Good listening skills are paramount to any relationship and the same is true when it comes to B2B social listening. When done correctly, social listening skills can not only improve your social media interactions but also provide current, up-to-the-minute insights into the needs and pains of your audience, which will add depth and dimension to your marketing strategy.
What is B2B social listening?
B2B social listening, also known as social media monitoring, is the process of listening and evaluating online discussions, to find out what customers, industry leaders, and competitors are saying about a company, brand, product, or concept. A study conducted by JD Power and Associates reported that 42% of companies listed social listening in their top three priorities for 2013. Compared to more traditional research tools like focus groups, interviews, and surveys, social listening often yields fresher, more current data, usually with less effort involved.
Social listening can be used to track relevant conversations that businesses can use to:
- Connect with new prospects
- Identify conversations and topics that will connect to your customers’ needs and pains
- Identify and connect with potential partners / resellers
- Monitor competitive activity
- Support and engage with current clients and / or people who have participated in their programs
It’s a good idea to prioritize and rank these objectives according to what you are trying to achieve with your social listening strategy. This will help to determine which keywords to track.
What tools should I use for B2B social listening?
There are many tools available for identifying and aggregating data from public platforms. Examples include:
These tools deliver data, though—they do not interpret it.
While some tools are capable of organizing data by category and sentiment, technology cannot accurately translate the subtlety of sarcasm, clichés, and colloquial expressions. Human analysis is still necessary to interpret significance from the aggregated content. Technology is useful to expose the conversation, however it won’t do the interactive footwork for you.
How should marketers use B2B social listening to track relevant conversations?
1. Choose a platform (Brainrider recommends Argyle social, but there are many great tools available).
2. Choose the keywords you want to track. These should be based on searches that are relevant to both your target audience’s problem, and your value proposition. You should also include competitor’s brand names, product names, solution names, or specific technical concepts unique to the industry.
3. Set up keyword tracking.
4. Set up campaign classification for your business’ content. Brainrider does this by defining the needs and pains of your customer, classifying those pains into 4-5 content categories, and then filtering those categories back through your value proposition, to ensure your keywords are connected to your business. You can tag assets within a campaign, and then track which campaigns are the most engaging.
5. Set aside 30 mins – 1 hr/week to review and read conversations. Set aside 10-15 minutes every day to engage with 2-3 conversations each week. For example, you can engage is by offering resources to demonstrate subject matter expertise.
6. Review your keyword in chosen platform, looking for relevant conversations.
7. Identify relevant conversations. Here’s some criteria Brainrider uses:
- The message comes from one of your target audiences, prospects, potential partners / resellers, competitors, or current clients
- The message is relevant to your business’s value proposition (someone is looking for a tool similar to what you provide, or trying to solve a problem that your business could solve).
- The message shares something of value.
8. If you spot valuable, relevant content being shared by a third party, share it with your followers.
9. Continually cull your keyword list down to focus on those with a higher yield.
What should you do next?
Download this content marketing strategy template to align your content development with your business objectives.