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5 Powerful Social Listening Strategies To Grow Your Business Faster In 2018

Of the 7.5 billion people in the world, 3.03 billion of them are active social media users.

Your customers are, obviously, among these users and they have conversations on social platforms every day. This creates an opportunity for you to listen to what they are saying and learn more about them.

And that’s basically what social listening is — monitoring what customers are saying on social.

But it wouldn’t make sense to just listen to what people are saying about you or your industry. If you’re a good listener, you are learning, and if you’re a good student, you apply what you know.

Koka Sexton of Slack once shared his journey with social media, where he explained how he sees social media as not just a platform to interact with people, but to build a pipeline of relevant customers to grow businesses.

I came across this idea of social networks. (…) At that point, the idea of leveraging social networks as a sales person was basically unheard of. My focus was optimizing that behavior. (…) I had the goal of building my pipeline and not building a brand or building a fan base.

It’s not enough to listen or even watch your fan base grow, you need to use what you’re listening to to grow your business.

What you need is a toolbox of the social listening strategies that can help you benefit from monitoring social interactions. How do you make the most of the conversations that happen about your brand and industry on social media?

Here are five social listening strategies to grow your business faster in 2018.

1. Send bottom-of-the-funnel customers to gated free trials, product pages or waiting lists

Like top-of-the-funnel buyers, bottom-of-the-funnel consumers are also always lurking around conversations about your industry, brand, or specific product.

These people have heard about your brand before.

And they’re ready to buy. They just need a few questions answered.

So they ask questions like “Is there a version that will include xyz feature coming soon?” OR “Can your product do this specific thing?” If you’re keeping tabs on conversations in your industry, you’ll be able to pull these prospects into the fold.

In 2017, top car brand Audi had a tweet where a prospective Audi buyer (Godwin) asked if they had any new upgrades on a couple of their cars.

Audi responded saying the feature is coming in 2018, and sent the buyer a link where he could sign up with them to get updated once it’s out.

Audi Responding to Inquiries on Twitter - Customer Service

Once the buyer clicks the link, Audi sends him to a well-designed landing page where he’s being welcomed as a lead. The car brand gets his info and gets the chance to alert him once his desired feature is out in the market.

Audi Landing Page - Email Capture

This is one of the best social listening strategies I’ve seen anywhere.

And there’s one beautiful but quite hidden advantage here: 67% of Americans say they get at least some of their news on social media.

This means while Audi is responding to Godwin with a signup form to fill, there are probably other potential buyers around who have the same question Godwin asked and would sign up to get updates from Audi as well — via the same page Audi sent to Godwin.

This way, Audi is using social listening as a tactic to generate more leads for their new car upgrade coming in 2018.

Another example: Aaron Lee, Regional Manager at Agorapulse, recently tweeted that he was looking for a good web host for a new site. New web host provider, ChemiCloud, took the stage and introduced Aaron to their new hosting platform.

Image of Chemicloud Hosting tweeting to Aaron

It’s a powerful social listening strategy to monitor these industry interactions and earn the opportunity to convert bottom-of-the-funnel prospects into actual paying buyers.

And if, like Audi, you don’t already have the feature or exact product a potential buyer is asking for, have a well-designed page ready to convert the person into a lead — so you have the opportunity to draw them back to your business when it’s time.

2. Refer top-of-the-funnel customers to ungated content (or any other value)

In social conversations in your industry, top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) customers are also always lurking around.

There’s always someone hearing about your brand or product for the first time or just seeing conversations about your brand or industry. Unlike the customers represented in my #1 strategy above, these people aren’t ready to buy anything; they only want to learn more about the matter being discussed — your product, brand or industry.

You can refer these customers to a piece of content, a handy tool, or any value that answers their questions and get them ready to buy.

Should you gate content (or any value at all) for TOFU customers?

Audi, in the example above, sent ready-to-buy prospects right from social interactions to a gated page; should you do the same for top-of-the-funnel customers? Not quite.

Picture this for a moment: you go to Twitter and find a promoted tweet that interests you. The tweet is from a brand you’ve never seen or heard of before, promoting a product you don’t entirely understand. So you’re curious. You want to learn more about about what’s being promoted. You reply the tweet asking “How do I get started?”

