How to ‘listen’ to your target audience on social media

First, we MUST remember that social media is a 2-way tool, and if you only use it to talk AT people, you’re not doing it right.

Whilst in principle, social media ‘listening’ is all about tracking, analysing and responding to customers comments and behaviour (often using third party software), this won’t necessary be the case for smaller businesses that won’t be experiencing the same kind of exposure, engagement and conversation, as a large brand.

So, we first need to encourage conversations and then we’ll be encouraging engagement. Which in turn, will provide valuable insight and free intelligence for future marketing campaigns.

 Here’s my top tips of how we can ‘listen’ to our target audience using social media:

  1. Ask questions – what do your audience think about X? Are they interested in Y? If you did Z would they be interested?
  2. Hashtags connect you with people talking about the same things. Try searching for relevant terms: #yourbrandname #latestnews #wowthatsgreatadvice

  3. Dig deeper in your research – use polls, surveys and questionnaires to find out the what, when and why.

  4. Quora.com is a goldmine of funny, offbeat and RELEVANT information that your target audience are thinking but do not say out loud.

  5. Google Trends is your best friend. It will tell you, plain and simple, what your target audience is talking about. And from that we can join the conversation.

  6. Posting questions – inspire some thought and discussion. Again, remember you’re not selling – don’t ask people if they prefer your product A over your product B. Ask what they see the future of the industry looking like, what are their thoughts on the latest news, and so on.

  7. Following business pages on LinkedIn. Be among the first to know about developments – as well as what your competitors are doing.
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