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Don't forget to listen: why social listening should be a key part of your social media strategy

From guiding content strategy to gaining industry insights, social listening is an essential tool to ensure your organization is communicating effectively on social media.

Jul. 06, 2022

By this point, most of us understand the value social media can provide for organizations. With around 83% of the Canadian population active on at least one social network, it’s an invaluable tool for reaching a wide audience at a low cost. But does all the noise on social media leave you wondering how your organization can stand out? Allow us to introduce you to social listening.

 

What is social listening? 

At its core, social listening is made up of two parts – monitoring and analyzing. It includes monitoring social media for direct mentions of your organization, as well as conversations and trends around keywords, topics, competitors or industries. These insights can then be analyzed and used to guide your marketing strategy.

In practice, social listening is made possible through powerful software tools and an understanding of your organization’s goals. Getting started with social listening involves doing a deep dive into the keywords, hashtags, competitors etc. most relevant to your organization. The software will then pull real-time data from millions of online sources, including social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube), blogs, forums and news sites.

 

Why is it important? 

Social listening takes the guesswork out of social media. It gives insights into who your audience is, how they feel about your organization, how you stack up against your competitors, what your audience is looking for and how you can effectively connect with them.

Whether you want to learn more about the hashtags your audience uses and which accounts they’re engaging with most or explore sentiment on a trending topic, social listening can help.

Beyond guiding your content strategy, social listening can also be used for:

  • Assessing public perception of your organization
  • Gaining industry insights
  • Conducting competitive analyses
  • Monitoring event responses
  • Analyzing campaigns
  • Reputation management
  • Monitoring and staying ahead of emerging crises
  • Identifying potential influencers
  • Tracking trending topics to establish your position as a thought leader
 

Social listening in practice

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of what social listening is, you may be wondering how you can put it into practice. Check out this example of multiple ways to use social listening in one day.

Content strategy - You’re planning next month’s content calendar, so to start, you check out what your audience is talking about online. You also look back to see which content has performed well in the past and use this information to tailor your content strategy.

Identifying influencers - You notice there’s an account that mentions your organization regularly and make a note to reach out to them about partnership opportunities for an upcoming campaign.

Reputation management and assessing public perception - Later in the day, an announcement comes out that affects your organization. You check social listening to see what people are saying about the topic, tracking sentiment towards your organization while monitoring for any spikes in post volume.

 

Parting thoughts

Ultimately, social listening is an essential tool in driving your overall social media strategy. It allows you to reach your target audience with the content they want to see where they want to see it. Whether you’re building a content strategy, tracking campaigns, assessing public opinion, or handling a crisis, social listening can help you spend your time and energy more effectively on social media.

Want us to help you get started with social listening? Send us an email at emily@sparkadvocacy.ca.