Historically, social listening has been one of those things only the big companies with big budgets and social media monitoring tools do. At least, that’s been my perception (and experience with clients) over the last 13 years as an independent.
However, according to a new survey by Social Media Today and Meltwater, a full 61% of companies now have social listening processes in place.
Not bad. That’s actually fairly encouraging.
However, as you dig a bit deeper into this report, you find that companies are missing significant opportunities to maximize and truly leverage social listening as the powerhouse it is.
In fact, according to the data in the report, it appears most companies are using social listening in a minimal way to track brand mentions and brand sentiment.
Companies are leaving a lot on the table here. There’s so much opportunity here for brands. What can companies do to better leverage social media listening? 3 big areas start to emerge as you look at this report:
1 – Using social listening to monitor campaign performance
As I said above, most companies that use social listening are doing a good job of using it for the basics–to track brand mentions and sentiment. However, fewer (close to 12%) are using social listening to track campaign performance. This is odd considering the time and budget investment brands are putting into social media marketing campaigns in 2022. After you launch that monster campaign you’ve been planning for months, why wouldn’t you take the time to listen to what customers and prospects had to say about your campaign and the way you laid it out? Why wouldn’t you set up listening streams for keywords around your campaign? Why wouldn’t you listen to hear what industry influencers and thought leaders said about your campaign? Couldn’t all this information be useful as you build out future campaigns? It sure could. And it’s a huge miss for brands.
2 – Using social listening to listen to more than just Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
Not surprisingly, brands are listening on the big four platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. This is a great place to start except for a couple key facts. First, Facebook is a closed social media environment, so I’m not sure how effective any listening effort is there. You can only listen to so much given privacy settings and the way Facebook is set up. Second, and probably more importantly, why wouldn’t you be listening to the #1 channel of the moment. The channel where trends are started. The channel where creators are increasingly playing. Why wouldn’t you listen to what’s happening on TikTok? According to the report, just 12% of brands are doing this now, compared to close to 65% who are listening on Facebook (a channel that is very hard to listen on, and one that carries far less relevance than it did 5 years ago). And TikTok is just one miss. What about Reddit? Pretty easy to listen there. What about YouTube? Another easy place to listen. Brands aren’t listening in the right spots–another big missed opportunity.
3 – Using social listening to track employee posts and thought leaders
Again, brands are doing the majority of their listening to brand mentions, industry keywords and hash tags. All great elements to listen to. However, companies are missing a golden opportunity to listen to–and identify–employee posts and thought leader content. Only 25% of companies are listening for employee content and just under 45% are listening to thought leader content. With such a huge focus on individuals vs. brands in social media marketing right now, it just seems strange that brands aren’t putting more focus on listening to the actual people. Why not listen for employee content and then repurpose that in their own brand feeds? Or, listen to topics thought leaders are talking about in their industry and then develop content around those topics before their competitors do? So many opportunities exist here for brands. It just means setting up a few more searches and spending a few minutes a day following along.