To which the brand replies, “Go to [this url] to learn how to get started.”

Would you click or not? You probably would. After all, you’re the one looking for answers.

But on getting to the page, you find a form asking for your personal information. Would you give your information just to learn more about a product? You probably won’t. Especially when you’re just trying to see how to get started with a product.

If you were ready to get started, that’s a different case, you’d sign up. But gating a page that’ll teach you how to get started? Not ideal.

Landing page leader Instapage puts it this way:

“During the awareness stage, most prospects know very little about your brand and have yet to trust you. Removing the gate from content in this stage can improve your brand’s visibility and enhance your credibility with prospects. As prospects move down the marketing funnel and are more interested in your business, they will be more likely to be willing to fill out a form in order to gain access to content like ebooks and webinars.”

So it’s best to make your tool, content or any other value ungated for TOFU people who just want to “learn more”.

You’ll also notice in the example above that Audi included a link in their tweet for top-of-the-funnel buyers to get more information about their available product (car).

Image of Audi Tweeting their new A8 and linking to a signup

The link takes TOFU prospects to a page that provides them with useful and intriguing information about the car. They learn about the different features of the car, like its new automated driving feature and interaction intelligence.

Remember, these are top-of-the-funnel customers from Audi’s social listening efforts. The car brand could have just tweeted and let it end there. But no, they squeezed more juice from their social listening and moved interested buyers further in their purchase journeys.

3. Turn negative feedback into opportunities

Here comes the horrible bit of social listening.

If you weren’t paying attention to what’s being said about your brand on social media, you’d be safe — like a turtle with its head in the sand. But if you’re listening, you would have to come across people who are not so pleased with your brand or product — AKA unhappy customers.

The study I cited earlier says 67% of Americans get news from social media. You can imagine how many people are watching when unhappy customers say things like these:

Image of Keyhole’s Sentiment page
Want to listen to your brand social interactions this way? Try Keyhole.

But what you do after getting bad reviews is what matters the most.

Social media expert Kim Garst advises that

While you don’t have direct control over the reviews people leave, there are two ways you can indirectly improve them:(1) Listen to negative feedback and use it to improve your business, and (2) Encourage satisfied customers or clients to leave reviews. This will dilute the impact of any negative reviews you receive.

Much of the damage from negative feedbacks is salvageable. And, working with complaints can be an opportunity to prove you really care about customers. Since these conversations happen on social media, everyone gets to see how you handle critics — especially when you handle them timely.

Author of the bestselling book The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, Tamar Weinberg, mirrors the same idea about handling critics with finesse and timeliness:

For social customer experience, it’s important to speak to users where they are and when they need you. It’s not just about Facebook and Twitter complaints. It’s about complaints that arise anywhere, including your own website.

However, it can be overwhelming to take note of every single piece of negative feedback, but the trick is to find the public embarrassments your company can do something about and handle the situation with finesse and style that impresses onlookers.

For example, JetBlue got a tweet from a customer who was complaining about being on a flight that had a bad headphone jack and a malfunctioning TV.

JetBlue - Unhappy Customer Review

JetBlue responded with what clearly looks like more than just an apology; they offered to compensate the customer with a $15 credit for the inconvenience (once she can confirm she’s the actual customer who had the experience).

Image of JetBlue’s reply

Again, the beautiful thing about this is that everybody is watching. CrazyEgg cofounder Hiten Shah puts it this way — “We all should remember the social in social media. Otherwise it would just be media. Social media on the whole is all about people.”

Enough said about negative feedback. What do you do with the positive news?

4. Retweet or repost positive feedback

When monitoring your social analytics, you’ll come across encouraging and energizing feedback about your brand or product. What do you do with that kind of tangible evidence? Just be glad you got a good note? No, repost them (or retweet if it’s Twitter). That’s one of the most effective social listening strategies you can utilize.

Retweeting or reposting your customers’ positive feedback is a great strategy because it reminds your followers of the awesomeness of what you’re selling, and it will likely interest new leads who happen to hear others raving about you. And customer content, like reviews and positive feedback, yields as much as a 133% higher conversion rate.

