Four Benefits of Using Social Media Listening Tools

Social media is unavoidable in today’s marketing campaigns. While developing content, strategizing post times and deciding the appropriate platforms are certainly important, the oft-overlooked reporting and analysis is equally (if not more) critical.  

You’re not taking advantage of all social media has to offer if you don’t understand the results of your campaign and adjust to maximize outcomes along the way. Without reporting and analysis, your social media strategy won’t be informed or improved over time – it’s almost like cooking a five-course meal and never engaging your guests on what was delicious and what missed the mark. This is where a social media listening tool comes in. From Talkwalker to TweetReach, or Meltwater to Mention, these tools provide baseline benefits to bolster your social media campaigns.

Here are four benefits I’ve found most useful when using one of these platforms.

Efficiency and Accuracy

Before social media listening tools, all we had were in-platform analytics for pages and the manual searches on each platform. This led to hours of searching, hoping (stressing) that you’re finding all the posts and manually entering the details into a spreadsheet or chart. (And nothing is more embarrassing than having a client point out a tweet or post you missed.) By the time you collected all the post data, your brain is exhausted, and you could barely muster recommendations for the client.

Enter social listening tools. At its very core, these tools help you set up specific searches that pull in posts related to your campaign with all the helpful metrics. While every platform has its quirks, the chances of gathering all the campaign-related posts (in return measuring the success of your strategy) are much higher. Error in reporting greatly decreases and your time is better spent analyzing the data instead gathering the results. Which gives you….

More Time for Analysis

A golden benefit of a social listening tool is the way it can free up your time to better analyze the data and provide recommendations to your client, which in the end is the real value we provide. Anyone can provide a straight out numbers report, but having the mind space and time to really examine the performance of your content enables you to develop better and more in-depth recommendations, ranging from posting times and frequency to messaging, making your social media strategy that much better the next go around.

Additional Insights

While follower counts and engagement rates are a very basic set of metrics in social media campaigns, a wide swath of other metrics should be used to determine insights. A social listening tool provides the standard metrics, as well as some cool and meaningful measures of success you wouldn’t have been able to determine on your own. Things like measures of virality, cross platform presence, location and more enhance the social media analysis, enabling you to provide deeper, richer and more meaningful insights to either adjust the campaign or inform the next iteration. Your reporting can evolve from “there were more than 250 posts that reached about 500,000 people” to “there were 253 posts that potentially reached 534,267 people in 12 different states that overlaps with eight of our key target states, and were engaged with 1,324 times, mainly through Facebook shares.”

Crisis Monitoring and Response

While social listening tools are excellent for monitoring and analyzing ongoing campaigns, where they excel and display their true value is crisis situations. When a client experiences a crisis, we want to give them service that eases their stress and aids their response. Social listening tools have exponentially aided these goals. In real-time we flag posts related to the crisis on multiple platforms, determine the sentiment through built in AI engines, and prioritize authors and influencers to reach out to and correct the narrative, if needed, or provide more information to. These analytics areas are not available on free platforms and cannot be discerned quickly enough by manual analysis to provide meaningful and actionable insight. Tools paired with our extensive crisis response expertise allow us to provide clients with immediate updates on the social media conversation, develop appropriate messaging and response, inform their long-term path forward, and ultimately help them fully recover from whatever crisis they face. And while the tools are extremely helpful during an actual crisis, the enhanced listening capabilities can also help us anticipate when an issue might be bubbling up, potentially avoiding a full-blown crisis before it even begins.

Social media evolves constantly. Meaningful reporting on that landscape can be difficult without the aid of a social media listening tool. I have experienced first-hand how investing in one of these tools helped me bring my strategy and analysis to the next level, and in turn improved the services we provide our clients.   

Amber Garnett is a senior account executive in Stratacomm’s D.C. office. She works on a variety of transportation and infrastructure clients, heavily focusing on social media, digital strategies and reporting. Wondering how to visualize your social media analytics? Check out Amber’s “Four Benefits of Using Google Data Studio for PR and Digital Marketing.”

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