Alanna Jackson is a founding partner at Jackson Marketing, Inc., a marketing firm located in Dunedin, Florida. In addition to her work at Jackson Marketing, Alanna is a co-host of The B2B Mix Show podcast. You can follow Alanna on Twitter at @alanna_jax and connect with her on LinkedIn.

bigstock-Modern-infographic-template-C-50890061Social listening is easier than ever with the various sites on the internet.  It’s easy to find people asking questions, commenting, sharing content, and giving opinions.  There are numerous websites that allow people to discuss all kinds of topics, which creates a goldmine of opportunity for marketers.  The key is to find out where your target market is talking and then all you need to do is listen.  By listening, you’ll learn a lot about what you need to know in order to connect them to products and services they need.

Forums and Q&A Sites

There are a plethora of forums and question-and-answer sites available for you to research and conduct your social listening.  These sites can help your marketing efforts in a number of ways.

  • Discover What Topics Are Hot Right Now – For example, you may be designing a new restaurant app for smartphones. You can learn a lot by viewing Restaurant forums to know where your focus should be.  If there’s a lot of discussion on where to find restaurants with a high health inspection score, then you can include that in your smart phone application.
  • Find Good Respondents for Surveys and Other Market Research – Forums and question sites provide a good fishing pool to find members that are active and leave the most replies. This will tell you that they are open to sharing their opinion and will most likely be happy to do the same for you.
  • Discover Priceless Insights – By looking at what people are saying, you can get a good insight into your industry. Read threads that are relevant to your products and services to learn exactly what people are looking for and provide feedback on how your product/services may benefit them and meet the needs on what they are seeking.
  • Get the Word Out – Forums and Q&A sites are great places to build brand awareness. If someone is searching for a product/service that you can provide, it gives you the opportunity to share information about your product/services to potential prospects.

Social Networking Sites

Social listening on social networking sites is even better than forum and question sites.  Engagement on these sites is very high and the topics are numerous.

  • Discover What’s Trending and Engage – It’s easy to discover what topics are trending on social networking sites. Then, you can see how people feel about the topics and start to engage them in conversation.  Opening up the door for them to learn more about you and your company.  Remember, the conversation doesn’t always have to be about you…it’s OK to discuss current trending topics that are not directly related to your company.  Your conversation can be seen by many others and give you a greater reach and be viewed as more than just a company trying to sell something.  Just make sure to pick your topics appropriately and respond with integrity.
  • Identify Potential Prospects By Their Interests – Most social networking sites provide ways for users to express their interests. On Facebook, you can identify a user’s interest by the things they “like”.  When lots of people like something, that’s a good indication that it’s popular.  You can also see what your target market likes by looking at your competitors’ profiles.

You can also identify their interests based on their profile description.  Most social networking sites have the ability to provide a detailed profile.  This is a great way to learn more about your target market and their interests.  Use this information to engage in conversation with your potential prospects.

  • Embrace The Hashtag – Hashtags are another great way to identify people that may be interested in certain topics or looking for a specific product/service. Social listening via hashtags is a great way to build brand awareness and engage with people on specific topics.
  • Use a Social Media Marketing Tool for Social Listening – In order to cut time on your social listening process, it’s important to get set up with a social media marketing tool. Most social media marketing tools allow you focus on specific keywords or your competitors to identify selling opportunities.  They will provide a feed that informs you when someone is talking about specific keywords, your competitors, or your company.  The opportunity to respond to these situations is invaluable.  For example, if you have a cleaning services business and you’re listening for when someone uses the keyword “cleaning services”, then you may find people asking others if they know of a good cleaning services company.  This will give you the opportunity to respond with information about your company.

It’s key to find out where your target market hangs out online and then join in on the conversation and engage with them.  Start with identifying your audience as thoroughly as possible.  You may even consider conducting a survey asking your current customers about their online activities or where they like to interact with their favorite brands.  Once you’ve identified the best avenues for your social listening, then join in on the conversation and create brand awareness.

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!