As we enter another week of lockdown, the world as we know it seems further away than ever. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen some incredible acts of kindness, stupidity and, downright heroism. Whilst the public adapts to a very different lifestyle, many businesses are facing huge losses and, even bankruptcy. For the brands…
Your Guide to Social Listening
Have you ever thought about the difference between “hearing” someone and “listening” to someone? This is a phenomenon in customer service, but it’s also a consideration on social media. In a nutshell, social “listening” is the practice of monitoring social media for posts about your company. Like many things in life, however, this is easier than it sounds.
An Introduction to Social Listening
Have you ever wondered why companies sometimes interact with your social media posts even though you didn’t “tag” them or post on their timeline? Chances are, it’s because they are deploying some form of social listening tool to see what people are saying about them. Although if you’re an influencer, they might be watching you specifically. Either way, it indicates that this company cares about how they’re perceived on social media.
Miloz Krasinski writes an extensive post on the ways we can find out what’s happening with our brand on social media. Social monitoring and social listening, although they are often confused, are actually very different. Briefly, social monitoring is what most of us do when we check our phones to see if there are any new notifications, or log in to look at what’s new on our feed. It is a reactive process, because we’re only interacting with our social media accounts when someone is actively posting at us. We might choose to respond or not, but monitoring is narrow in scope.
On the other hand, social listening is a proactive approach. Listening is done with listening tools of various sorts, and involves monitoring all of social media for posts about our brands. For example, someone might’ve tried your product, and is discussing it with her friends on social media. Or, you might have someone who is angry with your poor customer service. Social listening tools tally up the positive, negative, and neutral references to your brand. Then, they give you detailed analytics reports. You can even use social listening on your competitors. Ultimately, you want to engage in both monitoring/watching and listening in order to implement and maintain an effective social media presence.
Recommended Social Listening Tools
People regularly ask me for recommendations, and social listening tools are no exception. This isn’t surprising, because there are a lot of competing tools out there. However, depending on your needs and budget, there’s sure to be a great choice for every company.
Awario is a newer social listening tool that covers a wide variety of social platforms and provides key features for a reasonable price. Brandwatch is a tool focused on large corporations and provides detailed analytics. Mention is old-school, but still an excellent choice if you want posting info sent to you every day. Talkwalker is a freemium service that’s great for agencies and large companies. Buzzsumo is tailored to brands who want to engage in influencer marketing, and includes discovery tools. Linkfluence is unique in two ways: it can follow Chinese networks, and it has image recognition. Keyhole gives a comprehensive view of how many people are keeping track of you, and allows integration with your website. Union Metrics is a mixture of listening tool and advice on when to post things. Tweetdeck is a Twitter-only listening tool and manager in one. Tailwind offers hashtag and trend monitoring on Pinterest and Instagram. Sprout Social will both monitor and manage Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Sprinklr Social Listening is a comprehensive service that allows you to buy only what you need. Hootsuite monitors Twitter and Instagram, while offering integrations that help make it part of your overall program. Zoho is a bare bones social media manager that also listens, and it is recommended for small teams. Finally, IFTTT is a tool that allows you to write applets for your website, and these can be used to assist in social listening.
Social Listening and Crisis Management
Oh, dear. Someone is trashing you on social media. Whether you deserve the bad press or not, you have a potentially significant problem to deal with. After all, the last thing you want is to have your reputation irreparably damaged.
Not all social media related crises are a result of someone trashing your brand. Sometimes you trash it yourself. Miloz Krasinski gives us a somewhat humorous discussion of the ways in which companies have reacted to the ongoing health crisis. He puts them in two groups: the good guys, and the bad guys. Good guys do things like refrain from trying to sell anything, while at the same time attempting to lift people’s spirits. A few others advertise free versions of their services. Bad guys are viewed as profiteers, such as companies that advertise sales on social media. While there’s nothing bad about that in and of itself, the bad guys do it in ways that are tone deaf. Finally, for some comic relief a few funny social media posts are thrown in.
Krasinski’s point is simple: some types of crisis are unavoidable. However, what is avoidable is looking like a profiteering ogre in the wake of poorly planned posting. Brands should always look beyond their intended message to see how others might misconstrue it. Especially in a crisis, some people are humorless.
Sadly, unlike the health crisis discussed in the last post, some crises are the brand’s fault. There are three levels: reputational loss, financial loss, and public safety issues. Reputational losses are minor issues like customer complaints arising from not meeting expectations. Financial loss can include everything from declining sales to major lawsuits. Public safety issues are things like regulatory and product liability problems. The last type is very dangerous and often results in business failure.
The way to avoid business failure is to turn a crisis into an opportunity. Part of this is to have a crisis management plan that includes social listening, because social listening can give an early warning of trouble. Ideally, you can deal with issues before they become more than just a whisper. If that fails, there are more significant responses that need to be made. These include public apologies, employee discipline, and media releases. With some work, you may be able to come back from the brink.
Check Out All of Our Social Listening Posts Below!
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