The Social Network Universe
We all know the power of social media on our lives, from communicating with friends to buying the latest trend. Knowing what is trendy quickly is more important now than ever! Traditional methods of surveying aren’t quick enough to deploy to explore trends as they change fast. Not only this, there is a wide range of non-biased data from many sources at our disposal. This is where social listening and search data are paramount.
Most brands monitor their own social networks by using the social network provided analytics and they track the engagement along with other basic metrics. However, when this is not put into context or interpreted it can be meaningless data. It is all well and good knowing you have 500 Facebook likes on Wednesday, but why, what does that mean and how can you use this information?
This is where social and search listening/tracking comes into play…
In this post we will explore the overlooked value of Twitter and Search data. We will cover what social and search listening is, why it is important and real-life examples of useful insights.
Dealing with the misconceptions of Social Listening and Search data…
Social Listening is the act of tracking news/ blogs/ websites and social channels for a keyword to see when it is mentioned online. We can provide various metrics that would not be available in the social network’s analytics.
You can track your brand, competitors, topics, industries and trends in real-time or in retrospect.
We can see the various channels in one view to see the overall sentiment for your brand. We can establish which channel is the most popular and which channel has the best engagement which is far easier when comparing them in one dashboard. The possibilities are endless with identifying hashtags, themes, engaging content, audience demographics, potential new markets/audiences and the list goes on…
These tangible insights can be used to create successful campaigns and improve future strategies.
Search listening is a similar process but using Google search data which can establish what people search for in conjunction with your brand or product. We can establish sentiment of the searches and peaks and troughs over time. When you establish a peak, you can see what the related queries were and then track this on the social channels. Both methods can interlink and complement each other.
Why can Twitter and Google data be superior?
In our experience, we have come across organisations reluctant to use social listening due to there being more Twitter, Google search, news(papers) and forum/blog data than the vanity social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
For those who do not know all social listening tools and agencies have to abide by the constraints on Facebook and Instagram data due to their API restrictions. In brief, this allows you to view data on public pages you follow. This does mean you will not pick up data when an individual mentions your brand on their personal page, it would only be if someone mentioned the business on the business’ public page.
To put this into context, an influencer may praise the latest lipstick she has been paid to advertise with a flawless, filtered photo. Behind the scenes, she could be Googling an issue with the product (which we can identify with search listening).
If you want to see standard Facebook and Instagram metrics, you could do this yourself quite easily, you don’t need social listening to do this for you. Social listening is better utilised when we use it for interpreting the data to find tangible insights that can be used to improve marketing. We would rather tell you that there is ‘chat’ in a location surrounding your product which signifies an issue which you could rectify with a new product instead of highlighting a Facebook post which has one thousand likes.
In most cases organisations want to know what ‘issues’ can be reduced and what ‘opportunities’ can be taken advantage of. Twitter is a gold mine for this because of why we use it…
- Opinions and Complaints
- Easy to engage
- Good for B2B and B2C
- Twitter hasn’t changed much – and that’s a good thing for automated listening.
- We can talk to strangers
Another key issue for organisations is product and content ideation, they want to know what their consumers really want to help improve sales. Google search data is great for this as you can see which categories are rising, how much interest there is for your products over time, what the related queries are and emotions towards product, brand and organisations.
Bottom line is, you are using social listening to find the topics your audience relate to and one way you can gain engagement is by piggybacking on the trends they are naturally sharing.
Social Listening is not just for B2C, the World Wildlife Fund used their insights to produce a viral post:
What did this viral post mean for WWF?
- 213.3K retweets
- 27.5 million twitter timelines
- 100,000+ petition signatures
- £1.2 million raised
- 4% of donations from new donors
- 81% of petition signatures from people new to WWF
- 60 thousand more followers on social
- New support from influencers
- Increase in brand awareness
Social Media Marketing’s value is well-known to benefit B2C industries, namely retail. However, this method can be successful for many industries and cost-effective when you use an agency, avoiding large technological costs. For instance, WWF increased their spend in social media advertising and states this “has proved very cost effective” and led to increased supporters.
Return on investment (ROI) is thrown about as the be-all and end-all of decision-making. But with digital marketing, your investment is people. Nielsen found that over 90% of purchasing decisions from consumers are influenced by social media. And most people trust word of mouth and in the digital age, this can be authentic influencers.
You need to know as much as you can about your audience’s social activity from what they like to who they trust. This is where Social listening comes in to increase your revenue and drive social return on investment (SROI) up.
If you are not listening, your competitors might be…
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