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Outside of the day to day responses to posts and messages, how often do you take a step back and look at the big picture of your strategy? Listening on Facebook is a step up from monitoring and taking action. It is used by companies all around the world to greater understand their customers and inform their next marketing steps. When you pair both monitoring and listening tools together, you will find trends that you may have never noticed prior. However, every network is different, so your listening strategy should be unique for each platform. 

Here is the complete guide to Facebook listening. 

What is Facebook listening?

Facebook

Facebook listening is taking all of the information you have been provided on Facebook, such as comments, recommendations, private messages and identifying trends in them. It is an active analysis of your passively collected data. Listening offers you a better perspective on how customers feel about you or shapes your next marketing campaign. 

Facebook listening is not seeing a private message come in and responding to it. It is noticing that three private messages from three different people about the same topic arrived. Then, informing the best department about it. Think of it as a high-level view of everything. You rule out your abnormalities and take the most common issues to address them. 

Why is it valuable? 

1. Listening helps you to track every social channel from one place

Track All

This is really the key point. You could go from network to network searching for any mention of your brand name. However there are two issues with this strategy: 

-It is a massive waste of time

-You are going to miss things

You are not going to know everything said about your brand without help. There are far too many sources, too many customers and too many voices. When you do finally miss something, it could end up being a costly complaint from a valued customer or an endorsement from a powerful influencer. However you do not have to risk it. A social listening tool picks up every mention of your brand on social media and pulls it all into one place. That way, you can view everything said about you and save time in the process. 

2. Listening can prevent a serious brand crisis

Brand

Social media is a fast-moving, high intensity space. It is where things ‘go viral’, after all. For this reason, brands must watch carefully for negative press. One disgruntled former staff member or an unhappy client can post virtually anything they like online. If that message gains traction, you have gone from one person saying bad things, to thousands. It may seem dramatic, however, a brand crisis can catch you when you least expect it. If it does, you will be glad that you caught it early and had a chance to limit the damage. That is why social media monitoring should be part of any crisis management plan. 

3. Listening improves your reputation online

Reputation

On a more positive note, good social listening can actually help you build a stronger brand reputation online. Buyers want to know that your company listens to them, is approachable, and belongs in the modern market. Social media helps you to make you more responsible by alerting you immediately when new messages appear. These could be questions or complaints, however they may also be opportunities for you to engage and build brand awareness. Just as you can go viral in a bad way, a witty and well-timed social media response can spread like wildfire. 

4. Listening provides better customer service

Customer Service

Social listening picks up messages where people have not tagged your account directly. You can then help customers proactively, without them having to use your official support channels. 

5. Collect feedback about your products

Feedback

You need to care about what buyers think of your products and services and you have probably noticed that people tend to share their thoughts about everything on social media. While that can be frustrating, it is also a great place to find honest feedback about your brand. Start paying attention to what people say when it is not to your face. It can be difficult but you will learn a lot about your own business. 

Most of the above may be technically possible without a social listening tool. However, it is going to cost serious time, which translates directly into money for your business. In the end, the small amount you pay for a good social listening tool justifies itself by the time it saves and the peace of mind in knowing that you will not miss anything important. 

Implementing a Facebook listening strategy

Here it is in six steps:

1. Identify your goals

Goals

As with most business strategies, it is vital to know why you are investing in it. What do you hope to achieve? The most common uses for social listening include, brand monitoring to know what people say about you in real time and respond however necessary. Competitive analysis to know what people say about your competitors, to study their marketing strategies and ‘borrow’ their best ideas. Influencer marketing to find powerful people to share your brand name and build awareness on social media. Crisis management to anticipate and mitigate bad social media crisis’. The real time aspect of social listening to especially valuable here. Customer service to be able to find customers with problems and help them immediately, to keep them happy. 

Naturally, your goals may involve a little of each. But you need to be clear on them before you start, otherwise you are likely to be disappointed. Social listening gives you the information you need to act on your strategy. Therefore, the first thing you need is a strategy.

