It won’t be long until the benefits of social listening become very real.Click To Tweet
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- Social Media Crisis Planning Template
- Social Media Negative Comment Response Template
What is Social Listening?As outlined briefly above, social listening is the process of monitoring social media and the web for mentions of any keyword with a dedicated monitoring and analytics tool. Think of it as having a personal superhuman assistant whose only job is to find every online mention of your brand, campaign, product, or whatever it is you’re monitoring, and analyze the data to draw actionable insights. The analytics offered by social listening tools ranges from the sentiment of conversations — like the prevailing tone behind the mentions to the biggest topics, hashtags, and influencers most active in online discussions around your company. These are all valuable, data-driven insights updated in real-time. Social listening and PR go hand in hand because they’re both focused on the audience. Armed with a social listening tool, you’ll always be in complete sync with the people and institutions un which your PR efforts are targeted. We’ll now explore all the ways you can use social listening to up your PR strategy. To follow this how-to, you’ll need a social listening tool. There are many great toolkits to choose from; some of the most popular options include Awario (full disclosure: I’m on Awario’s marketing team), Social Pilot, Talkwalker, and Brandwatch. As soon as you’re ready to test-drive social listening for PR, grab a tool of your choice and follow along.
Measuring Brand AwarenessBrand awareness is the cornerstone metric of social listening and PR alike. To get an assessment of brand awareness, you need to set your social listening tool to monitor a brand name. This usually requires inputting your brand name and parameters — such as sources, languages, and locations of mentions, as well as the date range and any other filters your tool offers. Pro tip: For monitoring common-word or ambiguous brand names, you’ll need a tool with the Boolean search mode. Social listening is perfect for measuring brand awareness that translates into a share of voice, which correlates to market share. The logic is simple here: the more a company is talked about on social media and the web, the bigger its brand awareness gets. Robust brand awareness means a bigger share of voice and, consequently, a more prominent place on the market.
Monitoring and Managing ReputationReputation monitoring and management is another key case of social listening and a major direction of PR activities. In addition to simply monitoring social media and the web, social listening tools perform sentiment analysis and measure brand health.
Reputation monitoring and management is a key case of social listening and a major direction of PR activities.Click To Tweet
Gathering Competition IntelThe most valuable and practical PR lessons — first-hand experience aside — come from direct competitors and industry leaders. They operate in the same environment and, therefore, have tested tactics, products, and campaigns you might be considering. Social listening lets you identify industry leaders and keep close tabs on them the same way you keep tabs on your own brand — by setting up continuous mentions monitoring, only this time including competitors’ brand names. Pro tip: When setting up mention monitoring for multiple-word brand names, make sure you put them in quotes to indicate an exact match — just like you would for a regular web search. When tracking competitor brand names, you’ll be getting all of the insights social listening delivers for your own brand; from the volume and sentiment of mentions to key topics featured alongside the name of a marketing campaign. The beautiful thing about competition analysis with social listening is that you can virtually extract any insights you’re after. As long as it’s somewhere on social media or the web, social listening tools will mine the gold of competition intel.
Monitoring Media CoverageThorough mass media monitoring is a PR priority that doesn’t lose relevance to this day, only now it’s moved largely to social networks. With social listening, the job that was traditionally entrusted to Google alerts and social media monitoring tools is now automated to perfection with tools that cover both web and social media news — including untagged brand mentions. You’ll see an overview of mass media coverage together with all your social listening analytics. Basically, the task of tracking media coverage and exploring the publishers active in your industry is halfway done, as soon as your social listening tool has gathered enough brand monitoring data to display other stats and metrics. Monitoring the coverage your company receives is the groundwork. Next step is laying the foundation for a thicker media coverage of upcoming events, product launches, and future campaigns. Social listening tools let you interact with mentions from the media right away or retrieve all contact details needed to reach out to a web-based media outlet. As long as you keep building relationships with industry media, you’ll always know where to pitch your next press release. Pro tip: Make sure you also check niche publishers working with your competitors and note down some contact names.
Engaging InfluencersIn the age of digital everything, social media influencers are as powerful of an asset in PR as they are in marketing. When laying out your PR strategy, make sure you include influencer outreach to cover more audience segments. There are many influencer marketing tools designed to bring you opinion leaders and social media influencers. Meanwhile, social listening tools let you set up laser-sharp search for micro-, macro-, and everything in-between types of influencers. With a social listening tool, you get to source influencers three ways.
- By monitoring your own brand: Start monitoring your brand name and discover social media influencers among the people already talking about your products or services.
- By monitoring your competitors: Start monitoring your competitors’ brand names and explore their brand ambassadors.
Conducting Audience AnalysisEssentially, all social listening is continuous audience analysis. Every metric comes from raw user data, and you get to fact-check every relevant PR insight by going back to individual posts and social media conversations. As long as you keep mentions monitoring going, you always have a shortcut to your audience — both current and potential. While mentions monitoring your brand, you get real-time updates on how people interact with the content, products, and services you put out there. While monitoring your industry, competitors, and anything niche-specific, you get to tap into new target audiences and markets. From demographic insights, like gender and age to locations and languages — social listening tools give you every audience metric to support your PR strategy. As you get to set up mentions monitoring for anything words can say, social listening empowers you to run audience research of any scope. Here are some examples of targeted audience research you can do with social listening:
- What topics resonate best with your audiences?
- What kind of products and services are in demand?
- What market segments are under-served by your competitors?