Business owner and entrepreneurs should be able to make the most of social media. As a marketing platform, it is the most efficient and cost effective. As a source of inspiration for product ideas, articles and tutorials, it is the proverbial goose laying golden eggs. The secret is how to tap into this endless and always lively source of information. This secret is not really secret: it is called social listening.
Social Listening – The Modern Way of Hearing through the Grapevine
Some of you must still remember Marvin Gaye’s hit song “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”. If you don’t, you should search it on YouTube, it’s a great, soulful ballad. If you do, then you have an understanding of the concept of social listening.
It means paying less attention to what you are doing and saying on the social media as a brand, and focusing on what others say about you. It also means tapping into the evolving conversations between your followers and keeping an eye on your competitors, as well.
What will you gain from this activity? Simply put, you will be that early bird that catches the worm, the business always informed of the latest hot topics and trends, ready to tackle them before they die out. Social listening is also the key to keeping your followers engaged and loyal, by giving them what they ask for.
Without other introductions, here are the top perks of social listening for small businesses:
- Actively Monitor and Improve Your Brand Image
Negative comments and reviews can hurt a brand image. Depending on how many such reviews your business gets and what they contain, you may lose a lot of customers. Angry customers and disgruntled former employees can do a lot of damage with a few words posted on Google Reviews, Yelp, or Facebook™.
However, active social listening allows you to quickly identify these negative comments and do something about them: investigate the situation or even request the platform where they are posted to take them down if they are blatantly false and malicious.
- Free Source of Content Ideas
There are days when the muse simply won’t sit by your side. You have to write an article or social media post, but you really have no idea what to write about. Enter social listening, stage left. A simple look over the hot topics in your niche will help you identify a current, relevant, and interesting topic to approach.
Social listening is the only way in which you can stay in touch with the quick changes and developments, no matter what industry you operate in. Today’s breakthrough quickly becomes a discarded trend, and if you did not manage to ride the waves of popularity, it is pointless to broach it later on.
- Build Brand Loyalty
What makes people stay loyal to a brand? The products and services are at the core of the decision, but the market is capable of offering them countless alternatives to your offer. They need to identify themselves with your mission and values. They need to trust your expertise and authority.
And you can build this feeling by knowing what your clients want, how they feel about certain things, what they like, what they need, what they fear. How do you gain insight to these personal characteristics? Once again: through social listening. Public conversation threads, tags and hashtags are the new ways in which people speak openly about themselves. All you have to do is pay attention.
- Keep Your Eyes on the Competition
No business in history went on with its marketing strategies and pricing policy without sneaking a peek at its competitors. At the present it is easier than ever. You only have to monitor their brand names and you will know what types of special offers and promotions they offer, what their unique selling proposition is, and how they position their brand image.
Knowing all these will help you find a niche position where your brand is able to offer something different from your competitors. And from this position you can approach prospects with fresh and more enticing offers.
- Tap into the Power of Influencers
Influencers are significantly lower on the scale of notoriety than celebrities, but they are more approachable. Of course, their claim to fame being more tenuous than that of sports, music and music stars, their relevance fades out after a time.
Through social listening you will be able to know exactly who is on top and who is falling out of grace. Thus, you will approach the right type of influencers with partnership deals and you will fully benefit from their capacity of reaching out to people and promoting your products and services.