Before the days of web 2.0, social media, and mobile marketing, companies were forced to pay extravagant amounts of money on billboards, newspaper/magazine ads, TV commercials, and radio ads to try to generate brand awareness. Those forms of marketing are still utilized today, but many start-ups and small businesses do not have large budgets to pay for that kind of marketing campaign. Instead, modern businesses are finding brand awareness success through social media. According to a recent survey by Cox Business, “many businesses have begun spending an hour a day or more promoting their brand online – 43 percent of respondents said they spend six or more hours on social media marketing a week and 25 percent reported the number as closer to 10 hours a week” (1). Many of these businesses create more brand awareness by engaging their target market directly through the art of social listening. But what exactly is social listening? What are some best practices when using this strategy? How does social listening give you a distinct advantage when utilizing mobile marketing? Here are some tips to help your business utilize social listening to promote brand awareness and keep your company at top-of-mind.
As always, the first step with social media marketing is to pick the proper channels and make sure your website is mobile compatible. With 30% of time spent on the internet allocated to social media consumption and 60% of social media consumption being performed on mobile devices, you cannot have an effective social media presence without a mobile-functional website (2). To execute an effective social media campaign, it is important to create a buyer persona and map out what the customer journey will look like. This is a critical step in the process, as it helps reveal what social media channels your target customers are on and what kind of mindset they might be in when they are searching for content. It also will help your business to make the right decisions when considering mobile design.
After your business has chosen the social media channels that best fit your target demographics and ensured your site is mobile optimized, it is time to choose your handle names on each channel. Try to get your handle to match your business name across all platforms, as it helps make it easier for potential users to find you in whatever channel they are using (3). It also helps make print marketing materials cleaner and shows more professionalism (4). Don’t forget to link your handles to your website, or even to a specific landing page.
The next step in the process is to choose and set up a social listening platform. Hootsuite and Hubspot are some of the most popular social listening platforms out there. Research the keywords and hashtags that are associated with your business and use them to set up streams inside your social listening accounts. These streams will help you to monitor customer feedback about your brand and give you an opportunity to see what other industry discussions are being discussed on social media (5). This information will help your business gain pivotal insight into your customer base and their pain points, and help you uncover opportunities (6).
Once your business starts social listening, don’t forget to engage with potential customers on the platforms. It’s a great opportunity to be seen by both those you are speaking to directly, as well as all the other potential customers who are already involved in the discussion. It’s also the ideal way to be seen, as your customers will likely be on their mobile phone and can navigate to your website through your profile link. This engagement moves the target customer beyond the seeing stage to the thinking stage—and it’s quite possible the customer didn’t even know you existed until your business interacted with them on social.
In today’s digital world, many companies don’t realize the power of the information that can be found on social media. The difference between companies that simply have a social media presence, and those who actually use it to its full potential can be boiled down to social listening. Social listening gives your business the opportunity to interact directly with target customers in real-time and hopefully get your brand more top-of-mind in your exact target markets. The companies that use social listening effectively hold a distinct advantage over companies that do not, since they learn what is motivating their targets and can take advantage of new opportunities that could become a competitive advantage down the line.
These are just a few of the reasons that social listening is such a powerful tool. What other ways have you used social listening to give your company a competitive advantage? What kind of social listening experiences do you have? Have you ever interacted with a company you had never heard of until they engaged with you on social?
(1) Segal, Chelsea. “Chelsea Segal.” Cox BLUE, 2019, www.coxblue.com/social-media-as-cost-effective-small-business-tool/.
(2) Asano, Evan. “How Much Time Do People Spend on Social Media? [Infographic].” Social Media Today, 4 Jan. 2017, www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/how-much-time-do-people-spend-social-media-infographic.
(3) Team, Gro. “Claiming Social Media Handles for Your Business: Steps & Best Practices.” Gro Academy, 3 Oct. 2019, www.gro.academy/blog/claiming-social-media-handles-for-business/.
(4) “The Importance of Having Consistent Social Media Handles.” AIM Social Media Marketing, 15 Jan. 2019, aimsmmarketing.com/consistent-social-media-handles/.
(5, 6) Amaresan, Swetha. “What Is Social Listening & Why Is It Important?” HubSpot Blog, blog.hubspot.com/service/social-listening.