Are social media listening services useful?

Social Listening - Definition, Tools & Guide

Talking is silver, listening is gold. It's that easy to describe the enormous benefits of social listening. This is because data on a specific topic is recorded on social media. It is evaluated what is discussed about a brand, a product, a service or a person on the internet on the social platforms.

Find out in our specialist article

Social Media Monitoring vs Social Media Listening
Sounds almost the same, but is also almost the same. With social media monitoring, data is more likely to be collected, e.g. to evaluate the effectiveness or the success of a campaign, to measure the digital reputation or to be actively armed against shit storms. According to the definition, social listening is primarily about implementing the knowledge gained and developing new strategies. Another important difference is that social media monitoring tends to focus on content and other key figures - i.e. measuring the interaction rate, the number of likes, etc. - are used, while social listening tends to analyze the feeling behind the various social Media Posts is stuck. So how is your brand doing? What is your company's image like? What do potential customers think of your service or of you as a person? Basically, both terms are often used as synonyms for each other in practice.

What do you have to consider with regard to the GDPR?
Whether social listening is lawful in terms of data protection depends mainly on the individual privacy settings of the users. If the profile is set to "public", it is legitimate. Nevertheless, users must be informed about the saving of their data the first time. The procedure must correspond to the information obligation according to Art. 14 GDPR. In a specific case, a legal check is recommended to be on the safe side. For example, according to Art. 33 GDPR, it should be checked whether digital listening represents an impairment to the user. At Webbosaurus, we have been focusing on privacy and data security since our start in 2009, which means that our monitoring solutions are GDPR compliant.

Public data can be aggregated and evaluated in the tool.

Social listening in the application

This is how it works!
In private life you can just keep your ears open. But how does it work on the Internet? Most companies use tools here that automatically and independently monitor everything on social media that is talked about their brand, product or service. But also all topics that have to do with your company in any way are recorded in this way. It is important that this large amount of data is cleverly analyzed and converted into results that can be implemented immediately.

The first steps
You can't have your ears everywhere, can you? Yes, you can. As mentioned above, the social listening tools help with various features or platforms. In the first step, keywords and topics are defined, but these can also change in the course of the strategy. Especially when you've found out what words users use on social media.
As a little guide, the following terms should be included to get you started:

• The brand or product name
• The name of the company
• Important employees of the company (supervisory boards, board members, press officers, etc.)
• The typical keywords of the industry
• Claim and headlines of advertising campaigns
• Brand or product names of the competition

Important: you should also ask for the abbreviations and spelling errors of all terms.

Benefits for companies

A real opportunity for every company
In the offline business, no company would forego the advantages of social listening. Imagine hundreds of customers come to your store and complain about your products. Or about your behavior. You would immediately change your strategy and take countermeasures.
And this is exactly where social listening online helps. If a company does not know what users are complaining about, what moves them, what they are discussing and what they think, then this company cannot pursue a successful strategy. Without this tool, the company is on the Internet with blinkers, so to speak.

Listen first, then act
With social listening, there is a unique opportunity to act in real time and in an absolutely targeted manner. The marketing tool is ideal if you want to start communicating with users in good time. Because nowhere do you find out so clearly and quickly whether a shit storm is imminent, the competition is more popular or your own company is on the wave of success. You can quickly see how the mood around your own brand is changing, how individual posts are received and which elements of communication score points and which do not. But just listening is not enough. If you find out through social listening that the mood is bad, you have to act directly. This is the only way for the community to feel that it is being taken seriously, that it is being listened to.

What can companies achieve with social listening?
There are different goals that one would like to pursue with digital listening. One company would only like to have one question or a topic answered, while another company uses the marketing tool as an ongoing strategy. In general, however, there are many areas in which social listening can be used
• crisis management
• Image control and building
• Service
• Trend analysis and insights
• Company perception
• Orientation of new campaigns
• Communication control

Targeted consumer insights can be generated by visualizing customer opinions.

Influencers and brand ambassadors
Brand ambassadors, i.e. people who report positively about a particular brand on social media, are important for the success of a brand. The same goes for influencers. With social listening, those responsible for marketing get to know the people who are most important to them. Working with exactly these people can be extremely successful. Because online credibility is almost unaffordable.

Analysis of the social listening data

And how do you use the collected data?
The data obtained are often chaotic. But that is in the nature of things, since you also include topics that are not relevant to you. Over time, however, it becomes clear which data are important and which keywords you have to use for them - and which not. So the point is to keep refining the settings. During the analysis one then pays attention to special characteristics. Since these are individual, here are just a few examples:
• Where are particular heights or even drops?
• Are there any seasonal trends?
• Are there any particular demographic features?
• When is there a lot of feedback?
• After which actions is there more traffic?

Who says what, when, where?
Sure, the big social media portals like Facebook and Instagram are important. However, companies should think one step further in their listening strategy and include many other networks. The brand can be discussed completely differently on Xing than on Facebook. Perhaps not a single cock crows for you on Twitter, but on LinkedIn.
So you not only have to know what is being said, but also where. Only then can you take targeted communication measures.

Share data, multiply opportunities
Social listening is interesting and important for all business departments. It therefore makes sense to collect the data centrally and to pass on the knowledge gained to a wide variety of locations. All relevant departments should be involved. Social listening is team work.

Bottom line: Social listening is great - if you act accordingly
The collected data must be checked for patterns and trends. How is the mood changing? Where are there deviations? In which direction is the discussion going? It is important to look at the big picture, not individual comments. And then act accordingly.
So basically like in real life.

The best social listening tools

Choosing the best social listening tool depends on many factors. In addition to the quantity of the observed sources, the quality of the structured data is also essential in order to integrate a tool in the company in a targeted manner. The rule of thumb is that the smaller the sum of the results, the higher the data quality must be. Incorrect assessments can lead to incorrect classifications quickly leading to a misinterpretation of the data. Accordingly, it is advisable to use a tool for results in the range <2,000 hits per month, which does not require any post-processing and has already correctly classified the posts with regard to mood and topic. With its monitoring tool, Webbosaurus offers a professional solution that is used by hundreds of users every day.

Integration of further data is becoming more and more important
In addition, reviews on Amazon, Google Maps and Co. are becoming more and more relevant for users' purchasing decisions. 30% of all searches start on Amazon and good ratings are often more important than the price alone. Companies should therefore not only rely on a tool that observes pure data from the social web, but can also be modularly expanded to include review monitoring data.