3 Social Listening Tools That Will Help You Understand Your Target Audience
Social media allows much more information, opinions, and voices to be shared and gathered than ever before, by giving many people a platform to speak who wouldn’t otherwise be heard. This is an exciting and important development for brands and political campaigns to monitor and understand public opinion at a much more individual level than was previously possible. However, with that new access to voices comes more responsibility in order to stand out. Social listening – paying attention to what’s being said online about your brand or campaign – is a hugely useful tool for marketing and political campaigns today.
While social listening isn’t as scientific and conclusive as polling or surveying, it can still be an incredibly important part of marketing and campaigning. Social listening can give you a more specific understanding about what people are saying and how you need to respond.
Of course, you could manage to track the conversation around your brand or campaign straight from social media platforms. However, this process is often not easy, fast, and efficient enough for busy brands and campaigns. In the past few years, quite a few social listening tools have been created that give businesses and campaigns the ability to “listen” to what users are saying about them online, track engagement, and sometimes even respond, all quickly and easily. Here’s a comparison of a few of the more popular social listening tools and some considerations you should take when making a decision:
The new Twitter dashboard, which launched only a few months ago, is a new and needed advancement open to business accounts on the site. The dashboard allows users to not only post and schedule tweets, as it had for years before, but also to build a custom feed that aggregates conversation around your business or campaign. This new tool uses keywords and hashtags to allows businesses to see what people are saying about them.
If you’re a smaller brand or campaign (with a Twitter account), the Twitter dashboard is an easy and built-in tool to help you with social listening. Combined with Facebook’s Business Manager, those with a smaller volume of engagement should be able to listen and respond easily without spending their budget on another tool.
Sprout Social is a very popular tool for social media engagement, listening, and scheduling. Larger campaigns and brands with a high volume of social chatter and internal maintenance would benefit greatly from Sprout Social’s easy-to-use interface. Here’s a quick overview of Sprout Social’s social listening capabilities:
- Monitor Twitter hashtags, messages, and keywords; Instagram keywords and locations; Facebook post engagements; and Facebook messages all in one dashboard
- Respond to user engagement on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ right from the tool
- Order reports to find trends in the conversation around your brand or campaign
- Use all of these capabilities in a simple and intuitive platform.
If you want to learn more about Sprout Social’s social listening capabilities, click here.
Hootsuite is a little older than Sprout Social, and is also very popular among social and digital marketers. Its interface can be a little clunky at times, but once you’re past the learning curve, it has many supremely helpful tools and capabilities. These capabilities allow you to:
- Gauge social sentiment and easily segment by demographic (This feature could be especially helpful for political campaigns to determine messaging for distinct segments of voters!)
- Look for conversation beyond social platforms by scanning blogs, news sites, forums, and more
- Respond directly to messages and engagement on social media platforms from the Hootsuite tool
Learn more about Hootsuite’s social listening capabilities here.
Whether or not you decide to use one of these tools is ultimately up to you, and should depend on your individual business or campaign. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re considering getting a tool for social listening, think through the following questions:
- How much social media engagement do you normally have?
- Do you have a bigger budget that can afford to use one of these tools?
- Do you have the time and capacity to manage social conversations without one?
- What social media platforms are you on, and would you benefit from expanding to others?
As CMG’s Crafter of Strategic Communication, Amy Libka combines strategy and creativity to help clients communicate as effectively as possible. She is passionate about clear, effective communication, and enjoys crafting messages that help individuals and groups achieve their goals. She specializes in creating content and managing digital advertising campaigns for a diverse group of clients.