?
Probably no, as there are a lot of fake reviews. There’s also a widespread practice when competitors leave bad reviews for a brand on purpose to lower its ranking on Google. And, since pretty much anyone can badmouth you on this platform, you might want to check other platforms as well to find out what people really think about your brand.
One of the ways to track mentions online is keyword analysis on Reddit. Basically, you type in the keyword with your brand’s name and browse through the posts to find some insights you could use for your content strategy.
For instance, in the example below, we’ve typed in Hello Fresh (a meal-kit brand), and here’s what we found:
Essentially, a person is asking for a brand similar to Hello Fresh that offers more vegan recipes. How could Hello Fresh use it? For example, they might put up a post on their blog with vegan recipes or make an Instagram post on the same topic.
You can do the same keyword search on Quora:
As you can see, on this platform, people mostly share their impressions from using a brand. But, sometimes, their questions (like the last one in the image above) can give you a content idea to add to your strategy as well.
Why are Reddit and Quora more reliable for social listening?
We’re not going to lie – brands sometimes use these platforms to do so-called ‘natural-looking promotions’ and organic advertising. However, such posts don’t stay for too long and can get banned both by other users and the platform itself. So, in most cases, all the customer feedback you can find on Reddit and Quora is real and reliable.
3. Involve Social Listening in Competitor Analysis
One extra way to use social listening for the sake of improving your content strategy is to check what people have to say about your competitors.
Surely, there is no obvious connection between what your competitors are doing with their content strategy and what you’re doing with yours. However, it’s a sneaky way to learn from their mistakes.
How can you incorporate social listening in competitor analysis?
All the strategies we mentioned earlier could work quite well. You can do the same keyword search using your competitor’s brand name on Reddit and Quora to find and use customer reviews to get content ideas. A quick browse through their social media can help as well, although you might have to scroll through several thousand comments.
However, a more efficient way to see what the internet has to say about your competitors is Google Alerts. Just set the relevant keywords and get the news about your competitors as soon as they appear online:
One more way to involve social listening in your competitor analysis is hashtag research. If you want to expand your reach and get more public opinions about your rivals, just use a hashtag with your competitor’s brand name and check what people have to say about them and their content. This trick would work especially well on Twitter and Facebook.
How to collect data from social listening?
Indeed, doing social listening manually is next to impossible. It’s very hard to track all the brand mentions manually since social media platforms can contain thousands of them.
To solve this problem, you can use a media monitoring solution. For instance, Mediatoolkit gives you access to all the necessary social listening data. They helped many companies and brands with social listening. For instance, Amnesty International used Mediatoolkit to stay up-to-date with human rights issues in Ukraine. It helped to access trending topics related to their causes in real-time, receive relevant data analysis and media reports, get insight into their success with raising awareness and making a change in people’s lives.
Besides social media, you also can monitor your website and other sources of brand mentions, like blogs and forums. The best thing about using a media monitoring solution is that it provides you with data in real-time. As a result, you only get relevant insights and manage them through an intuitive dashboard.
As you can see, there are multiple ways how brands can benefit from social listening and use it to improve their content strategies. It’s true that people don’t just discuss your brand and your product in general but also have a lot to say about the content you’re posting.
If you listen to and take public opinion into account, you can effectively enrich your content strategy and significantly boost engagement rates.
So, don’t miss out and start using social listening on a regular basis. Go through social data to learn how people react to your content, find out which topics related to your brand they are discussing on forums like Quora and Reddit.
Lastly, there’s no shame in stealing some content ideas from your competitors. All that will help you make your content more targeted and relevant for your audience, not to mention the benefits for your brand’s online image in general.