Money saving app Piggybank does a great job at this. They repost the positive reviews they get from Twitter right on their Instagram page.

Image of Sam Hart tweeting about 'Saving Violently' using Piggybank

And since consumers resonate more easily with reviews from fellow consumers than from ads sent out by brands, Piggybank’s happy customers see fit to testify to the customer review Piggybank posted…

Image of Sam Hart tweeting about 'Saving Violently' using Piggybank

And there are also bottom-of-the-funnel customers asking how to get started; here’s one:

Image of Piggybank linking signup

That said, you can’t possibly repost every single positive feedback — especially if you’re a huge business where your comments pile up in the hundreds and thousands.

But use the great ones. Using this as one of your core social listening strategies can put you on the good side of your customers and lead new folks into your funnel.

5. Use a social monitoring tool (with the right features)

After all’s said and done, one thing that can make or break your social listening strategy is your social listening or monitoring tool. It’s the single tool that your entire social listening strategy will be built on. Heck, there’s hardly any campaign you’ll run today successful without using some marketing technology.

A great social monitoring tool will:

  • Analyze the most engaging posts about your brand so you can leverage them.
  • Alert you when an influencer talks about you so you can leverage that too.
  • Tell you once a keyword or topic you’re tracking is being talked about on social.
  • Will have all these functionalities in one platform.

There are several tools out there. We recommend Keyhole. Are we biased because that’s our tool? Well, don’t take our word for it.

Renowned marketing guru Neil Patel says: “You don’t want to be the one that comes in late to the party after everyone’s already left and moved on to the next big thing. You’ll want to contribute when the topic is still hot so you can be a thought leader on the subject. You can easily accomplish that with a tool called Keyhole. This tool isn’t free, but it does a lot of things others can’t. And as a bonus, it’s extremely user-friendly. Can you guess how to get started? That’s right, sign up for (a free trial) account.”

Conclusion

Conversations will always go on in your industry, and when they do, you want to join in and take advantage of the chatter.

Whether people are holding conversations directly about your brand, your industry, or your competitors, information is passing between people at high speed. You simply have to keep listening and monitoring.

The social listening strategies above reap your company lots and lots of benefits. Be proactive and take advantage of the tools out there to be a good listener. Take notice and look lively. Your business will be one of the best because you did.

Keyhole How to Spark Brand Mentions on Social Media Analytics Hashtag Tracker

How To Spark Brand Mentions On Social Media

Brand mentions on social media can drive significant results for your business.

58% of consumers follow brands through social media. Imagine your brand getting mentioned by tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people. Or getting lots of replies from potential buyers to your social media posts. It’s possible.

People go to social media to talk about things that they find exciting, sad, or useful. You can have them talk about your brand if you know how to make that happen.

Here are five ways to explode your brand mentions on social media:

1. “Create a scene” during an industry event

Industry events are already popular, drawing large, attentive audiences. You can do something remarkable in the context of an event to expose your brand to a lot of relevant prospects.

Think of the industry event like a cube of sugar thrown onto the ground. Within minutes, the cube is covered with ants.

It’s the same with industry events. Although the exposure you get from them is short lived, you’re bound to have an impact on a few key players when you create a scene during the course of the event.

For example, Social Media Week is one powerful event in the digital marketing space, especially in the social media niche. TopRank created a list of 50 social media marketing influencers and featured Twitter Marketing Pro Madalyn Sklar in it — alongside 49 other influencers.

Sklar then shared the post on Twitter using the official Social Media Week hashtag, #SMMW18:

Image of Sklar appearing on Social Media Week

Her tweets would normally get one or two likes, retweets, or replies in 24 hours. But this one was quite different. Sklar got 23 likes, 3 tweets and 4 replies (or brand mentions) in three hours.

These aren’t very big numbers, but it’s a significant increase in relative average engagement.

TopRank had other featured influencers share the post on social media using #SMMW18. Social media guru and founder of Up My Influence Josh Elledge didn’t just tweet the post with the #SMMW18 hashtag, he pinned the tweet so it gets more exposure.

