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Essential Features of a Social Listening Tool and Their Purpose

Essential Features of a Social Listening Tool and Their Purpose

As businesses edge towards their post-pandemic recovery, marketing budgets are seeing a slow return. The average marketing spend boosted from 6.4 percent to 9.5 percent of company revenue. These investments typically fuel campaign creation and brand strategy.

Of course, digital marketers are looking for cost-effective marketing tools that promote high returns and decrease the chances of further downtime. Some of these professionals are taking a strong liking for social listening tools, claiming that these tools are excellent platforms for improving brand messaging.

Learn more about social listening, its benefits, and the features you should watch for your social listening tool.

Social Listening Defined

For starters, what is social listening? You may have heard the term being used to describe when marketers analyze consumer or public opinion about a product or service. However, experts quickly clarify that this data or form of the data analyzed comes from social media content.

This content includes comments on social media posts and discussion threads on blogs or forums. Consequently, social listening emerged as a means to complement existing marketing platforms that focus on tracking user-generated content (UGC).

Process and Benefits

Social listening promises a good list of benefits, such as enabling marketers to unveil the factors involving their customers’ purchase decisions. Social listening insights can also improve customer service, brand reputation, and engagement.

The process of social listening starts with social media channels: marketers look at mentions and relevant keywords of the product, service, and competitor. The second part of the process involves analysis of the collective comments and keywords.

The social listening process aims to generate decisions informed by your analysis. These decisions include improving marketing efforts, or they may help you decide to partner with specific influencers who can add value to your overall marketing strategy.

The Listening Tool for Social Media and The Five Features

Considering the tenuous process of monitoring mentions or analyzing, it’s not sufficient to do social listening manually. Marketers can get a solid start and build traction by using a listening tool for social media instead.

The ideal social listening tool should equip marketers to track social media conversations, mine relevant themes and keywords, and perform analytics. However, a more advanced tool enables digital marketers to filter their searches better and more.

1. Tracking

A standard feature for a social media listening tool is the ability to monitor several mentions in real-time. Social listening tools can track trends, conversions, influencers, hashtags, campaigns, multi-language, viral content, and keywords.      

The last two of the eight tracking features are the most popular. Viral content tracking can tell marketers about viral content's scope, speed, and duration. This feature meets the marketer's need to understand content or campaign performance.  

Keyword tracking enables digital marketers to find all the mentions and discussions where a specific keyword is used. Marketers find this feature helpful in scouring brand mentions through many social media channels.

2. Data management

A social listening tool must come with data features that empower marketers to trace the sources of brand mentions and keywords, and perform a proper analysis. Sources include media, geographical regions, language, and industry.  

Other data-related features include cleaning and alerts. Data cleaning should equip marketers to filter out duplicate brand mentions, spam, and inappropriate discussions using a relevant keyword.

An alert set-up should help marketers become aware of emerging trends (involving a keyword or brand mention) as the trend is happening.

3. Image recognition

When people ask, “what is social listening,” almost everyone expects textual comments and forgets about the visual aspect. Image recognition is a critical social listening aspect that covers company or product logos and images used to represent a brand.

Using the tool, a digital marketer can find inappropriate images or determine when someone uses the logo to misrepresent the company. This search aims to ensure that you can spot the problematic image, request to put it down, and avoid long-term impacts on your brand identity.

Some social listening tools enable marketers to compare their brand image against a competitor. Other tools expand their logo tracking capabilities to include multiple regions, while some tools use AI technology to find the finer details of band use or misuse.

4. Analysis

A listening tool for social media must include audience, competitive, and sentiment analysis. Audience analysis can cover a range of consumer data, including preferences, personalities, and online habits.

Beyond comparing a brand versus competitors, a competitive or competitor analysis can enable marketers to monitor campaigns and provide a metrics-based performance assessment. It can also help inform a marketer's next move or improve the movement as it runs.

Sentiment analysis allows marketers to sort out brand mentions by positive, negative, or neutral. Some tools can even do automatic sentiment analysis in multiple languages. The results of this analysis can provide the required context that most marketers need to be able to decide their next move.

5. Engagement

A social media listening tool with engagement features ensures that marketers can better grasp consumers' behavior. This understanding can help improve brand engagement.

Besides brand mentions, an engagement feature covers people's sentiments on a product or service. Advanced tools can determine the sort of actions customers do in real-time, such as sharing a post. It can even help elucidate the content type people prefer (e.g., infographic versus only text post).

Further, some engagement features allow marketers to respond to commenters from the social listening tool and on various social media platforms. Other features involve finding brand mentions by influential people and determining which of these mentions had the higher engagement.

Other social listening tools can provide engagement figures by social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Social Listening Tool: In a Nutshell

A social media listening tool is an excellent investment for digital marketers who want to meet their marketing goals while being efficient and cost-effective. Five essential features of social listening tools include engagement, analysis, image recognition, data management, and tracking.

Besides pricing and reviews, marketers should look at free trial periods to see the coverage of each feature. With due diligence, marketers will be close to finding opportunities to ramp up their brand's visibility and engagement.

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