2. Find the right tool

Listening

Social listening is impossible without a good social listening tool. So if you are going to give this strategy a try, you will need to start shopping around. Choose a social listening tool that offers the following:

-Data from every social media platform that matters to you

-Good analytics features to help you assess that data

-An easy to understand interface

-The ability to respond to messages from within the app

3. Choose your keywords

Listening

Social listening is heavily dependent on keywords, these terms are being tracked across social media so it is essential to choose the right words. Again, revert back to your goals and what you want tracked: brand name, products, influencers etc. In addition, you need to think about how much noise you want to collect. Whilst it may seem exciting to gather tens of thousands of mentions per day, it may be difficult to do anything useful with them. As a result, the smart approach is to cast a narrow net and only collect the mentions that really interest you.

4. Actually do some ‘listening’ 

Listening

Hopefully this part excites you. This is the reason you invest in social listening, to track your brand and see what people are saying. Therefore, you need to set aside some time to see what is coming in. Again, this depends on your goals. 

Brand monitoring

Your goal here is to know what people say about you to better understand your customers and prospective buyers. Set aside a little time each week to look over your mentions and see what matters to people. If you are in the middle of a crucial business period for example a product launch, you better make that a little time each day. 

Competitive analysis

A good social media competitive analysis takes as little as five minutes. You do not need to study the competition as closely as your own brand. But this is a great way to get new product ideas, improve your marketing strategy and learn from your opposition. Check in once a week to see their most-shared content, their latest product updates and spot any news coverage they have received. Sentiment analysis also lets you see their most common complaints, which is an effective way to find out what not to do. 

Influencer marketing

Social listening is a crucial ingredient to build the best influencer marketing strategy. It lets you find people already talking about you, with the most influential at the top of the list. Therefore, look for important voices talking about your brand and try to make a connection. You can also watch for those same voices talking about your competitors and try to understand why they prefer the other company. 

Crisis management

It is always interesting to make crisis management part of a strategy as it is something you never hope to actually use. Unlike the others in this list, it is not necessary to set aside a specific amount of time for crisis management. Instead, create an alert for specific keywords that you know are damaging. Something like this: 

[Brand name] + [“faulty” OR “fail” OR “dangerous” OR “hate”]

If you are a Mention user, Pulse alerts will then tell you when this alert suddenly receives a spike in mentions and you will know you must react quickly. 

Customer service

If you want to provide excellent customer service, you will need to have someone to keep a close eye on your monitoring tool. The good news is your account can have as many users as you need, so why not give your customer support people a day when they are ‘on call’ and encourage them to respond to queries as quickly as possible.

5. Respond in real time

Listening

It is crucial to have a social listening tool that works in real time because you need to engage in conversations as they are happening. Is someone discussing an issue that you can solve? As a result, reach out and help them. Did someone say nice things about your brand? Therefore, thank them for their thoughts and share them with your audience. 

The more you are able to respond to these conversations as they are taking place, the more you build authenticity around your brand. You show that your company is built by real people who really care, which is so valuable to buyers.

6. Evaluate your performance

Listening

Good analytics tools make a big difference. When you are collecting large numbers of mentions, it pays to be able to analyze this data. This means you want to choose a social listening tool that lets you build custom graphs and reports that match your goals. 

A few key metrics that you definitely want to be able to measure:

-Sentiment around your mentions

-Share of voice (to compare several alerts)

-Social influence

-Changes in volume over time

-Languages

-Locations of people talking about you

-Brand reach

It is even better if you can take all these metrics and put them into tailored reports specifically for your business. 

Conclusion

Social listening is not the one thing that will take your social marketing from good to great. It is a tool in your kit providing you with a source of information that can make a big difference. In order to make it work for you, you need: clear goals for what you want to achieve, a good social listening tool, the ability to pay attention and respond quickly and finally, the desire to improve your performance based on results. In the end, it is actually not all that complicated. As a result, with a little strategy and a lot of common sense, you are all set for success. 

 

 

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