Until a few years ago, the marketing and influencer space was dominated by one-sided communication. The advent of social media brought to us influencers who have their own dedicated following. Brands can now leverage this audience to increase their social influence, increase awareness, encourage dialogue among audiences and increase sales. Today, brands have taken to the interactive medium of social media to connect to their audience. Apart from using owned social media channels, brands are also reaching out to consumers via the influencer’s social media space. Influencers are encouraging a great deal of brand / product related conversations that happen on social media. At a time when audiences reach out to brands and seek responses on social media – it becomes imperative for brands to monitor, listen to conversations and derive actionable insights out of them. Social listening has picked up pace in the world of digital marketing.
An increasing number of brands are focusing their efforts and resources on advanced social listening tools to track, analyze, and respond to conversations about them on social media. Earlier, audience tracking was more about monitoring, where brands would merely look at metrics like brand mentions and industry trends. Social listening now enables them to look beyond numbers, understand the sentiment behind the data, and take responsible action. Brands can now respond quicker to negative / positive posts, avoid PR disasters, track competitors, understand consumer pain points and enable them to have better relationships with audiences.
Identifying Influencers and Advocates
Brands can be aware of conversations about their industry, giving them a sense of who / what influences the audience. These influencers can have a great deal of influence on how their followers feel about the brand.
If 2 celebrities were to pose with a bike (assume similar number of followers), and if the former receives 2x more comments and 3x more likes on their picture than the latter, the brand would know they need to target the new sports bike to the former’s social media following.
Selecting the Right Social Media Channels
The multitude of platforms can tempt marketers to target audiences on multiple channels. Instead, planners should look at the density of social media conversations and understand where to focus their influencer marketing spends. The affinity to different content formats can again help brands understand the choice of medium for a particular target audience.
For a luxury beauty brand, the target audiences might be young women who engage with make-up and beauty videos on instagram, whereas a brand promoting anti-aging cream might have to reach out to its slightly older audiences on Facebook via video tutorials on anti – ageing skincare
Avoiding PR Disasters
Influencer brand content is also prone to backlash from audiences. Being aware of these conversations can help us understand possibly mishaps and helps brands respond to crisis situations immediately.
Deriving Consumer Insights and Pain Points
Influencers often candidly engage about products with their followers. Tracking these conversations could be a goldmine of insights about what the consumers want, consumption patterns and product satisfaction levels.
Growth / Formation of a Community
Brands can identify possible communities to build / grow, by detecting patterns in social conversations, which they can leverage for their own benefit. Understanding the influencers / their followers can help understand if a larger community can be formed, and the kind of conversations and tonality that appeals to them.
Acquisition based goals: Generating Sales Leads
Sometimes brands expect more straightforward and quick results from influencer campaigns in the form of sign ups / sales. Site analytics can miss out on information on potential customer’s intent and interest. Linguistic engagement on influencer posts can enable brands to judge these factors.
After a campaign is launched, brands can use social listening to analyse conversations, gauge success and optimise content further. Measuring reach, frequency, share of voice and ROI is all aided by social listening.
With the advent of modern social listening tools, brands have many ways to manage their influencer activity and social media better, mine better consumer centric insights, and maximise their ROI.