Influencers Live Tweeting Events - Pinned Tweets

Imagine the buzz created when 50 industry influencers are tweeting about them using the hashtag while Social Media Week is going on.

It’s a good example of creating something remarkable around popular industry events. A list of 50 social media influencers publishing while Social Media Week is going on is a powerful strategy to build brand mentions for TopRank.

However, before capitalizing on any event hashtag, you want to be sure the event is big enough and its hashtag is popular enough to drive your much needed social media brand mentions. This is where social monitoring tools come in.

For example, using the Keyhole (disclosure: I’m working with this brand) social monitoring tool, you can see key data about Social Media Week’s hashtag and then judge whether the event hashtag is worth creating something big about, or not.

Keyhole - Setting up #smmw2018 as a new tracker
Want to see the popularity of an industry event’s hashtag? Try Keyhole.

From this tracker, you’ll find that between February 23 and February 26, posts about #SMMW18 have reached over 6 million people on Twitter and Instagram.

Once you’ve seen the quality of the engagement an industry event has and it meets your needs for exposure, you can go ahead and create something exceptional using the event’s hashtag.

It’s a powerful way to drive brand mentions.

Another strategy to drive social media mentions using influencers. It’s a strategy most brands are using these days, but how do you ensure you’re doing it the right way? The key is to avoid using all types of influencers.

2. Avoid using too many influencers

For every $1 spent on influencer marketing, you get a $6.5 return. That’s quite a huge profit.

But, you don’t need all the possible influencers out there. While this may sound counter-intuitive, it can help increase your ROI and cut unnecessary costs.

Maybe you’ve seen stories and case studies of how influencers have helped your competitors (or any brand at all) grow, and then you feel you should get your hands on all the influencers you can think of. The more the influencers, the more your reach, right?

Well, not exactly.

You want to be sure you’re spending your advertising budget on influencers who actually have your target customers as followers. Social media marketing veteran Neal Schaffer mirrors the same idea

To begin, use listening tools and do keyword searches to learn who in your industry is talking about topics or products relevant to your business.

In a bid to use all the influencers you can get your hands on, you may end up using some who don’t have your target audience as followers.

Instead of spreading yourself thin in that way, cut back and work with just the influencers who can expose your brand to an audience hungry for your content or product. You will increase your ROI when you focus only on influencers who are followed by your target customer.

A baby-clothing brand, for instance, is better off using baby or mommy influencers, not a popular Instagram travel star or a pop singer.

A good example is how mommy blogger Laura (@bump.today) featured three baby-related brands in one post:

Targeted Influencer Marketing from bump.tobaby

Goldfish, lili.lane and Little Blessing Co. are all brands selling baby products. Goldfish sells baby food, the shorts on the baby are from lili.lane and the top is from Little Blessing Co.

These brands are going to be seen by Laura’s followers who are mostly moms — the target customers of the brands mentioned.

Now, how do you find specific influencers who your target customers mostly follow? Truth is you can simply do a google search like [industry term] + [influencers] and you’ll find a lot of options.

But a better way is to hook up with influencers who already talk about your brand on social media. Or, consider working with influencers who talk about your industry — even if they’ve never said anything about you.

Again, you’ll need a good social media monitoring tool. Using Keyhole, for instance, I can find influencers already talking about a brand like Gucci by tracking their hashtag — #Gucci. I just need to go to the influencers tab and I’ll find them there:

Image of Keyhole’s list of users using the hashtag Gucci

Want to find relevant influencers for your business? Try Keyhole.

The tool shows me Twitter and Instagram users with thousands and millions of followers who are talking about Gucci. I could also sort for influencers with the highest engagement rates by clicking the AVG ENG tab:

Image of Keyhole's list of users using the hashtag Gucci sorted by engagement

So before doing a wild search on Google for relevant influencers to promote your brand, you could save time by employing the powerful search capabilities of a social monitoring tool.

Use it to see which influencers are already praising your product.

These people have more experience with your product, and if they’re so popular that they ignore influencer marketing deals, you’ll be able to get in touch with them fast.

