Every business needs to have a strong and comprehensive brand marketing strategy. Key points covered in this strategy include mission and vision, brand values, positioning, voice and tone and key messaging. Each one of these factors helps to build a strong brand foundation, one that enables businesses to see the whole picture and make clear and focussed decisions.
A successful brand strategy is one that helps you to combat competition and resonates well with your target audience thereby earning their loyalty and affinity. Social listening helps to enrich every aspect of your brand strategy with the informative and insightful data it collects.
Every brand strategy is made up of 4 key elements. They are:
- Target audience or your ideal audience
- Reference frame dealing with your brand positioning in the relevant markets
- Point of difference that makes your brand unique and different from the others and
- Reasons to believe that your brand is different.
By enabling you to understand the values and preferences of your target audience and by gathering data about the competitive landscape, social listening helps you to:
- Define relevant target audience
- Understand prospective audience
- Know where to position your brand to gain maximum advantage and
- Learn from the strategies used by your competitors to woo audiences.
Data obtained from social listening also benefits key messaging by helping you to send tailor-made messages to your target audience and build a healthy relationship with them.
Once you have a strong brand, you can leverage it to make better marketing decisions. Some of the ways by which social listening aids in this are:
- Understanding consumer needs: Social listening helps you to understand your audience preferences by:
- Monitoring all conversations taking place around your brand and
- Capturing audience feedback.
Every time your brand or any keyword related to it is mentioned in an audience conversation, social listening collects data. This data is analysed by experts and the takeaways are provided to the relevant executives so they can come up with an effective marketing strategy.
- Improving content creation: Content forms the core of every marketing strategy. Uploading informative, well-written and interesting content helps attract web visitors. Social listening helps to improve content creation by analysing the data obtained and finding possible patterns in audience conversations. Two key takeaways from this analysis that help you to generate target-specific content are:
- Understanding the type of content generating the maximum conversations and
- Evaluating what kind of conversations a certain content format generates.
Content generated based on these key takeaways help you to develop a unique target audience-specific content creation strategy for your brand. Uploading the same will further help to generate more traffic.
- Finding potential customers: Going through the conversations centred on your brand or keywords associated with it will help you identify potential leads. Targeting these leads with unique content will enable conversions. Thus, social listening proves to be a resourceful tool for finding leads and enabling their conversion.
- Identifying brand advocates: Social listening is extensively involved in spotting, identifying and listening to top content creators or influencers. These people along with other influential accounts advocating your brand can be brought on board to work for you as brand advocates, thereby increasing brand visibility.
However, it is important to choose good influencers and this choice depends on the outcome you expect to gain. For example, if you are looking to increase your reach, you need an influencer with a huge following and who writes content that is extensively shared. If you are looking at gaining more engagement, opt for influencers who are already posting engaging content about your brand. To improve brand sentiment, engage with someone who posts and advocates your brand frequently.
- Enhanced customer communication: Most people think of social media channels as a marketing tool. It is also a very good customer service channel that helps social marketers engage in meaningful conversation with the audience to build a strong brand following. They take advantage of social listening to understand the concerns, complaints, queries and requests of their target audience. Building a conversation around these topics help brands leverage the passion and pain points of their audience, address their concerns and start a healthy beneficial relationship with them. This enhanced customer communication makes a customer feel special and increases their loyalty towards your brand.
- Dealing with competition: The best way to deal with competition is to be knowledgeable about their weaknesses and strengths, yet be wary of them. While it is easy to gauge their strengths from their website, understanding their weaknesses can be quite challenging. Social listening makes you privy to vast amounts of market information. It becomes easy to spot competitor weaknesses and the mistakes they make from this data. Leveraging on this data will:
- Help you to sharpen your competitive advantages and
- Ensure you do not make the same mistakes they did.
It seems prudent to mention here that just as you are listening and gaining information on competitor shortcomings, they are also trying to do the same with you.
- Increasing the scope and scale of data obtained: Social listening does not have to be restricted to brands only. To maximise benefits from this strategy, you need to go deeper and analyse conversations centred around products as well. There are 2 ways to do this:
- Product category listening: Listening to conversations related to a specific product segment will help you analyse what your point of difference is. You can then concentrate on the same and position your brand in a relevant segment.
- Product theming: This method helps you to categorise conversations around your brand, break them into sub-segments dealing with specific product lines and even individual products. Creating a product-specific content strategy will enable you to increase focus on the same thereby guiding audience preferences towards it.
Both of these methods have merits and help you to gain a consolidated view of your brand, product lines and even specific products.
- Understanding terms and trends: Another rarely used benefit of social listening is its understanding of future trends. Focussing on today will help you gain traffic but retain them, you need to leverage on upcoming industry trend hashtags and act accordingly to:
- Align your branding and key messaging to the emerging trends and
- Ensure people continue to keep talking about your brand.
This will effectively enhance your brand stability and likeability among an audience notorious for being fickle.
It is common knowledge that social begins with community and community with a conversation. Using the social listening tool to identify the demographics of the audience and the topics generating positive and negative sentiments will help your brand develop relevant, well-received content thereby helping your brand make successful marketing decisions.