It’s more than just listening to those who talk positively or negatively about your brand and your competitors online. Social listening is such a stronger and more powerful research methodology. It allows you to understand what trends are impacting your consumers and prospects and also learn what they are talking about so you can join the conversation. It also provides a stronger understand of what social media channels are most suitable and effective for your target audience.
Just like any other research methodology, you need to have a concise plan in place and formulate your objectives. It’s important to think about why you are listening online and what you hope to achieve with this information.
Once your objectives are formulated, it’s now key to find your brand’s target audience. Using client data, primary or secondary research to understand what is the ideal audience:
· Media consumption
Once your audience is clearly defined, now social listening begins. You should listen to what is being said on various sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, online blogs and news outlets. The more you listen, the more accurate the perspective.
There are several social listening tools out there such as Trackur, or sproutsocial. Each tool has their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to social listening. Look for what your audience is saying about the industry, trends, interests, beliefs and media habits.
Everything that you hear, make sure that you record:
· The number of people talking about a topic
Where they are talking
· What is the sentiment
· Percent who are influencers and how influential they are (this is often determined by scores such as Klout).