Today, everything we do revolves around social media – communicating with family and friends, catching up on the news, and even shopping. With social media playing such an integral part in people’s day-to-day lives, it has become especially important for brands to focus on building awareness on these platforms.
One of the most effective ways to do this is to create a community of brand advocates to promote your products and services. Consider that most consumers (92%) trust word-of-mouth recommendations over any other kind of advertising.
While there’s no shortage of advocates on social media, finding the right one for your brand can be challenging. So, how do you identify advocates who are aligned with your brand and resonate with your target audience?
The answer lies in social listening.
Below, let’s dig into the concept of social listening and explore how it can help you find the right brand advocates.
What is social listening?
Social listening means tracking people’s conversations on social media platforms to gather insights about how they feel about your brand, competitors, industry, or any other relevant topic. Social listening can help you identify customer preferences, opinions, pain points, and complaints.
You can then use these insights to make better marketing decisions and gain an edge over your competition. You can also use the insights to find brand advocates to help you amplify your message on social platforms.
Given the benefits of social listening, it has become an integral part of most organizations’ social media marketing strategies. According to a survey by Social Media Today, 6 in every 10 businesses are engaging in social listening.
To engage in social listening, you need specialized software to record every time someone mentions your brand or uses keywords and hashtags related to your brand, competitors, or industry. The software then combines and analyzes this data to develop insights that give you a more comprehensive understanding of your brand’s online reputation and customer sentiment.
Why social listening matters in finding brand advocates
For your brand advocacy and influencer marketing campaigns to be effective, you need advocates who are familiar with and loyal to your brand. Social listening makes it easy to identify individuals who already use your products and services and have demonstrated positive sentiments toward your brand. Since these individuals already promote your brand for free, they are more likely to be effective and authentic brand advocates when you bring them on board.
Additionally, social listening helps you understand what customers think about your brand. This, in turn, makes it easier to choose advocates who are best placed to either enhance this customer sentiment (for positive sentiment) or change it (for negative sentiment). It also helps you find the most appropriate messaging for your brand advocates to use in promoting your brand.
Social listening can also help find potential advocates actively promoting products and services similar to yours. While they might not have had any engagement with your brand, you can reach out to them and get them to promote your brand instead of your competitors.
How to use social listening to find brand advocates
Here’s a step-by-step process you can use to find brand advocates using social listening:
- Define your target audience: Before engaging in social listening, you must understand who you’re targeting. Define your audience by their demographics, interests, preferences, and behaviors. Once you understand your audience well, you can create a list of keywords and hashtags to track during your social listening based on this audience.
- Pick a social listening tool: Several tools can help you with social listening. The aim here is to pick a social listening tool that combines advanced features, great pricing, and ease of use.
- Monitor brand mentions: Enter the keywords you came up with in step one into your social listening tool and start tracking what people are saying about your products and services. This does two things. First, it lets you stay on top of your online brand reputation and quickly address customer complaints or negative sentiments. Second, it helps you identify people already talking about your brand who could become brand advocates. This is especially important if your company is running a product-led growth strategy, or where your product has been positioned as the main driver for customer acquisition and growth.
- Analyze sentiment: Not everyone talking about your products and services has positive sentiment toward your brand. Analyzing sentiment allows you to identify individuals who have had a positive experience with your brand. Since they are already driving positive conversations about your brand, they are more likely to become effective advocates.
- Identify influencers: Don’t pick someone to be a brand advocate simply because they have had positive experiences with your brand and are willing to talk about it online. Remember, your main goal is to build brand awareness. Therefore you need someone who can spread the word about your products and services to a wide audience.
- Engage with brand advocates: After identifying potential brand advocates, start interacting with their posts and sharing their content. Whenever they post about your brand, reach out and thank them for their support. Build a relationship with them, then invite them to join your brand advocacy program. A good approach is to incentivize them by offering extra rewards or perks in exchange for having them promote your brand to their followers.
- Track and measure results: Social listening doesn’t end once you bring brand ambassadors on board. Once they start promoting your brand, you can still use social listening to monitor conversations around your brand and determine the effectiveness of your brand advocacy program. What level of engagement do your brand advocates’ posts attract? Is there an improvement in your overall customer sentiment? Have your official social channels gained more followers since the start of the program? Tracking and measuring results helps you determine what is working and identify areas for improvement.
If you want your brand to thrive in today’s fast-paced digital world, you need a strategic approach to social media marketing and awareness building. Leveraging social listening is an excellent strategy brands can use to identify suitable advocates who can help promote their products and services to a wider audience.
Social listening helps you identify brand advocates who are already exposed to your brand and have demonstrated positive sentiment towards it – these are the most likely to be successful brand advocates. Social listening is also a great way to identify brand advocates working with your competitors and convince them to switch their loyalty to your brand.
Remember, to effectively use social listening to find brand advocates, you must define your audience, pick a social listening tool, monitor brand mentions, analyze sentiment, and identify influencers. Once you’ve identified suitable influencers, build relationships with them and make them part of your brand advocacy program. Finally, don’t forget to track and measure results, as this helps you tweak and improve your campaign for even better performance.