Social Listening and Identifying Opportunities Through Data

If you're like me and are someone who enjoys getting her hands dirty, then you will like the creative process that comes with sifting, categorizing and identifying new ideas through the data that’s being pooled in by the tool. Notice that I used the word “creative”. Why?

Well, I believe that problem-solving is a huge component of creativity. This requires the ability to detect patterns, synthesize and provide recommendations based on all the data that’s retrieved. As you begin the process of social listening, you will find yourself bubbling with new ideas especially when you’re buried in social conversations about your brand and then you’re suddenly inspired with an idea. Sometimes, all it takes is listening to your audience on how to innovate or make your brand/product better.

So, how can you use your social listening data to help your business?

 1.     Content marketing
This is a powerful one. When you can tune in to the conversations about your brand, you will definitely have more ideas on how to make your content more relevant because you know exactly what your audience is looking for. I think the greatest tragedy on earth is churning content that is irrelevant to your target audience. And from what I can see, this happens a lot. When you have a social listening tool that’s constantly pulling in feedback, ideas, thoughts and conversations from your audience, you will find yourself addressing the need of your audience through content which in turn will have positive effect on your brand. And the best part is that you are able to track the response of your content and improvise where necessary.

2.   Social Media Channel Strategy
Yes, we all know that Facebook is the conversation platform, Twitter is the premier reach platform and Instagram is the #influencerhub. But let me remind you that in the wonderful world of social media, one size does not fit all. When tracking the media breakdown of your mentions, notice the reach and audience size of each platform from where your mentions are derived. Perhaps you've spent all your time and effort beefing up your Facebook strategy, when in fact, most of your target audience congregate on Instagram. Once you've analysed the media breakdown of your mentions, you'll be able to determine the purpose for each platform and the content pillars + paid strategy to support it. The last thing you want is mismatched objectives on social.

3.   Crisis management.
Of course, this forms the crux of most social listening strategies. I find this particularly useful for Telco, Banks and Government corporations where the chances of “unwanted” viral conversations happen. When you have a dashboard set up for crisis management, you will be able to present concrete evidence and figures on the amount of people talking about you, which media had the highest activity, what hashtags were trending and some tools even track emojis! This helps your PR team form a better response to crisis management because you have a better view of the situation, thanks to the data you have at your fingertips.

4. New Business Opportunities
Very important. If you have an app or a service, even more so. While sifting through the data, you might find yourself with new ideas and key insights on how to expand your business. If you're stuck on how to solve a product-related problem, you could tune in to the feedback you are receiving from your audience and then detail your action plan on how you're going to address it. One of the great things about a social listening tool is the ability to geo-locate my audience. This means I can identify potential micro influencers or brand advocates and leverage on hashtags surrounding my brands. At the end of my report I insert a table with three main sections - key insights, recommendations/opportunities and next steps. This produces a brief plan on how to maximise the data I have derived which can be used for the benefit of the brand.

As you continue your journey with social listening, you will find yourself filtering a lot of information, firming up your keywords to improve your data tracking and sometimes, feeling amused by the reactions you receive from your audience. It’s all a process of ensuring that you are able to track and monitor what is being said about your brand/product and then leveraging on that to bring about changes and new opportunities to take your brand to the next level.