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It’s safe to say everyone on the internet has an opinion—and many are comfortable with thinking out loud on social media. On Twitter, it’s estimated that 500 million Tweets are sent per day and Instagram boasts over one billion users. While some of the chatter will be irrelevant, there are countless conversations that marketers would be wise to tap into.
Because the truth is, an effective marketing strategy relies on consumer voices and insights. If you aren’t listening to consumers, how can you be sure your newest product, campaign or brand messaging is going to resonate with your audience? Who consumers are, where they are, what they’re talking about, how they feel about something—all of this information already lives on social.
Social listening goes beyond monitoring and replying to incoming questions or comments about your brand. It’s about casting a wider net to find and analyze conversations for powerful, qualitative insights like competitive analysis, sentiment analysis and brand health. Data gleaned from listening, can even be used to help make larger business decisions. McDonalds, for example, used listening and found that their customers were over plastic straws. With that insight, the brand introduced a paper alternative to the delight of their customers.
But for those operating outside of the social team, the impact social listening insights can have on a business might be lost on them. They may not realize such rich information exists, or even understand why social listening applies to their discipline.
In reality, social listening supports every individual regardless of your seniority or if you work directly in social or not. Whether you’re a social media manager responsible for content creation or a member of the executive team in charge of tracking overall brand health, this article will demonstrate how social listening benefits your organization at every level.
Social media managers are the closest to their brand’s audience. They’re the ones most immediately in touch with your audience and the first to respond to major social activity, both good and bad. Their objectives span from benchmarking campaign goals to finding fresh ideas for content, as well as identifying and reporting social ROI to validate their efforts.
Some of the more common challenges a social media manager faces including gauging message sentiment at scale, quantifying qualitative data and measuring their campaign effectiveness.
With social listening, social media managers can provide additional context around their data, simplify campaign reporting and offer inspiration for new content ideas..
Sprout’s Listening tool can help social managers surface relevant themes and emerging keywords to ensure their content resonates with their target audience.
The social team at the Chicago Bulls, for example, leverages listening to uncover emerging trends among their fans and creates a series of fun, engaging posts that speak directly to their audience’s interests. With a better understanding of their audience’s attitudes and the content that resonates with them, the Bulls’ social team helps create more loyal fans.
Marketing analysts are known for keeping a close eye on competitors and seeking fresh market opportunities. But they’re also tasked with determining brand perceptions and identifying potential risks in the marketplace.
The problem? Market research, especially at scale, can be costly and time-consuming. Not to mention, traditional market research only captures data from a specific point in time. For more holistic insights, it’s important that analysts have access to timely data and understand when that data was collected.
Social listening provides analysts the quickest way to receive real-time, unbiased feedback and an opportunity to identify valuable marketing insights. For example: marketing analysts can use social listening to track spikes in keyword activity at granular levels and expand those insights into a larger, cross-department effort.
Suppose the social team notices an uptick in negative Tweets about their brand in a specific city. Using the Sprout Listener, they can track that negative sentiment and discover what external factors may be contributing to the problem before surfacing those insights to their marketing analysts. Analysts can then use this information to rethink their plans for expansion and work with the social team to craft messaging to further combat any negative sentiment they’re seeing.
If you don’t create a brand for the market, the market will create a brand for you. The director of brand strategy is the backbone of your organization’s communication. They’re tasked with identifying the white space in the market and building a brand capable of emotionally connecting with its audience.
The director of brand strategy is challenged with uncovering consumer’s true feelings towards a brand and developing strategies to amplify or alter them in the broader marketplace. Access to scalable, qualitative data to inform and validate brand strategy is paramount to success, but traditional forms of qualitative research can fail to provide real, unfiltered or uninfluenced ideas and opinions.
With social listening data, the director of brand is able to aggregate large volumes of qualitative data and quickly identify the consumer insights they need to inform their brand strategy at the highest level.
Imagine a director of brand strategy at a major food and beverage company is tasked with rebranding the company to be more health-focused. They can work with their social team to set up a Sprout Listening topic to track existing product lines more broadly related to health, or pull a competitor report to benchmark where they stand in the health foods marketplace. With these insights, along with sentiment analysis data, a director of brand strategy should have the information they need to successfully guide their brand strategy and reposition products as needed.
The VP of digital marketing manages multiple teams of direct and acquisition marketers, all who are trying to efficiently spend your organization’s media dollars. It’s the VP’s job to provide the direction these teams need to optimize their efforts.
But one of the VP’s biggest challenges comes in finding new avenues and opportunities to reach potential customers.
Going beyond keywords searches, a VP of digital marketing can leverage social listening to better understand what comprises social conversations around their product and competitors, as well as what fuels audience sentiment.
Identifying and developing solutions to overcome market barriers to entry are just a couple of important responsibilities that fall in the lap of the VP of digital marketing. Working with the social team, VPs can set up listeners to track topic and sentiment analysis around specific keywords to learn where their competitors excel and where their own organization can stand to improve. Understanding common pain points among their customers, for example, enables a VP to make recommendations to adjust their company’s marketing strategy to address those concerns directly.
Social listening has the potential to impact an organization at all levels. Every team, department and discipline benefits from a better understanding of their customer, potential audience or brand. The value of social listening extends beyond keeping tabs on what your audience is saying to you. It also provides an opportunity to find out how people feel about you—even if they won’t say it directly to your face. With social listening, teams across the entire organization can access a level of intimacy with their audience that takes their strategies from good to great.
To learn more about how social listening can impact your entire organization, check out our latest guide on 40 unique listening examples and for real-life listening use cases across a variety of industries.
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