When it comes to the adoption of social media marketing as a tactic for driving business growth, longstanding proponents of this tactic have seen their views validated over the past few years: social media is now everywhere you look. Research from NewsCred shows that nearly nine out of every ten B2B marketers are using social media to distribute content.
Businesses may not be fighting the social revolution anymore, but there are some problems with the way that they are embracing it. In particular, many companies are still having trouble both connecting with customers and prospects and understanding how well their social media efforts are doing. According to many recent marketing surveys, three of the areas that social media marketers understand the least include analytics, social listening, and social selling.
To overcome this challenge, companies need to think differently about listening. The most effective way to gain an understanding of your social media activities that is both broad and deep is to break down your social media analysis into two areas: conversations and connections.
The Two Types of Drilled Down Social Media Listening
Before you rush to prepare fancy graphs or charts that show off your existing social media analysis skills, let’s take time to understand the two types of feedback that we can gain from social listening.
Conversations are defined as what people are saying as it relates to your brand, your products and services, and your industry. Conversations could be what you find in hashtags, keyword searches, responses to events and product launches, and so on. Remember to think about both the content and the context of the conversation, and take note of the languages that your prospects use: it’s probably a good idea to use Google’s Keyword Planner for this part, so that your natural tendency to use the language of your internal organization does not slip into your conversational listening.
Connections, on the other hand, are the different segments of people on social networks who are having these conversations. The connection side of drilled down listening is more about the people, and the online communities in which they reside
Don’t just focus on the people who are talking about your brand: think about who they are and what other concerns and interests they might have. Do they represent your ideal buyer persona? You might be surprised at how often your imagined ideal customer is not quite in line with the people who seem to be the biggest fans of your company.
After you have a good understanding of these two listening types, it’s time to dig in and get your hands dirty by exploring some of the underlying concepts of these two types of listening.
Drilled Down Social Media Listening Explained
When it comes to conversations, your main focus should be getting enough information about the conversations. How big are they? How long do they last? Which types of people are participating? For this kind of drill down, you will be well-served by using listening tools like Mutual Mind and Onecube, which give you the ability to tag your conversations based on who is participating in them, what they are about, and what kind of value they may hold for your organization. When you can categorize conversations in this way, you become more aware of which ones you should be trying to get in on, which helps refine your social media marketing.
For connections, it’s important to keep in mind both the concept of influencers on social media and how to group them. Who are the people that are engaging the most with your content? Why are they engaging with your brand: positive or negative experiences? When you are drilling down into connections on social media, don’t stop just at the people who are directly talking about you or the people who are considered “influencers.” These people are certainly important, and make a good starting point for drilling, but remember to dig two or three degrees deeper into their connections and find some people who they know. Odds are you will be able to find a few people within these connections who could be very valuable for your company in other ways. Now that you know who these people are, you can start to group them into categories and use what you learn from the conversational listening stage to build positive relationships with them.
The puzzle that is social media marketing seems to be shifting constantly: once a marketer thinks they have it put together, the picture completely changes. By following the drilled down listening concept and dividing your social media feedback and analytics into two distinct areas, you can do a better job at really understanding what people are saying and who is saying it on social media.