Social Media Listening, The Art Of Listening To Audiences

Social Media Listening is a relatively new concept that is revolutionizing the use of social networks and the analysis of the data they provide on a daily basis.

Social Media Listening, The Art Of Listening To Audiences

Much has been said about the need to find new ways to conduct market research in a less invasive way in order to decrease the bias in the actions and responses of the public, and consequently obtain more accurate results in the processes of data collection, analysis and synthesis.

Basic study techniques such as surveys, in-depth interviews or focus groups are constantly affected by psychological phenomena such as reactivity, which refers to an alteration in people’s behavior when they suspect or are aware that they are being observed.

Now, imagine having access to a database of more than 2,000 million people, and being able to know every comment they make about your brand, company or campaign.

This is what Social Media Listening or Social Listening offers, a process that in recent years has become a key weapon for knowing in more detail the thoughts and opinions of people in the digital environment.

Digital Research and Social Media Listening

Since the birth of social networks the ways of interacting between people have been transformed in such a way that they have opened the doors to the creation of new processes and tools that make digital research a reality and Social Listening is one of its main assets.

What does it consist of? It is the process of monitoring social networks that allows to identify comments, conversations, opinions, preferences and data from users, potential customers, competitors or industry leaders, in order to measure the performance of a brand, product or organization, according to what people say about them.

Being a fully digital process, the barrier between the observer and the target audience is reduced and gives way to an observation, where people are shown as they are in the online environment, in most cases, and therefore, under a proper collection and analysis, the data become more accurate.

How to carry out a successful network monitoring?

Social Media Listening, The Art Of Listening To Audiences

According to Maria Ogneva, director of Social Media at Attensity, these are some of the steps to take into account to effectively monitor networks.

1. Identify a clear objective.

You must know the reason why you are going to perform Social Listening, for example, can be done to know negative comments of a brand, to identify potential customers or the uses that people are giving the product.

2. Select where to monitor

Identify in which social platforms the target audience interacts most. Knowing this will give you an idea of which social network to monitor.

3. Determine what to monitor

Since the tools and the process in general focus largely on the recognition of keywords, it is necessary to take into account which of these are best associated with the topic to be researched.

4. Deciding who to listen to

It is important to select who you want to monitor. This will depend on the objective of the study and will serve to make the process less complex. Some of the profiles that brands frequently monitor are consumers, influencers, industry leaders, competitors, among others.

5. Selecting the right tools

Once you have identified where you are going to monitor and the profiles you are going to follow up on, you should choose the tool that meets all of your needs.

For example, there are platforms created exclusively for certain types of social networks; some focus on tracking conversations in different languages, others offer the user the possibility of acquiring a premium version and some have the ability to perform both quantitative and qualitative analysis.

6. Prioritize

Since the number of conversations that arise in social networks is usually high, it is essential to focus only on those factors that are really important for the study, for example, if you want to know the percentage of users who are not happy with a brand, you should only take into account the negative comments in the social network being analyzed.

7. Develop a plan

Having a plan that responds to the different situations that a brand may go through during the monitoring process is essential to anticipate the different attitudes of the people being followed.

8. Involve others

The vast amount of information generated by social networks must reach the right people in the organization.

For this it is important to ensure that certain company profiles other than the Content Manager, can have access to this data, so users get an efficient response to their requests.

9. Listen first

Before interacting with people, pay attention to what they say, how they relate to other individuals, and how they are affected by the behavior of other, more influential users.

Tools for every need

Social Media Listening, The Art Of Listening To Audiences

These are the main features of some tools that can be found on the market today.

1. Hootsuite

This tool can be accessed for free, however, there is a premium version that allows users to obtain analytical reports. Among its main features is the possibility of adding search columns according to the research topic and the social network you want to monitor.

2. Radian6

Is the pioneering tool in social network monitoring. It allows you to quickly track comments, questions, complaints on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and blogs, among others, and facilitates the redirection of this data to the corresponding company personnel.

3. Brandwatch

Some of the brands that use this tool are Pepsico, Pandora and Seat. Its main advantage is that it offers the option of going beyond monitoring to take pertinent action on certain comments from people, for example, if a client of the organization has a complaint or request, Brandwatch will alert the appropriate team to respond to this.

What to expect from Social Listening in the coming years?

Social Media Listening, The Art Of Listening To Audiences

Since it is a relatively new term, there are several challenges that Social Media Listening will have to face to be considered an indispensable process in companies.

One of the issues to be taken into account is the creation of new tools that give equal importance to the analysis of conglomerates as to semantics, that is to say, that go beyond recognizing those key words and allow understanding the meaning and intention behind them in a given context; in this way it will be possible to have access to a deeper vision of the comments and as a consequence to better insights.

However, for this to happen social network analysts must bear in mind that the number of followers and likes does not necessarily determine the success in the performance of a social platform, since it is qualitative analysis that adds value to these figures.

In that vein, the other challenge for social network monitors is to effectively convey this information to those clients who usually rely solely on measuring quantitative data.

Social Media Listening, seen as a research process, is an innovative and useful weapon when it comes to effectively measuring people’s levels of loyalty and engagement.

It also allows to know in detail those thoughts and comments that can lead to the anticipation of potential crisis situations and new opportunities in the market, and in the creation of customized strategies that facilitate the rapprochement between brand and user.

For this, it is essential that those who carry out this activity integrate both monitoring and measurement to the Social Listening process.

The first will provide a knowledge of the thoughts and ideas of the public regarding the brand and the second will be useful to calculate the performance of this in social networks in terms of statistical data and thus achieve the respective comparisons against the competition.