What You Need to Know to Launch a Social Listening Campaign

Developing a social listening campaign is an important part of any communications strategy, as it can point to new trends as well as be invaluable as a crisis and issues management tool. But thanks to technology, it need not be difficult. Here are some tools communications professionals are using to ensure they know what is bubbling about their brands on social media.

“One way I launch a social listening campaign is through ahref's listening tool, which sends you a daily email of every brand name mention online,"  said Stacy Caprio, Chicago, founder of Accelerated Growth Marketing. "I have found it helpful to find places where clients are quoted but not linked to or attributed correctly, as well as to stay on top of online mentions and features."

Caprio said ahrefs is better than Google Alerts because Google Alerts does not send all online mentions, "while ahrefs includes more mentions of my name online, along with more information about the mentioning site including Domain Authority.” 

Believe in the value of intelligence

“It’s crazy, but there are still many teams and clients who do not operate using intelligence of any kind," said Mike Cearley, global managing director, Social and Innovation (S&I) at FleishmanHillard, Dallas."I think it’s important to strip away any sort of technology (and therefore perceived complexity) right off the bat and start with the principles of good relationships (because that’s what we should all be trying to do – create, nurture, or protect relationships that matter to us), and one key principle to any good relationship is to be a good listener. If you value that, you can start to understand where people are coming from, what they feel, what makes them feel that way, and it helps you understand what, if anything, you can do about it."

Define your objectives

“What are you really trying to do? And who are you really trying to reach? The depth to which we can define these help us set up—with commensurate degrees of specificity—who and what we’re going to listen for. If you can really nail down the answer to these questions, you can get back some pretty focused intelligence, from which you can derive some productive insights," Cearley said.

Be consistent

“One of the biggest values of the intelligence that comes from social listening is that it’s always-on,"  "You can continuously listen and, in turn, optimize your efforts. Listening for a moment in time, or for a campaign, gives you a singular snapshot, but it’s only that — a conversation that is happening at a point in time. Set up the listening so it constantly feeds into your team.”

He said marketing agencies and companies that he works with do this by multiple methods, including:

  • Searching specific keywords on social media to see how the public is referencing them
  • Analyzing data through email or chat bot inquiries
  • Using Google trends for data on brand intelligence
  • Scanning search inquiries from SEM searches
  • Conducting study groups

"The data collected for this intelligence is never-ending but always subjective, said Sarah Scott, founder, Amboxie Analytics in Portland, Oregon. "However, it does provide important insight into what people are saying about your brand and your service or product. By studying this data a company can learn about most common issues from customers, what your customers like the most about your brand, the demographics of your social media audience, and if the social media community are positively or negatively impacting your brand and reputation... Listening to customers is important, and with today’s technology we can hear them more now than ever.”

"Social listening campaigns can be very revealing and not having a strategy in place sets a business up for missed opportunities," said Jolene Rheault of Refresh Marketing in Colorado. "Not only do these campaigns help a brand to engage at a higher level with their consumer base, but provides insights into the types of hashtags that are relevant and to discover keywords which can be informative for other areas of the marketing department as well.

She said Mention is a tool provides live updates based on your company name, website, usernames, and hashtags; you can respond directly to a social media user within its website.