3. Know where target customers post from

There are now more social networks out there than ever before — obviously. Therefore, it’s vital that you know which platforms your target customers use the most.

You can, of course, be “everywhere” if you want, but you would be better off focusing your advertising efforts on relevant social platforms that will drive more brand mentions and ROI than others.

So how do you find out where your target customers hang out the most? Again, you need a social monitoring tool to find this out.

Take Ralph Lauren, for instance. Most of the fashion brand’s customers and retailers use the #RalphLauren hashtag to post the products they buy from them.

If Ralph Lauren were your competitor, you could track which sites and which parts of the world mention their hashtag the most — using Keyhole:

Image of Top Sites and Location on Keyhole dashboard

The results show most of the hashtags come from Twitter, which means most of the brand’s customers would be found on Twitter. Instagram is next on the chart, then eBay and so on.

This way, you can focus on driving more brand conversations from Instagram since that’s where most of your target customers are.

4. Discover which days your target consumers are most active

Social media never sleeps, right? True.

When Americans are sleeping, Asians and folks from other continents are wide awake tweeting and posting on social platforms.

In a recent Forbes article, Hootsuite’s Founder Ryan Holmes says:

[There is] a growing realization among businesses that social media is the single most effective way to reach audiences, with teens with teens (i.e. tomorrow’s consumers) now spending up to nine hours a day on social platforms.

However, while social media platforms are always active, there are days your audience is more active than most other days.

If your target customers appear to be hyperactive (in a good way) on certain days, it could mean those are the days they’re not bombarded with their jobs, family, or school (if they’re students).

You want to take advantage of these days and engage them.

Statistics show that posting on social media on specific days improves results. Hubspot, for instance, found that tweeting on Wednesdays gets more engagement than other days.

twitter - best time to post

However, not every research or study is exactly right for your business. You should check when your target customers are most active. You can do that with any good social monitoring tool. When they’re most active is the best time for you to post.

If you’re tracking your own social media account (or a competitor’s) using Keyhole’s Account Tracker, you will be given optimal posting times for that account based on engagement, taking out all the guesswork.

For example, you can use Keyhole to find what days of the week that retail brand ASOS gets engagement the most on Twitter:

Keyhole - Post Optimization - Best time to Post
Want to see your competitor’s best engagement days on social? Try Keyhole.

If ASOS was your competitor, you can see the days their customers are engaging with their tweets the most, and days they got little to no likes, retweets or replies.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the Hubspot’s statistics I cited, but your business may be getting most of its engagement on other days of the week. You need to track and compare to the most effective with your outreach.

5. Exploit User Generated Content (UGC)

If you’re not familiar with the term, UGC is: content (reviews) on social media generated by customers about your product.

90% of shoppers say user-generated content (UGC) on the Internet influences their decisions to make a purchase. And here’s how the rate of that influence has grown in recent years — according to data from Reevoo:

Gif of using influence of UGC on customer purchases

People trust other people recommending products to them more than advertising that comes directly from the brand.

HubSpot’s CEO Brian Halligan advises businesses to think about how to create a earned media (AKA User Generated Content) strategy…

My encouragement to service providers would be to…think about “How do we create a modern, earned media strategy?” Because that’s what really works in social media – it’s more content creation on the earned media side.

And rightly so. Whose recommendation are you more likely to trust — the brand’s or the consumer’s? Chances are high you’ll go for the latter.

A customer saying something about you on social media can spark conversations that promote your business.

And then, surprise of surprises, you find yourself receiving orders from the friends of a customer who just tweeted or posted about your product on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat.

But how do you get consumers to become advocates for your brand and say nice things about your business on social? There are several ways to go about this, a few of which include:

  • Contests: Ask customers to share your product with a specific hashtag, and they get the chance to win a prize.
  • Offer discounts: Encourage consumers to share your products with their friends and win discounts.
  • Fun hashtags: Consumers, especially millennials, naturally want to share new products they buy or love with their friends. Give them a happy-sounding hashtag to do this.

However, to make the most of UGC, you should consider sharing them on your timeline. That is, after customers post something about your brand, don’t just be happy you’re spoken well of, retweet or repost the UGC. This will improve your reach and will likely get you more brand mentions.

