Think about the social channels your company uses. Now consider how often you use these channels to not only track mentions and respond to comments, but to dig deeper into customer behavior. According to Alister Esam, a speaker, investor and author, social listening is a hugely valuable way to gain insight into your clients and prospects. He says it can help you optimize every part of the customer journey.

More and more businesses are tapping into the power of social listening. According to The Social Intelligence Lab, 58% of brands are using social listening more now than in 2019, with some of the most important sources being Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Want to get better at social listening? Keep reading this this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, where we share Esam’s guidance for creating a social listening strategy.

Identify your goals. What do you want to achieve from social listening? For example, Esam says you may want to gather information about where you stand relative to your competition. Or, you may want to gather intel on how prospects feel about a new product or discover new opportunities to gain leads. Set clear goals so you know what you are looking for.

Decide on the data you need. Once you have a clear idea of your goals, you should set parameters for data collection, Esam says. Determine what data you will collect through social media and create checklists. Esam suggests making a list of keywords related to your niche and tracking competitors’ brand names, handles and buzzwords.

Choose a social listening tool. Social listening requires monitoring and communicating across all your different social channels. A social listening tool can help you keep your ear to the ground and monitor conversations, mentions, hashtags and keywords, Esam says. He recommends picking one that has a dashboard that allows you to respond to mentions directly.

Establish a reporting schedule. The next step is to determine what you want to report and how often. Esam says that ideally, you should pair your social listening data with your social media analytics. Find out if actions taken through social listening increase your clicks, reach, leads and engagement. Doing so can help you understand what’s working for your social listening strategy and whether the data you’re collecting and the actions you’re taking based on the data are beneficial.

Social listening can bring big benefits. You can learn what issues or questions clients may have, and you can also discern the effectiveness of your various marketing campaigns and promotions. Overall, social listening gives you an overall feel for the public’s perception of your company. Having this information in your back pocket lets you fill in any gaps and carve out your position in the market.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Alister Esam is a speaker, investor and author who helps businesses flourish. He wrote the book, The Dirty Word: The Word That Fills People With Dread is the Key to Business Freedom.