By now, most brands understand a strong social media presence is made up of more than just a steady stream of content. It requires a comprehensive strategy that revolves around not just talking, but also listening.

Enter, social listening. For those who may be unfamiliar, social listening is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process of listening to online conversations between customers or potential buyers in an effort to gain valuable brand and industry insights.

Here are our top three B2B social listening best practices:

If you’re new to social listening, we recommend you take the following steps in order to get started:

Set up Google Alerts: Use this feature of Google to receive emails every time Google discovers a new mention of your brand, industry, or competitors. Be sure to track keywords related to your products, your company name, key employees at your company, the names of competitors, and anything else you think is important.

Monitor hashtags: Track keywords and hashtags using Twitter’s built-in search feature. These should include mentions of your brand, but also keywords that indicate someone is ready to make a purchase. For example, a cell phone service provider might monitor ‘dropped call’ or ‘no service’,

Invest in a social media management tool: Social media tools don’t just schedule your posts anymore. Many come with advanced tracking capabilities that allow you to listen to customers, track competitors, and automate social media reports. If you have budget for a social media management tool, we recommend you take the leap. These tools can streamline social listening processes to make it incredibly quick and easy.

Now if you’re ready to get into the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of social listening, keep reading. We’ve compiled our top tips and best practices for social listening.

1. Understand your target market.

Only 24% of brands say they do social listening (source). The reason for this is simple.

For B2B companies especially, talk about your brand doesn’t often make it to the day’s trending topics. While social media users love sharing their favorite things to eat, wear and do, they aren’t necessarily dying to talk about your products or services. This is the main reason B2B marketers shy away from social listening. However, quantity doesn’t always trump quality and while these conversations may lack in volume, they make up for it in value.

Social listening allows you to take a peek into the topics your target market truly cares about. Better insight into your customers’ interests not only allows for better content development, but it can also influence your brand’s entire marketing process, from your PR strategy to where you should place digital ads.

2. Find out what people are saying behind your back.

Social listening requires a lot more effort than just checking your notifications or @ mentions. On Twitter alone, 30% of Tweets about your company don’t include your Twitter handle. In fact, only 9% of Tweets that impact your company are actually directed at your brand (source). This means most conversations about your brand are happening without you.

If you’re not implementing correct social listening practices and actively digging for feedback, you could be missing out on key insights from current and potential customers. This feedback is not only helpful in a marketing sense but can aid in improving a number of other business processes from product/service development to customer service practices.

3. Keep your friends close.

A satisfied customer is the backbone of every successful company. This is especially true for B2B companies, which often rely on customer testimonials to bolster their marketing efforts. Social media makes it easier than ever for current customers to provide transparent feedback about their experience with your company. Social listening allows you to track and analyze patterns of sentiment amongst your current customers, be it good or bad.

While positive mentions are great, not everyone is going to have an amazing experience with your brand. Social listening allows a business to stay on top of complaints and provide customers with an immediate assistance. Timely, appropriate and helpful responses ensure customer loyalty and show prospective clients how great you are to work with.

4. Keep your enemies closer.

Social listening not only provides insights into your own company, but it allows you to keep tabs on your competition. While it’s important to listen to your consumer, it’s equally important to listen to your competitors. Are your biggest competitors beating you in the social realm and if so, how? Social listening can provide you with these answers.

For more information about reaching your prospects and finding customers, contact ZoomInfo today! Our contact database is the resource you need to improve your marketing campaigns.

About the author

Ryan Hadfield

Ryan Hadfield is a content marketing director at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact data solution.

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