Whether you realize it or not, social listening is at the core of your marketing plan. This means that if you don’t have a social listening strategy, you’re not only missing out, you’re letting a core aspect of your business run unchecked when it could be optimized to your advantage. What’s worse, while you might be overlooking social listening, your competitors are not and if the results don’t already show, they soon will.
What is Social Listening?
Social listening is exactly what it sounds like: putting an ear to the ground and listening to what consumers are saying on social networks. It is the flip side of targeted marketing and it is something you are already doing if you’ve put any thought at all into your client’s needs (which, of course, you have). In 2021, however, social listening cannot be a passive activity that you do without a plan or purpose. Why? Because modern technology provides unprecedented insight into consumer interests and if you’re not tapping into this with a systematic approach, you’re committing the business equivalent of bringing a knife to a gunfight.
Designing a Social Listening Strategy
There are four important steps to building a robust social listening strategy.
- 1. Identify Where Your Clients Socialize
If you were in the business of selling roller skates, you would want to be spending more time on TikTok than your children but, chances are, you’re not. Attorneys who practice estate planning and elder law are more likely to find potential clients posting in Facebook groups and binging-watching YouTube. You don’t know this to be true until you’ve done your research, though, which is why every social listening strategy begins with identifying your clients’ preferred media.
2. Tune in to Trending Topics
Join those groups in which your clients are posting and make note of the topics that gain traction. Identify hashtags trending in your target market and leverage them on your own social media. Learn which blog and vlog lengths engage clients and master the sentimental register that best resonates. Such metrics allow you to tune your messaging so that it not only lands but sticks with clients and keeps them coming back.
3. Listen to What the Competition is Saying
Scope out competitors’ pages and listen to what people are saying. Likewise, read competitors’ posts and identify frequently used keywords and other elements that drive engagement. Go even further and invest in technology that provides comparative insights which reveal holes in both your and your competitor’s digital marketing campaigns and then upon this basis, identify where your efforts can be best leveraged.
4. Improve Client Care
The success of any relationship depends on learning to care for others on their terms, not yours. This is as true of business as it is of love and a dedicated social listening strategy provides an unprecedented ability to do this. Read client reviews on your and competitor’s pages, identify when and why clients include brands in social media posts about life milestones, fine-tune not just the content but style of messaging that lands most authentically and, importantly, build a communication strategy that caters to your clients’ media habits.