You need to really listen to your audience to know how to reach them. Follow these five strategies to use social listening effectively.
Social media is the gift that keeps on giving in the marketing world, with audiences aplenty for brands to target. With a little social listening skill, your impact can be that much greater. Here's how.
1. Give them what they want.
The best marketing is the kind that doesn't feel like marketing – because it's couched in authentic conversation about something consumers care deeply about. That might be your brand at times, but there's so much more to draw from.
Use everything at your disposal by finding out what consumers love most – or even what they hate. Misery loves company, right? Bond over the fact that Negan from "The Walking Dead" is really, really bad – while also really, really handsome. Or whatever else matters to your audience. They'll tell you exactly what that is; just pay attention and you'll have the key to their hearts.
2. Speak their language.
What's the best way to approach your audience once you know what moves them? Is it with super informative blog posts that inspire them to live a certain way? Or is it fun behind-the-scenes videos of what happens at your brand headquarters? Or maybe a string of emoticons as a caption for a vivid image that sums up everything they live for in pixel form?
The only way to know is to use social listening to get the skinny straight from them, and then deliver. A mix of content types is probably required – but don't assume you know what that is. Let the social data prove it.
3. Follow along in real time.
No marketing campaign is foolproof. Even if you've done all your homework and come up with something you think is brilliant, it may miss the mark. Just ask Pepsi.
You can't just release your marketing campaign into the wild and assume it will succeed. You absolutely must use real-time social listening tools to ensure it is succeeding – and be ready to course-correct if the analytics tell a different story.
There's no need to suffer through a good idea that doesn't gel anymore. Listen to the feedback of your audience and proceed accordingly in the moment.
4. Get by with a little help from your friends.
Paid spokespersons are great, but they're, well, paid. Whatever attention they may bring to your brand costs you money, and some consumers will find them disingenuous because they know they're being paid.
On the other hand, consumers do trust other consumers when it comes to product recommendations. So use social listening to find the most influential people in your audience to act as brand ambassadors.
Whatever you offer them in exchange will be far less than what you'd pay for a top celebrity, and their endorsement is more valuable – unless, of course, you luck into a celebrity influencer who talks about you on their own. That's like hitting the lottery. Be sure you're paying attention so you'll know when it happens.
5. Strike where and when the iron is hottest.
Social listening in real time lets brands be nimble when topics are trending, whether globally or in a specific geographical area. Use your social analytics tools to know when a particular region might be more receptive to something than another, and on which channels these conversations are happening. Maybe an Instagram Story is the perfect thing for a certain audience segment in a certain city or state during a major sporting event, whereas a Facebook Live video might be a better option depending on the circumstances.
As always, social listening and sentiment monitoring will inform the move to bring your marketing the greatest impact. You never have to guess again.