It’s not unusual for us to listen to complaints by companies overwhelmed by social media conversations, unable to set proper monitoring sessions in order to obtain significant informations.
That’s why we thought about a quick guide to obtain the best results from social media listening, just a few steps to consider before starting, both if you’re using a tool or you’re asking professionals to analyse conversations for you.
Social listening is a precious activity, that will give you constantly updated informations about customers and prospects, with solutions much easier and cheaper than traditional methods such as surveys and focus groups.
Listening to social media conversations means observing behaviours of real users, not reading the answers of sample groups: datas that allow to collect quick informations, test solutions, experiments strategies, focus on new topics, and have immediate feedback.
That’s why, a company starting a new monitoring activity needs to know how to search the right informations, to maximise their utility: a wrong set-up will return wrong or illegible results, most of the time because of the amount of noise generated by unwanted or inconsistent messages.
Use automated tools but don’t forget the human factor
We strongly believe that even though you can’t obviously analyse big data without a good web intelligence tool, at the same time the most essential tool is an expert eye. Human comprehension of contexts and deeper meanings, our capacity to put information in perspective or to understand thematic correlations and relational dynamics can’t be delegated to any machine.
THE EIGHT STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL SOCIAL MEDIA LISTENING
So which steps will lead to the most correct and functional social listening session? Here’s our answer.
#1 Have a preliminary and quick overview
Monitor conversations in order to understand how much are users talking about you or about the topics you’re interested in and to map channels and platforms where these conversations are taking place.
#2 Identify the goals of your monitoring activities
What do you need to know? Which answers are you looking for? Do you want to focus on your accounts’ performance or on conversations about specific topics?
#3 Identify your target
Who do you want to interact with? Learning users’ interests, activities, and opinions will give you a clear view of who you want to reach.
#4 Define the semantic field
Each topic must be articulated in keywords able to define and limit a semantic field. Which words are commonly used to define the topic you’re interested in?
#5 Consider the context
Avoid ambiguity, terms that are too vague and research too wide, words that can have multiple meanings, short words or acronyms with different meanings in different languages.
#6 Find hashtags
Users talking about a specific question and willing to participate to a conversation use hashtags. Hashtags are the best indicators of a conversation going on. Usually though, not a single hashtag but a group of co-hashtags can be related with conversations on the same topic.
#7 Choose the right time unit
A daily or real-time monitoring routine allows to consider variations on visibility and sentiment, even in order to prevent reputation crises. A weekly monitoring is useful to adjust and modify a strategy, while a monthly report is a good method to understand long-period trends. You must wait for the conclusion of a campaign to determine its real success.
#8 Monitor trending topics and new hashtags
A listening session must be constantly readjusted. A new hashtag could be a signal to follow to find new opinions or trends, but also an early signal of crisis. Monitoring must be a constantly evolving routine, to follow the most interesting or unexpected results.
Using social media for your business, your company will have unprecedented opportunities to find interested prospects. Following our advices you’ll be able to identify, engage, and build relationships not only with loyal customers, but also with prospects and new strategic partners. If knowledge is the power why would you renounce?