Wrap up

Brand mentions can drive huge results for your business. Afterall, more mentions naturally mean more popularity. And more popularity leads to better brand awareness and ultimately sales. Use the strategies above and you can drive social interactions about your brand or product like never before.

Featured Image by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Keyhole Customer Success Story Special Olympics Sports Social Media Listening Influencer Marketing

How The Special Olympics Captures Significant Moments on Social with Keyhole

As the world’s largest sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities, the Special Olympics represent more than 4.9 million athletes, alongside 1 million volunteers across the world. They began to use the real-time social analytics platform Keyhole to capture the social buzz around their 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Special Olympics for Keyhole

How Keyhole Helps

Keyhole’s Dashboard allows Ryan and his social media team to watch the social action of the Special Olympics unfold in real-time, with context-aware Posts that sort audiences based on follower count and engagement. This provides his team with insight into who is truly a “Social Ambassador.”

Special Olympics for Keyhole

While monitoring social media action is a top priority, the social team at the Special Olympics also monitor and organize all celebrity endorsements and ambassador work, which allows the team to be far more robust when planning how social activations roll-out.

When Ryan’s team tapped model and actress Brooklyn Decker to work with the Special Olympics, they used Keyhole to see exactly how much engagement and conversions were being driven by her efforts on social. Combining influencer marketing with celebrities as well as social media stars allows Ryan and his team to really drive at what is the most optimal investment for social, year after year. All of which is monitored through Keyhole.

Social Media Analytics - ROI - Special Olympics for Keyhole

Reports from Keyhole ensure that The Special Olympics stay ahead of the game.

In a noisy social climate, being able to really drive home the organization’s importance is a top priority. Using Reports generated from Keyhole’s Tracker Dashboard, as well as custom reports infused with data from Keyhole’s API (available on certain Plans) allows the Special Olympics team to ensure that they “maintain steady growth.”

15 B2B Social Media Strategy Tips [+ 5 Best Practice Examples]

B2B social media budgets are growing, but the 2016 CMO Survey reveals that 40% of companies aren’t happy with the performance of their social strategies.

Despite this, social media will make up almost 21% of the average business’s marketing spend in five years. That compares with less than 6% in 2009.

Read more15 B2B Social Media Strategy Tips [+ 5 Best Practice Examples]

The Social Media Strategy Template [+ Download & 5 Examples]

Creating a social media strategy takes time to research and write, but not all digital marketers have enough hours in the week.

Altering existing strategies can be difficult, too. The online landscape — be it platforms or audiences — continuously changes and forces the need to refine new tactics.

Read moreThe Social Media Strategy Template [+ Download & 5 Examples]

The 10 Best Fashion & Apparel Hashtags on Instagram [+ Take-Away Lessons]

Studying popular fashion hashtags can help retail and apparel companies strengthen their social strategies, whereas bloggers can use them to gain visibility.

That’s because posting with a fashion brand hashtag on Instagram can earn thousands of potential impressions, according to data collected between April 25 and May 1, 2016:

Read moreThe 10 Best Fashion & Apparel Hashtags on Instagram [+ Take-Away Lessons]

10 Mistakes in Your Visual Content Strategy [+ Tools to Fix Them!]

Even if your team has a talented graphic designer and skilled digital strategists, crafting and sharing visual content on social media is a tricky process.

Most teams have run into the same difficulties. Images and videos may not generate the type of engagement you’re after. Followers may even miss your intended message.

Read more10 Mistakes in Your Visual Content Strategy [+ Tools to Fix Them!]

6 Cognitive Biases You Can Use to Boost Social Media Marketing

There are 500 million tweets tweeted, 55 million facebook status updates, and more than 40 million post uploads on Instagram every day. How would you differentiate your company from the crowd and leverage psychology to get overwhelmed readers to focus on you?

Cognitive biases  are simply the irrational behaviors we exhibit even when we believe our decisions are logical.

Read more6 Cognitive Biases You Can Use to Boost Social Media Marketing

Life is short and the internet is vast.