You’re probably doing all you can to increase your sales numbers, and so are your fellow marketers. In fact, potential purchases are a highly popular topic which gets an incredible amount of social media buzz. That’s really good news for digital marketers who can now reach their target audiences by tapping into existing online conversations thanks to social listening tools.
What is social listening?
Social listening is the process of monitoring the Web for selected keywords (specified in project settings). Data sources include blog posts, articles, social media updates (e.g. Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagram posts), news sites, and forums. You can monitor your company name, personal name, your competitors, hashtags, or any phrases relevant to your business.
Volume of buzz
The good news is that people are turning to social media incredibly often to recommend products and services, as well as ask for recommendations. How many people are using the Web to do so? Well, here are some stats from a general project monitoring the phrase “can anyone recommend” to give you an idea.
In case you’re wondering if this type of data can be used in your niche, take a look at a few industry-specific examples of mentions related to IT, marketing, and software (including SaaS companies).
Generating sales with social listening
The influencers mentioned above have thousands of followers (and you can filter your results by influencer score to single them out), so it’s tempting to focus on them entirely. However, you should also attend to less followed social media members and interact with them. Think about it as the “long tail” of social listening – answering one majorly popular post may get you trials, but it’s typically much more likely to be crowded by other marketing professionals trying to bring their tool into the spotlight.
Interacting with many individuals with a smaller social media following (and less competition) may in fact yield similar results. Try both approaches to see which one works best for your business.
1. Think like a customer
The great thing about social listening is that you can get to know your customers better than anyone else does. You can see what they like, how they are using your product, and where they typically hang out. This knowledge allows you to reach out to your prospects in the most natural way and cater for their needs and preferences specifically, e.g. by answering their question where they choose to communicate it.
When setting up a project, think about how you’d search for a given product or service yourself. Think of the exact wording you’d choose, check the popularity of a given phrase, or hashtags people are likely to use.
2. Be authentic
We’ve all heard stories of companies trying to communicate with their audiences and failing miserably at that. There’s nothing more irritating that communicating with a bot-like social media specialist copying and pasting the same answers over and over again.
Whenever possible, use your personal profile rather than your official company account. This way you let people know they are talking to a real person – they will most likely look you up, or search through your profile to see who you are. Here’s how our Community Manager, Kuba Rogalski talks to people about our tool:
3. Offer to help
Take your time to interact with users: try answering their questions, suggest resources (also other than your own). Be your natural, conversational, and helpful self, and share your expertise with others while doing so.
4. Be quick
Time is money, and if you want to get ahead of your competition, you have to act quick. Some of the places we choose to interact in tend to have tons of comments. Bear in mind that people are most likely to look up products from most popular comments, or these visible right under the post. The good news is that you can adjust your notification settings to get the most of this type of activities.
5. Go for an omnichannel social media presence
While some of your potential customers may communicate most actively on Twitter, others choose to read (or write!) posts, or ask questions on Quora. Use social listening to identify where your prospects like to hang out, and join the conversations already taking place. This is exactly what we do here at Brand24 – we have team members responsible for various communication channels, and generally encourage our team to be active wherever they feel most at home.
Here’s an example from Gloria Ziencina-Kawula, our Community Manager, who is now “Most viewed author” on Quora when it comes to social media strategy and social media analytics.
6. Try monitoring your competition (but be extra careful)
Here’s a cheeky (and a little bit risky) tip for you – you can monitor phrases people use to talk about your competition (e.g. when they complain), and join the discussion.
Here’s an example from Mick Griffin, our Chief Revenue Officer:
Bear in mind this is a double-edged sword and you’re stepping into a conversation which is not particularly pleasant for the post addressee, so things may get ugly. That said, monitoring your competitors customer complaints gives you additional information on what people don’t like, which in turn can help you improve your product.
Another (and much safer) way to do so would be to monitor your competitor names and simply step in to introduce yourself into neutral or positive conversations:
7. Keep an eye on your interactions
Once you engage a conversation relevant to your subject, make sure you enable notifications and react to questions or comments. Don’t just leave the post unattended, hoping that your job is done. Keep the discussion going by answering to questions and comments that will likely appear.
Getting people to buy takes a lot of time and effort, and while some activities can be automated, others are most effective when the human element is involved. Remember that your job doesn’t end with people signing up for a trial or buying the tool – it’s only the beginning of your journey. The neverending war on churn means that you have to provide excellent customer service to existing clients, and plan your onboarding practices with due care.
Thanks to the awesome team at RightHello for featuring our article – we’d like to spread the love and offer a special discount code for RightHello clients and readers. To claim your 50% discount for a 3-month subscription, simply sign up for a free trial and enter your code “RIGHTHELLO” in the Promo section.
If you would like to find out more about social listening, you can also download our Free Social Listening Bible ebook.
About the Author:
Karolina Piwiec is the Head of Content @Brand24. Passionate about blogging, content marketing, and social listening. Avid reader & peanut butter fanatic.